by David Smallwood
This is Carol’s story. I know her well because we work together. As a part time bereavement counselor she has an interest in NLP and we have discussed its applications many times. Carol had been having IVF treatment (where her egg and her husband’s sperm are fertilized outside the body and then re-implanted), because a problem with her fallopian tubes prevents her conceiving in the traditional manner. Three IVF implants had failed. We met one evening towards the end of April, as her fourth was coming together in the hospital, ready to be implanted in the near future.
I asked her what she wanted. Carol said, ‘resilience’. She explained at length how really difficult it was to handle the waiting, the expectation, the disappointment. I offered her the opportunity to access her resources for resilience and she declined. Perhaps talking about it had been enough.
In the NLP Health model we are concerned with Motivation. Do you believe it is possible? Do you believe it is possible for you? Do you deserve it? So I asked her. She knew that people did have babies through IVF. You might think that is obvious, but I was expecting ‘a baby’ when I asked her what she wanted. Was it possible for her, ‘yes’. Did she deserve it?— another congruent ‘yes’.
We are also concerned with Means—knowledge of the physical and mental steps necessary to reach the goal. Carol had participated in an IVF group, met people who had succeeded, and had IVF Counseling.
We explored the three perceptual positions. From first position she clearly stated her wish to conceive a baby. In the second position of her partner she said that, as him, he looked forward to being a father and that she had learnt something else. ‘That’s interesting’. I invited her to second position the child that is not yet fully conceived and from there to send a message to Carol. The message came ‘we would like her to hurry up’.
WE! ‘Oh yes, we are twins. Carol wants twins’.
From third position she looked at the family that could be and it looked and felt just fine.
And from second and third positions silent messages were ‘beamed’ to Carol and back.
So, in the NLP Health Model, hers had been a chance (Opportunity) to deal with any interferences.
It had occurred to me how the Allergy treatment process could be used. An allergy is when the immune system mistakes a harmless substance as being harmful, and engages in an over-reaction to deal with it. The NLP allergy approach is re-educate the immune system, using a counter example. I had reasoned that if having a baby was congruent, then the body was just making a mistake by rejecting the implant. If a baby was ’good’ for the person, then the system could learn to nurture it, instead of making the mistake of rejecting it.
So I explained this concept to her and asked what was like a baby, that came into her body, and her body knew how to take care of and nurture. ‘Sunshine and sleep. I love to lie down on the bed in the sunshine in an afternoon and sleep’. That is her model of the world and it provided the counter-example I was looking for.
We found the submodalities of sunshine and sleep, and the contrasting ones of the IVF rejections. Together, we mapped the submodalities over and ensured that they would stay in place. Her body would learn to take care of and nurture the implant, just as it knew how to take care of itself with sunshine and sleep.
When the hospital rang the following day and brought forward her implant date, I remembered the voices from second position asking Carol to ‘hurry up’.
In the weeks that followed, two hormone tests confirmed that she was pregnant.
And on 30 December, Carol was safely delivered of her twins, Miles and Sophie.
Connirae and Steve Andreas, Heart of the Mind, Real People Press (1989) 37-45.
Note: The success rate for a 36 year old have a live birth event from a an IVF implant is 18%.
(Source: Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, Annual Report 2000, Figure 4.2)
The probability of a live twins birth from an IVF implant is 28%.
(Source: Aids to Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fourth Edition (ed.) G M Stirrat, 1997.
So the combined probability for a 36 year old having IVF twins is 5%.