Steve Andreas’ NLP Blog

NLP Articles, News, and Tidbits about Psychotherapy and Personal Development

Free video training in treating phantom limb pain

Free video training in treating phantom limb pain using the mirror box, featuring Andrew T. Austin:

In addition to full demonstration sessions, there are two recorded workshop presentations. The site contains a wealth of information about understanding the experience of an amputee, and much of it applies equally to other clients. Some of the sessions with amputees are somewhat difficult to hear, but the didactic segments are clear, and gold mines of information. Access is completely free, only requiring an email address (which Andy promises not to sell to E.D. sites).

Here are a couple of short samples:

Mirror box #1

Mirror Box #2 Contractures

2 Gems (Free short videos)

A Couple of Delightful Short Free Videos for your enjoyment . . . .

Gem #1 (2 min.) A very sweet chewing gum ad that is guaranteed to bring tears (the good kind) to anyone with a pulse.

Gem #2. (3 min.) This short video shows the construction of a traditional rope bridge in Peru using only straw. Fascinating to watch this community project!

Waltzing with Wolverines is an e-book about working with “at risk” teens by our son, Mark Andreas, based on his experiences leading a 24/7 wilderness therapy program in the mountains of Colorado.

When Mark gave Connirae and I the manuscript to review, we couldn’t put it down. We loved reading the stories — Mark’s sense of humor and creativity come through, as well as a lot of clear pointers that can make living and working with teens more rewarding for everyone involved. Even those who hope never to see a teenager in their entire life are likely to enjoy this book, because of its story value.

Here’s a link to read the intro free… (scroll down to the wolverine paw print)

Buy Waltzing with Wolverines on Amazon here…

And here’s what reviewers have to say…

In Waltzing with Wolverines, Andreas redefines how to build relationship and trust with so-called “troubled” youth.  In these pages, you’ll find a treasure trove of teaching and leadership stories, tools, and techniques. But this book is about much more than a list of behavior management strategies—it’s a clarion call to re-envision our relationship with our young people by creating relationships that are simultaneously more empowering and more effective for instructors and students alike. This is a must read for anyone working in the fields of wilderness therapy and outdoor education.            

—Dr. Jay Roberts, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, Earlham College

This book is a wonderful guide, not only for parents of “troubled” or “resistant” kids, but for every parent. If Mark had given only bullet points, like so many other books do, I’d have read and forgotten them by now. Instead, through the memorable stories Mark tells, the lessons are still clear in my mind. I wish I could have read this wise book when our children were younger, but I’ll buy it for them now before they make the same mistakes with our precious grandchildren.

—Ben Leichtling, Ph.D. Author of “How to stop bullies in their tracks” and “Bullies Below the Radar.”

Waltzing with Wolverines is a remarkable piece of work. This is a book of practical, nuts-and-bolts wisdom about working with youth on the edge. Anyone who works with young people will find useful ideas and inspiration in these pages.

—Mark Gerzon, author of Leading through Conflict (Harvard Business School Press)

If you are a parent, you need to commit the principles and techniques expressed in this book to your heart and mind so that you can remain sane during adolescence. If your child is already a teenager this book will become your and your child’s best friend. Using the techniques expressed so eloquently by the author allows you not only to reconcile problems expressed by your children, your spouse, your colleagues but also to reconcile the more frustrating and problematic non-expressed problems, all in a non-confronting manner. This book should be a mainstay of communication programs.

—Melissa J. Roth CHt., Ph.D.

Mark doesn’t just discuss theories and philosophies of becoming a master facilitator for “at risk” youth, he models how it works in almost any possible scenario with brilliance, patience and true genius! If you want to become a master leader with teens in any venue, then this book is your bible for how to do it with great humanness, compassion, humor and brilliance.

—Kimberly Kassner, author of, You’re a Genius—And I Can Prove It! and Founder of EmpowerMind


Order Waltzing with Wolverines on Amazon. And after you’ve read it, Mark would appreciate it if you post a review.

