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Magic in Practice

Dr Linden Ruckert as her curiosity piqued by a book about neuro-linguistic programming.

Dr Linden Ruckert as her curiosity piqued by a book about neuro-linguistic programming.

This book describes itself as ‘introducing medical neuro-linguistic programming: the art and science of language in healing and in health'.

I am curious about NLP but have always given up at the point where pictures are interpreted of eyes looking in different directions – and that seems to be fairly early on!

The approach here is different and there is much more reference to expression and memory and how that relates to neurophysiology.

Language and symbols affect how we interpret our experiences and how we express ourselves, and we act on our representation of the world rather than the world itself. Patterned responses alter how we ‘code' our reality.

As so many communication guides have noted, how we say something is as important as what we say. Some of us have more ‘visual' or ‘feeling' ways of expression, for example, so we communicate better in those terms.

In everything I read I like there to be some practical lessons that I can easily apply to my next surgery and I gained some ideas, even on reading this once.

For example, there is a fascinating chapter called ‘Words that harm, words that heal'.

People apparently tend to remember and respond to the last statement they hear, so it would be important to say: ‘If you don't feel better contact me again, but I have examined you thoroughly and have found nothing seriously wrong', rather than the other way round.

It makes some sense to me and is an easy change I can make.

Another notion that I recall from working with psychiatric nurses is the creation of a future beyond the problem state - ‘What will you be able to do when you are healthy again?' - to move the stuck patient on.

The book includes ideas about reframing and dividing discourse into chunks, but more than that psychological observations about how you get a patient to agree with you, what your tone of voice and gestures convey and the simple effect of nodding.

Neuroscience has shown that physical and imagined action have little functional difference and memory laid down is often affected by mood and the sensations experienced at the time.

The exploration of memory and recall, and how that can be altered, makes very interesting reading. There are ideas that could be applied even within the over-packed 10-minute consultation.

The eyes and memory diagram is on page 56 but I think you will have been drawn into the practical relevance of the book before you have to revaluate your response to that.

Dr Linden Ruckert

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Magic in Practice

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