I know that NLP is a flaky business. I think everyone who is a professional in the industry knows that too.
But I come from a litigious background and I’m used to completing paperwork.
Lots of it.
I didn’t think it was going to be that way in the beginning – when I became a nursery nurse, I thought I would be with children. However, as the years went on and the UK became more health and safety conscious, more robust monitoring management and record-keeping took place and the demands of my job changed dramatically.
I know that I bought that attitude with me when I set up NLP4Kids.
As I said, I know that NLP is filled with shady characters. In my opinion even ones with the word ‘professional’ in their title raise some question marks over their professionalism.
I don’t know of any other NLP organisation who works quite like we do.
Every NLP4Kids practitioner has a ‘key worker’. The key worker is someone based in our head office who takes responsibility for ensuring that our practitioners are working in the most professional way possible. They ensure that each of the practitioners they oversee, has up-to-date first-aid, safeguarding, DBS, data protection, has retrained with us within the last three years, and that they subscribe to regular professional development opportunities.
We do this because we want to separate ourselves from the shady people in NLP. Of course we love what NLP has to offer and we believe that it deserves to have a better name, but at the same time we want to distinguish ourselves from those who work in less ethical ways.
Our practitioners are heavily scrutinised before they are licenced with us. This includes going through an interview process, completing the formal application which includes two references and a medical questionnaire. Nobody get started until all of those are in place.
Nobody continues as a practitioner if any of those important documents expire.
If for some reason a practitioner’s documentation does expire, we remove them from service for a minimum of two weeks unless they are prepared to pay a fine, in which they case they get reinstated more quickly – providing of course the documentation is also updated. It encourages our practitioners to take responsibility for their admin work in the most professional way – meaning that none of those important pieces of professional materials can ever escape through the cracks.
It’s not easy. It’s not easy staying on top of what is currently 39 people and making sure that everything they should have, they have. But I would rather pay for extra team members in my head office to ensure that what is needed is in place, than to hold up my hands and say it’s not our responsibility.
I think that a professional organisation has to be willing to take responsibility for the people that they are labelling as competent enough to work with vulnerable people and children. Because the truth is that the general public do not take the level of interest that’s required in making sure that the people they work with, have everything they need.
I’d like to think they do, but they really don’t.
It’s so rare that I’m asked by a parent in my one-to-one practice, to see a copy of my DBS and it means I could get away with not having one. But I don’t. Because even though doing the right thing is hard but, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
I think it would be so much easier to say it’s down to the people that deliver the work we do, to let me know if there is something about their lives that could impact upon at work.
The work that we do is important and it’s urgent. The urgency is very often underpinning a parents desire to get help for a child. They can easily overlooked things such as ‘Does this practitioner possess all of the right documents?’
So that’s why we make sure it’s already done.
We make sure that people don’t have to ask questions because we answer them as standard.
That, to me, is what professionalism looks like. To my knowledge there is no other NLP organisation that works in this way. There is no other organisation that enforce the rules that we enforce and makes the requirements of its practitioners that we make.
Sometimes when I delivering an NLP4Kids discovery day, questions about professionalism in the world of NLP crop-up and I speak with passion about it. I defend who we are because we work so very differently to so many other NLP organisations.
One day we might just have over 100 practitioners and the job of managing all of their documentation will be really hard work. We will have to put some new systems in place to make sure that we are able to do this effectively. But it won’t stop us from doing it, because this is important. Doing the right thing is often really hard work, but we going to do it anyway because that’s the kind of people that we are.
Will the industry change to become more standardised? Maybe. But I doubt it.
People have been talking about changes to the alternative health industry for decades and to be quite honest, I think the government have got bigger things to worry about than NLP, so unless there is some kind of colossal media driven case (which they have been some in the past already and they didn’t really create much leverage), then I don’t see things becoming governed any time soon.
The upside to this is that a lot of organisations can avoid the annoyance of managing the people that they qualify in the field of NLP. They can work freely and easily any avoid responsibility for them.
In some ways I am somewhat jealous. However, I believe that if you were making a choice between those who demonstrate the level of care and dedication such as we do, and those who do not (particularly if the choice you are making is for your child) I’d like to think that the choice becomes a relatively simple one to make.
Another element that I feel adds to our credibility is our honesty about NLP not been for everyone and not solving everything. We’re very open about what we can and can’t do and when it might be the time to redirect you to help and support elsewhere.
We don’t claim to be clinicians we do not claim to work in a medical way – because we don’t. It’s just not what we do. I think that the sign of a good practitioner is when they can honestly tell you “I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”
A good practitioner has to get their ego out of the way and be able to refer on to other professionals from time to time . Not everyone within the field of NLP is good at that.
It’s one of the learning curves that a practitioner goes through when they join NLP4Kids. The realisation that they can’t fix every problem, that they can’t help every client and that they absolutely do not have all of the answers.
Once again it’s a hard thing to do to stand up and “I’m not the right person for you.” It’s sometimes uncomfortable to share that kind of truth, but it is the right thing to do.