–Steve and Connirae

“Lasting Feelings” (Jealousy) on YouTube

A client session with Leslie Cameron-Bandler including follow-up.

This amazingly rich session, recorded in 1983, is now available on YouTube — absolutely free. See how therapy can be fun as well as deep, serious, and lasting.

The client, Hazel, begins the session with intense (and she realizes, unwarranted) jealousy. Since she has little self-worth, she doesn’t realize how important she is to her husband, and is insecure because she thinks she can be easily replaced by any other woman.

Watch as Leslie skillfully, and with humor, repeatedly interrupts Hazel’s plunge into jealousy and tears of loss. When Hazel says in anguish, “It would be terrible to lose him!” Leslie could have said, “So you’re insecure,” which would have been true. But instead she replies, “Yes, because you love him a lot!” creating an equally true — and much more positive and useful meaning for jealousy.

When Hazel is self-critical, Leslie asks her how long she has been with her husband. When Hazel says “three years,” Leslie says, “So he knows you in all your seasons,” a lovely metaphor that implies that all her different feelings and behaviors during that time are natural and normal.

When Leslie asks Hazel, “What did you do to get him to fall in love with you, Hazel replies with a long list of what he did to get her to fall in love with him. Leslie listens carefully and then uses Hazel’s vibrant responses to her husband as evidence of how important she is to him, beginning to build a feeling of security.

When Hazel’s husband is with another woman, Hazel’s attention has always been on the woman, especially if she was flirting. Leslie asks Hazel to remember an example of jealousy, “As far off in the distance as you need to, as small as you need to,” to reduce the intensity of her jealous response. As Leslie does this, she points behind her, over Leslie’s left shoulder, so that the remembered image will be in Hazel’s visual construct quadrant, to help her access her creativity and ability to imagine change. Leslie asks her to “look way over there closely, and I want you to look at them interacting,” and to focus primarily on her husband’s response to the woman.

As Hazel looks more carefully at different past examples, she learns to discriminate between when her husband is skeptical, when he is simply enjoying himself, when the other woman looks “lost,” etc. This allows her to determine when jealousy is appropriate — when there is a real threat to her relationship and happiness — and when it is not.

Leslie asks Hazel to get three memories of “when you know that you made him happier than he could be with anyone else” to enhance her knowing how important she is to her husband, and that her husband knows how important she is to him. This provides a solid basis for exploring what Hazel can do in the moment to reconnect with her husband and make him feel loved.

At the end of the session Leslie tests Hazel’s new response in a variety of past examples, and some future ones. Each time, Hazel tilts her head in a unique way that is a clear nonverbal signal that she has reprocessed the example, and finds that everything is fine — she still has her secure feeling.

A follow-up interview confirms that the changes in Hazel’s response transferred spontaneously into the real world with her husband.

These brief comments are only a small sample of what you can observe in this exquisite therapy session, especially the nonverbal dance that is so hard to describe in words. Viewing it over and over again provides an opportunity to learn from it in ever more depth and detail.

First watch the 6-minute video here. [Or on Youtube here.]

Review by Steve Andreas.

I haven’t yet had a chance to use the method Bandler demonstrates, but I know two people who have used it, and they say it does work, as anyone with NLP background might expect.

Bandler’s instruction: “Take that picture, shrink it down to the size of a quarter—prrrrup—and blink it black and white”—is accompanied by quick and definitive hand gestures. “Shrink it down to the size of a quarter” makes the image so small that it will elicit a much less intense emotional response, and moving it lower in the visual field will make it less important. “Black and white” takes the color out of it, reducing its emotional impact further, and “blinking it” repeatedly interrupts the image and any remaining response.

As Bandler does this, his left hand is behind Michael’s back, and it looks as if he is anchoring Michael’s response on his back or shoulder. He continues to keep his arm in this position until 3:30 when the video is interrupted by a commercial break.

