ME/CFS, NLP And The Lightning Process™ In The Looking Glass



By Nancy Blake in Positive Health Online.


The purpose of this article is to provide an explanation of the theoretical model and practical processes underlying both appropriate and inappropriate use of NLP in the treatment of patients with ME/CFS.

The timing of this article has been influenced by recent publicity about a research paper by Crawley et al[1] which purports to supports the use of the Lightning Process™, in addition to Specialist Medical Care, to treat ME/CFS in children between the ages of 12 and 18.  The Lightning Process™ is described by its developer as based on Osteopathy, NLP and Life Coaching.

There has been a recent decision to review the NICE Guidelines for treatment/management of ME/CFS, and it is not unreasonable to speculate that evidence for the effectiveness of this trade-marked treatment might be used to support recommending its use, paid for by the  NHS, in a revised Guideline. The use of psychological therapies in ME/CFS, which the recent Report by a Committee of the US IOM[2] describes as a serious, complex multisystem disease, not psychogenic, is naturally a cause for controversy.

ME/CFS is generally recognized as an illness in which exercise “exacerbates symptoms”, and it has always seemed illogical to prescribe exercise as a treatment.[3]

The first and last sentence of this article’s abstract epitomize this paradox::

“Severe exacerbation of symptoms following physical activity is characteristic for chronic-fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM). These exacerbations make it understandable for people with CFS and FM to develop fear of performing body movement or physical activity and consequently avoidance behaviour toward physical activity”.


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