NLP And Gender
By Maia Freeman and Dr Richard Bolstad
NLP And Gender
Very few NLP articles by either sex actually discuss gender (maleness and femaleness). This is intriguing because NLP’s focus on language and personality differences could be expected to provide some interesting perspectives on this issue. As we will show, there is reason to think that women may not be getting as much value out of NLP as men, and that their voice is not being heard as fully as men’s voice in the NLP community. In this article we want to invite discussion of gender issues in NLP, beginning by examining:
1. The different results of NLP change-work for men and for women
2. The makeup of the NLP community in terms of gender
3. The research on metaprogram differences between men and women
4. The central notion of interdependence as an emerging women’s model of mental health
5. Ways of adjusting NLP to match gender preferences more effectively
Is NLP More Effective With Men?
An interesting controlled study of NLP use in Psychotherapy was organised by Martina Genser-Medlitsch and Peter Sch(?)tz in Vienna, Austria in 1996 (Sch(?)tz et alia 2001, p 232-233). The test group were seen by members of a group of 37 NLP Master Practitioners (22 men and 15 women) who used a full range of NLP techniques with great success. In the assessment after NLP therapy and at 6 month follow-up, there was an interesting gender difference. Men improved more than women on 40% of the symptom dimensions as identified by the study. This difference was especially marked in the assessment of how fully clients felt in control of their life, and in reduction of paranoid thoughts, aggression, depression and anxiety.
This result suggests that NLP is more effective with men. The question is, is it the gender bias of the subject that determines the NLP results, or is it the gender bias of NLP that determines the subject’s results.
Is There A Gender Bias In NLP?
The gender mix of the NLP Practitioner community itself seems slightly biased in favor of women. A review of NLP Practitioners trained by Transformations International Consulting & Training over the last few years shows that we trained 226 men (43.2%) and 297 women (56.8%). At the level of NLP Trainer, we have fully certified 15 women (57.7%) and 11 men (42.3%). While we don’t have everybody’s international figures, those that are available suggest a similar balance throughout the western world. For example, a 1990 study of a combined Master Practitioner/Practitioner training in Amsterdam by Ed and Marianne Reese reports 20 men (37%) and 34 women (63%) (Duncan, Konefal, and Spechler 1990).
But while women and men are both well represented in the field, women may have less voice in the world of NLP publishing. Surveying the last three years of articles in the New Zealand NLP Journal, Trancescript, we find 70 articles by men (69.3%) and 31 by women (30.7%). The level of contribution to International NLP publications is similar. In a year of Anchor Point magazines (Oct 2001 - Sep 2002) we find 38 articles by women (33.6%) and 75 by men (66.4%). A February 2003 survey of NLP books available at Amazon.com revealed 121 authors of whom 81 were men (66.9%) and 40 were women (33.1%). Well over half of NLP Practitioners are women, and they write less than a third of the articles and books. (see Figure 1)