NLP in the world - Interview Series

Karen Ross – New Zealand – NLP and Trauma Recovery

I am very happy today to present Karen Ross testimony on NLP and Trauma Recovery. Karen works from Auckland in New Zealand, and information can be found at aVara Consulting, as well as at Fresh Ways Forward , you can also contact her on LinkedIN.

Talking4good (T4G): How did you come into contact with NLP?
Karen: Originally I was looking for a way to change some of my patterns that were making me unhappy. I kept coming across it when I was living in the UK. The Occupational Psychologists I was working with were of mixed opinions (one of them is now an NLP Master Trainer funnily enough) and then when I returned to NZ I was invited to an introductory evening and the rest is history as they say!

T4G: What NLP qualification do you have?
Karen: NLP Master Practitioner

T4G: Which NLP association would your qualifications be accredited by?
Karen: IANLP

T4G: Have you joined an NLP association? (Which one?)
Karen: Yes, NZANLP – NZ Association of NLP.

T4G: What do you expect from those various NLP associations?
Karen: Ongoing connections with the NLP community, opportunities for professional development, and ensuring standards of practice within the discipline.

T4G: What do you like best in NLP?
Karen: The fact that it enables people to be more in charge of themselves. That was the driver for me to seek out NLP – to be able to be more in charge of myself, my emotions and well-being. The presuppositions, language patterns and change techniques are for me the instruction manual I wasn’t given at the hospital when my mother gave birth! 

T4G: Can you tell us about NLP and Trauma recovery?
Karen: It has been a very exciting time for us in NZ around this area. Dr Richard Bolstad led the way for us in his original work in Sarajevo after the Bosnian war where he trained local psychiatrists in the NLP Trauma Process. In Feb 2010 a group of Auckland practitioners ( went to Samoa to work with people and train local support workers after the Sept 2009 tsunami. Following the major earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ, in the last year, we’ve had practitioners working all over the country with victims of those. The NLP trauma process is proving to be a hugely effective way of helping people move out of the classic patterns of acute stress and PTSD such as flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, emotional outbursts, etc. The NLP Recognition Project is doing some excellent work in this area in the US and I’m aware people are working with NLP in Western Australia, Haiti and US.

T4G: How is NLP present in your country?
Karen: NLP is definitely growing in prominence as a modality for change and personal development, but also within the corporate environment it is being increasingly recognised as a tool for enhancing communication, facilitation and learning. There is still a way to go and it continues to be perceived as an ‘alternative’ therapy by many members of the health profession here. At the same time, a number of the health profession and government agencies/NGOs are seeking it out. I think as people become frustrated with the limitations of more ‘conventional’ tools and methodologies they are getting more curious about how NLP can be of use to them and their ‘clients’.

T4G: What opportunity do you have to meet with other NLP practitioners?
Karen: I am part of a professional development group here in Auckland. We meet monthly. I’m also in regular contact with friends and colleagues who are NLP trained, so rarely does a day or week goes by when I’m not having an ‘NLP’ conversation of some kind! The NZANLP holds several professional development days a year as well as a bi-annual conference, which are wonderful opportunities to connect with like-minded practitioners.

T4G: What about NLP and research?
Karen: This is something I think we need to get much better at as a professional community. There are many initiatives on the go to achieve this, so over the next 2-5 years we will begin to see more solid evidence-based information coming through that will satisfy the medical and science communities in a more satisfactory way. Among other things, for me this isn’t so much about satisfying the nay-sayers or disbelievers in these professions, but to ensure approval for NLP-based services that enables those in the community who will benefit from NLP training and therapy to receive it. We are looking at ways to record the trauma work we are doing here in NZ and as part of the NZ Trauma Recovery Trust, but we are in the very early stages of collating this.

T4G: What would be your next step with NLP?
Karen: I am continuing to explore ways of bringing NLP to people, whether it’s through growing a larger coaching practice, writing, speaking or otherwise. I have too many options and ideas at the moment! I am continuing to explore ways of developing the NZ Trauma Recovery Trust. I’m very keen to attend NLP Trainers Training in the next year or two, so I look forward to putting that in my calendar!

T4G: A last comment to conclude?
Karen: For me, like many I suspect, NLP is a life’s work – to help people live full, satisfying, healthy and happy lives. But NLP is not magical. People are magical. Our minds, our neurology, our whole body-mind is an absolute miracle, and I hope that this is the message we can give people when we are working with them. When I’ve worked with people in Christchurch who aren’t sleeping or who are jumping out of their skin every five minutes during the day, I don’t sit and pontificate on the miracle of NLP. I help them understand how their very clever mind can change this response, whilst still keeping them safe, and that it can be a simple and comfortable change experience they are in charge of. As one of my clients once put it, “Oh, I am the wand.” Yes, magic!

© 2011 Florence Dambricourt –