NLP Techniques, Psychology and Problem Solving

Do you still try and solve your problems by replaying and analysing them? You may actually be intensifying the issue according to a recent study.

If something goes wrong, do you replay the experience over and over, trying to think of what caused the difficulty? This is the approach most people take to problem-solving in their everyday lives and at work.

However, there are certain obvious disadvantages to the analytical approach:

  1. it rehearses failure
  2. the context is frozen by any strong emotion in the experience
  3. the resources available are limited to those accessible in the negative emotional state

A 2008 study by Kross & Ayduk(1) suggests this approach (immersed analysis) may actually intensify the problem. The alternative approach they offer involves re-experiencing the event from a detached perspective, as though they took a step back from the situation (distanced analysis).

They found that those who used the distanced analysis approach focused on finding solutions rather than on recounting the experience. The emotional effect of the experience was greatly reduced – and that reduction was lasting.

Bear in mind that this approach makes it easier for people to face the reality of the situation in a new way, rather than just pushing their problems out of awareness or using distraction to cope.

These results agree with the distinctions made in NLP with regard to how you can re-experience an event in a different way. We refer to immersed analysis experiences as ‘associated‘ and distanced analysis experiences as ‘disassociated‘. In fact, these distinctions are used in many NLP processes, such as the fast phobia cure.

A host of additional distinctions (taught at NLP Practitioner level) exist within NLP to adjust the way a memory may be experienced, offering extra flexibility to those seeking to improve their ability to solve problems and become emotionally more resilient.


(1) Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Facilitating adaptive emotional analysis: Distinguishing distanced-analysis of depressive experiences from immersed-analysis and distraction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 924-938.

NLP Techniques, Psychology and Problem Solving by
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