Thank you for your interest in NeuroCoaching.  

What is NeuroCoaching?

NeuroCoaching refers to helping people work in the ways that are best for their brains. It is based on 1) a scientific understanding of the brain and 2) the practice of neuro-linguistic programming.

1) Applying a scientific understanding of the brain to your work.

Here is one example:A bright woman I worked with was in a job where she was a good fit and greatly appreciated, but was not happy with her creative output and felt ambivalent and restless in her job. She was of two minds about her position. In that job, she was treated like a super-star and given lots of flexibility, which made her work enjoyable, but she could not see herself staying in a small market/small company for more than a year, because doing so would seem like she was accepting second best. It would be a challenge to her identity. She would beat herself up regularly both for not making moves to go to the next step and for not appreciating what she had now. The kinds of things she would say to herself daily were such that if she said them to another person she should expect a vicious fight or tears. Yet, because she was doing it to herself, she let it go.

What she was not aware of was that she was likely activating a threat response in her brain. Whether the assault comes from without or within, if threat is experienced, the amygdala (a sub-cortical region of the brain) tends to become active. When kept active, the amygdala’s projections to the hippocampus (critical for learning and memory) and to the pre-frontal cortex (front of the brain, area most enlarged in humans relative to other animals, and important for deliberate problem solving) can overwhelm these regions and interfere with their functioning.

She would never expect someone whose problem solving and learning capacities were compromised to provide a creative solution. The negative self-talk had been meant to motivate her to make a change. But it was actually interfering with her brain’s ability to make that very change. By understanding what was actually happening in her brain, this woman was able to see simply the cause of her creative block. It was a natural, healthy physiological response to being attacked – and she was the cause. This lead her to take seriously making a shift in how she talked to herself.

Once you learn how the brain functions, you tend to shift from wondering whether it makes sense to change the way you talk to yourself, to thinking it would be crazy not to.

From there, she could apply the tools of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to make a choice to commit to the right career path for her.

2) What is Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)?

In the 1970’s there was a trend among mental health practitioners to try to model the methods of the most successful psychotherapists of the time, so as to teach their methods to others and improve access to mental health. Milton Erikson, M.D. (hypnotherapist), Virginia Satir (family therapist), and Fritz Perls, Ph.D. (Gestalt therapist) were among these remarkably successful therapists whose expertise was sought.  

What was unique to NLP were that the founders (John Grinder, Ph.D. and Richard Bandler, Ph.D.) took a Linguistics approach to modeling these change workers. They focused on both the language patterns that the therapists used as well as the language patterns the therapists paid attention to when their clients spoke. The same modeling techniques were also used to learn about patterns of non-verbal communication, and mindsets people can hold that are important in various aspects of change work. Bandler and Grinder, and those who came after them have been remarkably successful in making the techniques of these very effective practitioners accessible to others. The famous academic, Gregory Bateson, is quoted as saying that “Grinder and Bandler have succeeded in making explicit the syntax of how people avoid change and therefore how to assist them in changing.”

NLP has since been applied in many areas beyond psychotherapy, including developing creativity, organizational change, and business leadership.


If this NeuroCoaching approach appeals to you, and you would like to inquire about working with me, please contact drjoshcoach@gmail.com.

Best wishes,

Josh Davis, Ph.D.


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