Resilience, Recovery and Chronicity

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by Richard Bolstad
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resilience-bend-or-breakWhen a traumatic event occurs, a neural network is set up in the brain with memories of the event (VAKOGAd), instructions about attempted responses (K), a time/place coding (Hippocampus) and an emergency rating (Amygdala).

If the emergency rating is low enough, a pattern of Resilience occurs, where the person is distressed by the event but able to keep functioning normally.

If the rating is high enough then at least for some time a PTSD-style response will occur and the person will have severe difficulty performing normal daily functions.

In the case of a PTSD-style response, most people will gradually edit the neural network over the next couple of months so that it no longer interferes with everyday functioning, a pattern called Recovery. Some people have a pre-existing thinking style which makes recovery difficult (eg a pattern of constantly checking in case something bad is about to happen again) and they will then continue to have problems long term, a pattern called Chronicity.

Resilience is pretty much the core successful human response to disaster that NLP seeks to remedially create (in fact NLP goal-setting, reframing and dissociation are used to create resilience). Note that research show that resilience is not a set personality trait so much as a set of actions you can choose to take.

From an NLP perspective we can use a variety of techniques to assist a person move through trauma.

The American Psychological Association says research suggests “10 Ways to Build Resilience”, which are:

(1) maintaining good relationships with close family members, friends and others;
(2) to avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems;
(3) to accept circumstances that cannot be changed;
(4) to develop realistic goals and move towards them;
(5) to take decisive actions in adverse situations;
(6) to look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss;
(7) developing self-confidence;
(8) to keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context;
(9) to maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished;
(10) to take care of one’s mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one’s own needs and feelings and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys.

At the 2017 Australian Conference Richard will be sharing *NEW* NLP tools and techniques to help create and build resilience.


Based in New Zealand, Richard Bolstad is a Master Trainer of NLP, Author and Psychotherapist. His central interest is in linking NLP to wider issues of spiritual devleopmet and conflict resolution. In addition to training NLP, Richard teaches Hypnosis, Transforming Communication and Taoist Healing Techniques.

Richard is a speaker at the ABNLP 2017 Australian NLP Conference taking place in Sydney, 25-26 February.