Research update for NLP and PTSD

Thursday, 9 April 2015

We now have the latest update from the USA project studying the effectiveness of the RTM protocol from NLP, with veterans experiencing PTSD.

Research update for NLP and PTSD

The Research and Recognition Project has just completed a New York State funded thirty‐veteran trial which targeted the relief of PTSD symptoms with exceptional results –76% of the individuals participating had a complete cessation of nightmares, flashbacks and emotional problems directly related to the traumatic memories which are associated with PTS. This well exceeds the current standard of care treatment used by the Veterans Administration; a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, E.M.D.R. and exposure therapy which “improves PTSD testing scores” 35%. to 45%.

Lisa Wake published a paper in the Mental Health Review Journal, in conjunction with Dr Mags Leighton, measuring the effectiveness of NLP with Veterans experiencing PTSD.


To determine if NLP tools and techniques were effective in alleviating the symptoms of PTSD in clients from the Military and Emergency Services.
Design and Methodology
This project ran at the ‘Healing the Wounds’ charity in Bridgend, Wales. All clients were opportunistic, having self‐referred to a Charity specifically set up to support Veterans from the Armed Forces. Data capture was inconsistent across the study group. 29 clients from an initial cohort of 106 clients provided sufficiently complete data to allow a comparison of their pre‐ and post‐ intervention emotional state, which was assessed using the DASS (Depression, Anxiety and 4 Stress) scale. A subset of 8 of these clients also returned DASS data for 3 months post‐treatment. In addition, 32 clients completed pre‐ and post‐ treatment self‐assessments using the NLP Wheel of Life scale. Of these, 19 also had data for DASS tests pre‐ and post‐treatment; these data were used to compare the WOL and DASS assessment methods. Interventions included a range of NLP techniques, addressing self‐reported symptoms.

Differences between DASS scores before and after treatment, assessed by the Z test, showed that the relief from symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress are significant (p <0.001). T‐test comparisons of the client subset (n=9) also returning longer term data showed that these initial post‐treatment improvements are persistent after 3 months (p<0.01). The consistent reduction in DASS scores post‐treatment for every one of these clients suggests that their results are indicative of the overall response from the clients in this study.

Limitations of the study include: client group; significant levels of incomplete data for the total study group; therapist effect and therapist training; treatment methodology.

Data suggests that NLP has potential as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety and depression associated with a self‐report of PTSD. An observation is proposed that these candidates experience an improvement in their emotional state when NLP is used which is statistically significant (p <.001) both for overall DASS score averages and also for each of the three DASS categories (Depression, Anxiety and Stress). Stress was the highest scoring category prior to treatment for these clients; the reduction in their stress symptoms contributed most substantially to the overall reduction in average DASS score, indicating an improvement in their emotional state.