*This article is designed for those with a practitioner knowledge of NLP*

Like many of us, my NLP journey starts with a significant life event.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the effects of that one moment directly transformed the lives of tens of thousands of people and resulted in the tools I’m sharing in this year’s conference masterclass.  Let’s rewind three decades…  I’m 20; I’m playing London’s clubs, achieving my dreams of becoming a rock guitarist and life is great.  It’s a beautiful August morning, the air shimmering in the heat, birds soaring against a clear blue sky, and in an instant, everything changed.

Within moments, I’d severed my left wrist on the shards of a broken window.  I was rushed to hospital.  I survived but was left with severe nerve damage.  As I was also studying to be an osteopath at the time, I knew all too well the serious consequences of my injury.  The delicate nerves in your wrist must be intact to move and give feeling to your hand and fingers.  I asked the consultant, “How long until I can play the guitar?”  His answer was clear. “You will never move your fingers again.”

I asked for a second opinion.  The second consultant said, “There is good news! Your first consultant was spot on. The nerve is damaged beyond repair, your fingers are paralysed, and you will be left with a useless claw.”

So, not the answer I hoped for.

But I just felt there had to be a way through this. I reasoned to myself, “If lizards can regrow tails, then surely there must be a way for me to regrow my nerve.”  I kept on asking different experts, but all came up with ‘there’s no hope’ answers.

But I kept on asking and, eventually, I discovered a physio working with the Mind-Body Connection who thought I could recover.  And they were right.  I did recover, recorded albums, toured and even played with Eric Clapton once, but that’s a story for another time…

Even more importantly, it started my research into the power of these external opinions ‘you can’t/can recover’ and internal conversations ‘the experts are right/there must be a way’ and the Mind-Body Connection.  This led to my training in NLP, which was way ahead of the field on this, and the development of the Lightning Process (LP) for helping those with chronic health conditions recover their health.  Since then, over 25,000 people with MS, Autoimmune issues, Parkinson’s, Pain, CRPS, CFS, Depression, Anxiety and much more have been helped by LP in over 20 countries, and 12 research papers and 3 books have been published on it.

From my work in transforming health and happiness, I’ve developed the Inner Wisdom Techniques (IWT), which I’ll be presenting in my masterclass at the 2023 NLP conference.

The Inner Wisdom Techniques

In the 90s, I worked on modelling how stuckness (the inability to get or maintain change) ‘worked’.  Many interesting factors, including disempowering self-talk and losing self-trust, showed up, which can be found in my books (Get the Life You Love Now and Dû – Unlock Your Potential With a Word) and papers on the subject.  Other researchers in the field of positive psychology had also been working on concepts that support these findings, although there was less focus on the practical tools to make that change. (See Fredrickson’s work on Broaden and Build theory, Dweck’s work on growth mindset, Seligman’s work on Passive Pervasive Permanence and Kirsch Response Expectancy Theory, and Neff’s work on the importance of self-compassion).

This ‘stuckness’ model also suggested a solution that was to become the Lightning Process, with a number of components, three of which are central to all the Inner Wisdom Techniques.  First, developing the role of an inner coach – a sense of someone (as I had found in my journey) who is kind, believes in you and keeps you on track if you drift off.

Second, reconnecting with your inner wisdom and regaining a deep trust in yourself and your body.

Third, using those resources to update the damaging inner self-talk with something more empowering, generative and compassionate.

The Core Skills of Inner Wisdom Techniques

As NLP practitioners, we can sense how closely Coaching and NLP are linked by their shared presupposition that clients ‘already have all the resources they need’.  Our role then is not to fix them or to offer advice but to help them rediscover those inner resources.  Inner Wisdom Techniques further develops this, combining it with the concept that ‘no one could ever know you as well as you know yourself’.  When you think about it, isn’t it true that you know your true strengths, likes and desires, and the ways you can trick, trip or undermine yourself, better than anyone else does?

The problem is we can get trapped as easily in our destructive habits and ways of thinking as our great ones, and in fact, research suggests we have a greater tendency for negative perspectives than positive ones(1).  But what if our clients had a clear structure to combine this self-knowledge with coaching skills and access to their inner wisdom?  If they used this consistent positive input to guide their inner work between NLP/Coaching sessions to find solutions, what kind of changes could result?  How would that impact behaviours like eating healthier or changing habits?  Or transform more complex issues of health through resetting physiological processes moment by moment? Or help them navigate their way through to their life direction or mission, independent of the obstacles life sometimes presents?

These components, combined with ways to access the states that will accelerate this change, are the basis of the intriguing techniques we’ll be exploring in the masterclass.  They encompass a wide range of NLP approaches, from those that focus on the specific use of language, to strategic interventions, to those accessing more holistic, systemic and spiritual dimensions to change.

I’ve included two questions that introduce the power of tapping into your inner wisdom – do use them and see what opens up for you.

The first refocuses you on your inner and outer worlds and includes layers of Ericksonian Language Patterns.  It can seem long when written down, so say it to yourself in whatever chunk size works for you.

“Knowing yourself better than anybody else does, what is the one key thing you need to focus on in order to truly make the transformation that you know, deep inside, you deserve, and the world needs from you?”

I recommend pausing before continuing to allow that to process.

The second question is great for dealing with stuckness.  Take an issue that is getting in your way and ask:

“Given that you are dealing with these particular challenges that currently hinder you from completely making the changes you desire, and in spite of the thoughtful attempts you’ve made to shift this and the skills you have, you feel a sense of stuckness at the moment.  Who do you need to be to take this forwards?”

Again, take a few moments to consider your answers. I’ve found it valuable if you revisit these questions over the next few days and see what happens as a result.

Flexible and Future-Proofed

To highlight the value of inner wisdom approaches, I’ll finish with the case study: A clinical psychologist had been ill with CFS and Pain for decades and attended the Lightning Process.  Within days, she had recovered.  Years later, she emailed me to share how invaluable those inner wisdom skills had been in helping her to self-compassionately process the difficulty and importance of her father’s death.  This, I think, speaks volumes of the power of shifting from seeing our work as a treatment and re-envisioning it as teaching people to use skills to transform their lives, providing a way to tap into their inner wisdom, no matter what challenges they meet on that journey.

I hope to see you at the Masterclass at the 2023 conference and at my Inner Wisdom Techniques course.



(1) Rozin P, Royzman EB. Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance, and Contagion. Personal Soc Psychol Rev. 2001;5(4):296-320. doi:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0504_2