Sometimes I get asked if NLP can be used to cure depression. This is a complicated question because depression is an illness that comes in many shapes and sizes.
Someone with depression could and should use NLP, as it would help a great deal with navigating the disease. However, the question of whether it should be used to replace therapy is another matter.
I didn’t win the genetic lottery. Far from it. Depression and other mental illnesses exist on both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family. I have been in therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and cured it with NLP, psychotherapy, and the willingness to create a new life for myself. I am also certain that I have experienced an undiagnosed depression in my life which I also resolved through NLP, various forms of exercise, being outdoors more, and working on increasing my emotional intelligence.
There are different types of depression. The most common type is major depressive disorder, which is characterized by a persistent depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, along with a number of other symptoms. Other types of depression include bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood swings between periods of depression and mania; seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression that occurs during certain seasons; postpartum depression, which is a type of depression that can occur after giving birth; and dysthymia, which is a chronic form of mild depression.
It is indeed true for many people without severe depression that they have a choice to go to a psychologist who will work with their past and current experiences. This is the form of therapy we typically associate with depression. However, another choice is to see a positive psychologist who works with you to become the person you wish to be, by focusing on creating well-being and increasing life satisfaction and mental health. NLP has the same focus — it doesn’t go into the “why” of the past or delve into the details of where we or our “villains” went wrong. It doesn’t require us to relive what we went through or highlight the negative events in our lives. It aims to shift us to be the person who has the toolset to lead the life we wish to lead, and have the thoughts, behaviors, communication, and emotions of a person who is in excellence.
NLP was created by interviewing and modeling people who are exhibit excellence in their field or specific ability. It aimed to help the average learn from the successful. It is inclusive and meant for everyone. It is not exclusive and solely meant for therapists’ use.
NLP also never had the aim to cure mental illness, but it can be superior in creating mental health than traditional psychology. (Alongside the new science of positive psychology, and EQ.) Mental health is about happiness, resilience, positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and achievement.
If you were to ask me what I would do should I suffer from severe depression, I would be willing to go to therapy again and if need be, take medication. I am not a person who decides lightly to put chemicals into my body daily, and when I do, the aim is to do so temporarily. Taking medication and then avoiding any kind of other professional help is not an option, though. I would also complement all of that with proper sleep, supplements, NLP, movement, meditation, walking in nature, improving my gut health, and a detox. The detox isn’t just food, it is also toxic people!
Is pharmacology a cure for depression?
While there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question, generally speaking, the answer is no, medication alone is not a cure for depression. While medication may help to alleviate the symptoms of depression, it is often not enough on its own to cure the condition. To effectively treat depression, a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes may be necessary.
Is traditional therapy a cure for depression?
There are a variety of therapy modalities used to treat depression, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT). CBT is the most commonly used therapy for depression, and it has been shown to be effective in treating both mild and severe cases of the disorder. IPT is also an effective treatment for depression, and it focuses on the relationships between the patient and his or her friends and family.
The success rates for these different therapies vary depending on the severity of the patient’s depression and the type of therapy being used. CBT has been shown to be successful in treating up to 80% of patients with mild or moderate depression, while IPT has been shown to be successful in treating up to 60% of patients with moderate or severe depression.
Is positive psychology a cure for depression?
There are a number of different positive psychology techniques that can be used to treat depression. Some of these techniques include gratitude journals, mindfulness meditation, and positive affirmations. All of these techniques have been shown to be effective in helping people suffering from depression.
One study found that participants who practiced gratitude journaling for eight weeks showed significant decreases in their levels of depression and rumination (a common symptom of depression). Another study found that mindfulness meditation was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in cancer patients. And finally, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas found that positive affirmations were effective in reducing symptoms of depression in college students.
One specific positive psychology intervention is the 3 good things exercise that was developed by Dr. Martin Seligman. It is based on the premise that people with depression tend to focus on negative aspects of their lives, which leads to a downward spiral of negative thinking. The goal is to help people with depression identify and focus on positive aspects of their lives.
The exercise involves writing down three good things that happened each day for one week. The items can be anything from small, everyday occurrences like getting a compliment from a friend, to bigger accomplishments, such as landing a new job or completing a project. It is important to be specific when writing down the good things, and to avoid focusing on negative aspects of life, such as not crashing your car or not getting sick.
There is scientific evidence that the 3 good things exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. A study published in 2009 found that the intervention was associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms in participants with mild-to-moderate depression. In addition, a study published in 2016 found that the 3 good things exercise was associated with reduced rumination and increased positive affect in participants with major depressive disorder.
The bottom line is that positive psychology is an immensely powerful tool that can be used to treat depression. And, again — the statistics back this up; studies have shown that positive psychology is effective in reducing symptoms of depression by up to 50%.
Is coaching a cure for depression?
In my opinion, coaching without NLP or positive psychology as a methodology can neither cure nor help with depression. The problem is that most coaches are not trained in an appropriate methodology. It takes much more than doing a life wheel, filling in some standardized forms, and holding someone accountable to address depression.
Is NLP coaching a cure for depression?
This is the moment when I am sure you want me to say, “absolutely!”. I cannot, however, responsibly say this. People suffer from different types of depression, have different genetics, and have different levels of well-being. I would advise you to see a therapist who is also NLP trained. Alternatively, seek a therapist who is willing to agree that you see an NLP coach as well, provided the severity of your depression allows for it.
Sometimes therapists send their clients to me. This is because many therapists are trained to work solely with mental illness and not mental wellness.
Can you cure your depression with NLP?
Again, I find “cure” a dangerous word. But can NLP tools help increase the effects of your therapy or increase your satisfaction in life, your coping strategies, and your ability to reach goals? Absolutely! NLP offers a toolset that can help with depression provided you seek the right therapy/therapies.