N is for Neuro Linguistic Programming

I am reposting this today because it got lost the last time:

Cindy’s been kind enough to host me on the Mind Over All tour to celebrate the final installment in the Mind Over trilogy. The books follow the adventures of Deryl, a human whose psychic abilities drive him insane. Not only is he dealing with the unwanted thoughts of others, but two aliens on opposite sides of a war are trying to use him to help them defeat the other. He fights his way back to sanity, pushes off their influences and travels to their worlds to begin peace and eventually save both worlds form destruction. If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the Mind Over trilogy page on my website.
In the meantime, today’s blog is brought to you by the Letter N, and that stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming.
Neuro Linguistic Programming , or NLP, is a field of psychology and communication that focuses heavily on communication styles and on teaching the patient to interact in society in a normal way despite their psychological issues. I first learned about it in Frogs into Princes by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the founders. They claim to have used NLP to help everything from alcoholism to fugue states. I’m not a practitioner or a patient, but I do find it a fascinating method, so when I needed a psychiatric intern to help Deryl deal with is psychic abilities, I decided Joshua should be a protégé of the method.
One of the interesting philosophies of NLP (as explained in Frogs into Princes) is that it really doesn’t matter what the patient thinks. Take them at their word that they are a secret agent or the Queen of England. The trick is to help them find ways to cope in the outside world. So Joshua takes Deryl at his word.
“So how do you cure a psychic?” Ydrel challenged, eyes still buried in the heels of his hands. The tension in his wrists seemed less, so Joshua met the challenge with a direct and honest answer.
“Same way I’d cure a schizophrenic, or someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder or phobias, or whatever: give them the tools they need to make it in society despite their condition. You can do it, and I can show you how.”
Now Ydrel laughed. “Talk about arrogance! I’ve been here five years and no one’s been able to—quote—break my illusion. What makes you so special?” His voice had a snide tone, yet he sat forward, and his face was alive with interest. Joshua felt a spark of excitement but ignored it, instead leaning forward himself. For a while now, he’d been matching Ydrel’s breathing, using the rapport they’d established to calm him. Now he increased the pace of his own, bringing some enthusiasm into his posture as he did to his words. He sat up, waving a hand before him and setting it on his lap as he spoke.
“I’m not trying to break any illusion. It doesn’t matter if you’re psychic. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re Joan of Arc. What matters is being able to effectively handle yourself around people so they don’t get this urge to toss you in an institution. I mean, there’re lots of people who claim they’re psychic. They have conventions and everything. So why is it they’re out there and you’re in here?”
(excerpt from Mind Over Mind)
Josh doesn’t believe Deryl has telepathic or telekinetic abilities (at least at first), but he’ll help him cope, anyway. Josh starts feeding Deryl ideas gleaned from fantasy novels and some new agey books he’s read for fun, and wouldn’t you know – it works.
In subsequent books, Joshua’s NLP skills are augmented in the psychic realm by his musical talent and healing abilities, so that he at the end of Mind Over All, he’s called to his greatest challenge – a psychic who has literally split himself into two personalities, one, a friendly but ineffective ally to Deryl and one cruel megalomaniac intent on destroying Deryl’s family and taking over his new homeworld.
“So you’re saying that whole battle we had with him in the Netherworld—Alugiac’s personality split?”
“Maybe. I’m not sure. But there was definitely a presence in the Netherworld that was the Master, and he was sick and evil as ever. Alugiac was fighting him when I…I ran.” Deryl twisted his fingers together and hung his head. Beside him, Terry moved from where he’d been listening to grip his shoulder, lending him strength.
Deryl didn’t look up, but his voice had again gone cold. “As near as I can tell from Anglin, Alugiac had isolated himself to contact me after the first Miscria Storm, when we encountered the Master. He’s still there, caught.”
“And you think I can bring him out of it.” He felt Sachiko tensing up to protest, and stopped her with a hand on the small of her back. “Deryl, I haven’t practiced psychology in three years, and even when I was top of my game, it didn’t work so well on Kanaan. Remember Tasmae?”
Boy, he did. She’d been forced to experience the memories of the first Miscria, Gardianju, who had gone completely mental as a result of contact with Deryl at the height of his own insanity. While Joshua had tried to calm Tasmae down, she’d decided humans were some kind of contagion and resolved to take them out—starting with him. His throat ached with the memory of her forearm smashed against it.
“That was the Remembrance, not Tasmae,” Deryl said. “You can’t heal stored memories. It’d be like…rewriting the movie on a DVD.”
“You’re a mind healer,” Terry added. “You saved a Bondfriend child.”
“Yeah, well…” Joshua’s voice trailed off. Deryl’s eyes had flicked up and left.
Memory access, and from the narrowing of his pupils, not his own. What else was going on here?
Terry spoke into the pause. “There are no mind healers among my people, Joshua. You know that. I will accompany you to help however I can. We have confidence in you.”
What, just like that? Hey, Joshua, go cure a criminally insane alien for us. Joshua bit back a surge of annoyance fueled by stress.
Of course, Joshua will use his abilities – all of them – to help save the day, but the fun part is how and what he and Deryl have to go through to get to that point. I hope you’ll check out the Mind Over trilogy.

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