NLP in the world - Interview Series

Brian Cullen – Japan – NLP? the most powerful tool for teaching, learning, change and growth

NLPintheworld4Time to travel to Japan? Let’s even make it somewhere around Nagoya where legends and folks of my childhood books are dreaming… where the food is so good… and where Brian resides. Brian Cullen has been working in Japan for quite some times now with Standing in Spirit, as an NLP trainer and coach, spreading the words across cultures. You can contact Brian on LinkedIn, Facebook or twitter.

Talking4good (T4g): How did you come into contact with NLP?
Brian: It was way back in August 2001. I was trying to escape the desperately humid summer of Nagoya, Japan, and a friend invited me to an NLP seminar. He had previously briefly tried to explain NLP to me, but it was the respite from the hot summer and an escape from my air conditioner-less house that was perhaps most enticing. After all these years, I can confirm that NLP keeps you cool <smile>.

T4g: What NLP qualification do you have?
Brian: I did my Practitioner and Master Practitioner in Japan and New Zealand with the wonderful trainer, Richard Bolstad. I was then lucky to have the opportunity to do my trainers training in Santa Cruz at NLPU with Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Suzi Smith and some other very good folks.

T4g: Have you joined an NLP association?
Brian: IANLP and IN

T4g: What do you expect from those various NLP associations?
Brian:  A few things <smile> like 1. Leadership in research 2. a clear statement about standards of training in NLP 3. a forum for arbitration of disputes 4. a network for practitioners and trainers to continue to develop

T4g: What do you like best in NLP?
Brian: It is the most powerful tool that I yet have found for teaching, learning, change, and growth. It focuses on process, rather than on content – which I believe is a very useful approach to modelling success.

T4g: What is your current focus with NLP?
Brian: Hum… let me count…. <smil> 1. Running and teaching an NLP Practitioner Course 2. Writing and recording of a CD of songs for NLP 3. Research into how the allergy relief (counter-example process) can be improved. 4. Research into more effective use of NLP in Education, eventually leading to wider recognition of its benefits.

T4g: How is NLP present in Japan?
Brian: There is very little awareness among the general public, but this has changed over recent years with the growth of several large training schools. In addition, there is a growing awareness of the field of coaching in Japan, and various coaching books have been published – several of which are a repackaging of NLP processes. Much more than Europe or the United States, Japan is a very group-oriented culture and in most cases the map is the territory. The individual is very much pressured to adapt the map of the prevailing group, often with the corresponding internal stress and worries that result from denying the individual map.

T4g: NLP roots are within the English language, how do you bridge this with Japanese language?
Brian: I’m involved in an on-going project to create a fully bilingual Japanese-English training manual. Some NLP processes can easily be translated into Japanese. Others are much trickier because NLP is such an English-centred epistemology and methodology. Perhaps the most difficult areas are the translation of tenses (Japanese has a very different set of time structures) and the common omission of a subject in Japanese statement.

T4g: What opportunity do you have to meet with other NLP practitioners?
Brian: Lots of online interaction. In person, I’ve set up an organization called NLP Connections Japan, specifically with the goal of bringing together NLP practitioners of different backgrounds to exchange ideas, carry out research, and raise the standards and acceptance of NLP in Japan.

T4g: What do you think about NLP and research?
Brian: It is essential to keep pushing NLP forward. One way that this can be achieved is of course, modelling. Another way is through serious research that examines the use of NLP in a manner that is comparable to other social sciences or therapies. Recent years have seen good advances in NLP research and growing support, particularly in Europe.

T4g: Any specific NLP research you would like to be involved with?
Brian: As I mention the NLP for Allergy Relief. Allergies are an enormous problem in Japan. Then using NLP in Education.

T4g: What would be your next step with NLP?
Brian: Good question – so many potential directions. I would like to carry out several modelling projects and to push my NLP research further. Oh yes – and I’d like to finish the CD of NLP songs this year! It’s going to be fun.

T4g: A last comment to conclude?
Brian: I see two simultaneous trends in the world of NLP. On the one hand, we have the continuing trend to cheapen courses in price, length, and quality. A “Practitioner Course” can now be purchased for $69 and completed by filling in a short written test without ever having practiced any of the techniques or shown any real understanding of the concepts and presuppositions. On the other hand, we see an increasing amount of high-quality research and work, particularly within Europe. In the long-term, the name of NLP may be too muddied and cheapened to survive, but I have no doubt that the ideas will continue to go forward to inform and help future generations. One other positive development is the refocus of the general field of psychology from “fixing people” to what has become known as “Positive Psychology”. In other words, psychology has finally figured out what the founders of NLP modelled from the Human Potential Movement – it’s useful to look at how people do things well, rather than continually focus on what they are doing badly.

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