Bandler says, “Clear your mind for a minute,” as his right hand waves in front of Michael’s face, insuring that any images he may be making are wiped away, followed by “Look at me.” These two commands are followed by, “Now look at the picture and try to be afraid. “Try” presupposes that it will be difficult to be afraid. Michael looks a little surprised, congruently saying, “I’m good.”

A little later, Bandler says, “Now that the picture’s out of your mind,” presupposing that it is out of his mind. All nice work, flawlessly delivered.

Bandler then tests by asking Michael to make two pictures, one of him being terrified, and the other of him going over and touching a snake, and choose which he’d rather be. Michael says he prefers being terrified—which I understand to be a conscious mind answer based on his past experience of being afraid. When Bandler says, “When you look at yourself going over and touching a snake do you look afraid?” Michael says, “No,” indicating an unconscious change in response.

Bandler appears to be holding the anchor during this testing, which is a useful way of making sure that it works, especially in the context of a public demonstration. However, if he had not used the anchor, it would have been a better test of whether or not the change was complete.

With his hand still on Michael’s back, Bandler then points out to him all the time wasted, both in the past and future, by having the phobic response, and what he could do with all that time, to motivate him to choose the picture of touching the snake. When Bandler says “ten minutes a day, 352 days a year” (instead of 365 days) that is a clever distraction of Michael’s conscious mind. Shortly after that the video is interrupted for a commercial break; it would be very interesting to know what else Bandler did during the segment that was omitted from the video.

The video begins again with testing, with Kelly holding a huge snake, and Bandler slowly walking with Michael toward the snake, touching the snake, and eventually holding it.

It’s worth noting that the pre-test, (having a snake thrown at him unexpectedly) is very different from the post-test (seeing a snake at a distance and then voluntarily walking over to touch it and hold it).

Some might say that the post-test was more intense, since it was a much larger, and real snake, rather than a smaller toy snake. However, not all people are more afraid of a large snake than a small one, and having the snake come at him suddenly and out of his control is very different than seeing the snake, and choosing to slowly walk over to touch it. Ideally, the pre-test and post-test should be identical—same snake, same conditions, so that any difference in response can be securely attributed to the intervention, and not to other variables.

Curiously, the “pre-test” clips of Michael responding to a thrown snake were not filmed just before Bandler’s work with him. One of these clips shows Michael with no tie, and the other shows him with a dark maroon tie, while in the work with Bandler he is wearing a plaid tie, as shown in the stills from the video below:




Furthermore, in the clip where Kelly is talking to Michael about facing his fear of snakes, he is wearing a tan tie, and in the clip where Michael is talking about not wanting to get over his fear, he is wearing yet another tie, a striped one, as shown in the clips below. Kelly’s dress is also different in the different clips. This indicates that these clips were also recorded at different times well before Bandler’s work with him–none of these clips were taped just before Bandler’s intervention.


Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 6.19.43 PM

I think there is also some question whether Michael really had a “huge” phobia to start with. At 1:20, just after Bandler asks Michael, “Remember when she threw the snake at you?” Michael says, “Oh, yeah,” but I don’t see the kind of nonverbal responses I would expect to see if he had a phobia.

A TV host’s job is to put on a good show, and in a variety of situations this will require good acting ability to accomplish that. Furthermore, the context of a TV show, with all the preparation and expense, and with a live audience watching and listening to one of the TV hosts (in contrast to a volunteer from the audience) exerts considerable pressure to respond as expected.

A case in point is Bandler’s 2008 video of working with a woman with an airplane phobia in “The Hypnotist.” At the end of part 2, it is quite clear from both her verbal report and her nonverbal response that she still has her phobia of flying, yet the video (which must have cost a bundle to produce) is presented as a success by “the world’s leading hypnotist.”

Is this good therapy or good theater? I think it is a mixture of both, and it’s useful, and interesting, to sort out which is which.