We reported A4e's use of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) back in April, thanks to a tip from a reader. Now the Financial Times has taken this up in an article today. They describe the experience of an A4e client who was told to come in for a "course" and found himself, along with others, confronted by "a master practitioner" in NLP who was there "to change their mindsets". It didn't impress the client in question, who found it "stupendously stupid" and resented being forced onto it.
The FT is delicate about the worth of NLP. It links to an article on its own site from 2008 which is sceptical, but is reluctant to commit either way. Much more helpful is an article in the Skeptic's Dictionary. But what it comes down to is whether people should be forced onto something which they may well have a principled objection to. The FT article isn't clear about whether the NLP courses are obligatory. They are "part of a mutually agreed plan of activities", which suggests you can lose your income if you refuse. And that is completely unacceptable. The clients are apparently not told what the course is until they get there. But even if they know, the vast majority will not have the information to make a decision about its value.
"Motivational" courses are all the rage in business. They cost huge amounts of money and are very profitable for those who run them. NLP is different. No one should be obliged to undertake it.
If you find yourself in the position of having to sit through this stuff, first ascertain whether it's compulsory. Will you have your income stopped if you refuse? If yes, you may want to consider getting legal advice, but you won't be able to at the time. So if you are forced into it, detach yourself and approach it as an objective observer. Make copious notes as soon as possible.
The FT article goes on to discuss the whole place of motivational and other therapies in W2W. Their informant is in no doubt that it was bullying when what he needs is a job. And it's significant that he insists on a pseudonym because "he was concerned about how A4e would react".
The FT article seems to be behind a paywall.ReplyDelete
You can register and get free access to a limited number of articles per month.Delete
I have added the following comment to the article:ReplyDelete
As the Stephen Page mentioned in the article I would like to confirm:
1. At no stage bprior to attending was there any discussion or explanation of the content of the course. Hence it most definitely wasn't “part of a mutually agreed plan of activities” . I was obliged to attend the course - the first I heard of it being a letter arriving on my doormat. The letter specificaly states "Attendance at this activity is mandatory" - fairly unequivocal I would have thought.
2. There was no prior explanation of the involvement of NLP master practitioners - the first I knew of this is when the "course" started.
3. I could have physically removed myself from the room and then argued the point afterwards but had I done so I would have been subject to the sanction of withdrawal of benefits.
The "course" content was a combination of third rate psychobabble e.g. "the brain cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination" and statements of the blindingy obvious.e.g. "Know you're strengths & weakness are (sic) "
I cannot believe the assertion that "94 per cent of the attendees reported that the sessions “improved their confidence and motivation". I think this is wishful thinking on someone's part
There isn't much in this world that scares me. Nuns are one, Palmhouses are another. NLP is the third, This scares the Spit out of me..NLP, could be seen as a brainwashing system.Delete
94% reported it was good, because they knew if they said it was rubbish they could be sanctioned for not engaging with the programme..I have been on courses in the past where I said it helped I LIED, It was the biggest waste of time.. but Not now, NOW I speak out.
NPL.... you will take a minimum wage night shift job.............ReplyDelete
I had some cognative therapy in 20005, their"s nothing wrong with being positive, the trouble is, I was positive to begin with!, they send you on these programmes, they have a negative affect, and I believe can lead to depression, Especialley if you end up unsucessfull, in finding a job, As i said at the Time, We are all slaves to the system, But it helps if you can find a job you enjoy doing, makes being a slave, A bit more bearable!!ReplyDelete
CBT really isn't comparable to NLP and has, afaict, more credibility. It's effectiveness really depends on whether you can develop the awareness to step outside of your mind. This is key in order to make use of its techniques to alter your thinking. NLP seems to revolve around touching people in wierd ways in order to reinforce rapport in some fashion with the idea of getting them to agree with you. it's creepy.Delete
I agree that CBT is very different from NLP but "Its effectiveness really depends on whether you can develop the awareness to step outside of your mind." - ??Delete
I wanted to know what it was so I googled it this is the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programmingReplyDelete
the long and the short of it is it's rubbish.
"I wanted to know what it was" - I gave you a link.Delete
Sometimes this kind of thing can be seen as assault or even considered bodily harm. Providers like A4E are private businesses and are not agents of the crown like the civil service, JCs, and so on, and therefore have no immunity from prosecution and are libel for any damage to yourself that you think they have caused to your being, emotionally, physically and mentally. Don't let them crush the human spirit out of you.ReplyDelete
I agree with you. Does A4E have insurance to cover the potential medical risks involved in trying to send one of their customers on one of these psychobabbling brainwashing "courses?" If not, why aren't A4E fully and properly insured against the risks?
What would it cost A4E to obtain adequate insurance for this sort of risk? It could be that the premium payable by A4E would depend on the competence with which the potential risk has been assessed by the relevant Manager in the relevant A4E office. Does the relevant A4E Manager have any relevant qualifications and experience? If not, how can s/he make a competent judgement about whether or not such a course might damage the health of customer Bloggs?
This is an extremely valid point, though I imagine you'd have to persuae your GP to believe, if he doesn't, that this is indeed harmful. IME doctors treat anything these organisations throw at the unemployed (no matter how bullshit), as worthwhile.Delete
Thinking back to when I worked at M&S they send us all that's all the shop floor staff to this Mary Gober thing it was rubbish and they paid her £1m to tell us to do more with less staff and this psychobabbing sounds like the same thing.ReplyDelete
Inevitably from Yours Truly links that explain who Mary Gober is!!!Delete
"Her role model is Gandhi." Yeah, right.Delete
I've been on motivational course, a waste of time and money, i'm a strong, confident and positive guy, the course nothing to do about looking for a job. The advisor came out with all inventory words and phrases, as though she was looking into her crystal bowl, i wanted to laugh. I stayed calm. She said, come on you guys, asked me questions, don't make my job even harder. We all, the dozen of us, stayed dumb. These courses could let some folks feel depressed, that's want a4e want, then they will start a course for the depressed, anything for making a buck.ReplyDelete
A common thread with a majority of the WP/Subs seems to be that "Clients" feel subtle threats are made if they do not comply,as a 47yr old man being made to feel this way I don't feel this helps.ReplyDelete
The threats aren't too subtle!ReplyDelete
The letter states:
"Attendance at this activity is mandatory."
"If you do not attend this activity you (sic) benefits could be affected."
Bear in mind that there had been no prior discussion about this course - the first heard of it was the letter containing the above wording.
I attended a "warehouse search job day" today at interserve (origionaly best) in leeds. we were first told the computers were not working! then a woman started talking about how to contact agencys, then a man introduced himself as a recruiter, he said quote "ive 8 weeks to turn this around or im out of a job" what he meant im not sure? the work programmes in trouble mybe? and "people whom their advisor thinks work ready, would be refferred to them the recriuters to to help them find a job. translation there are many minimum wage rubbish jobs out there that need filling, guess what you can fill it! the whole thing was pathetic. all you are to tgese vultures is pound signs and a number.ReplyDelete
I keep hearing people going on about min wage jobs. I take one today. If it was cleaning bogs id do it just to put food on the table and hear my daughter say to her friends my daddy has got a job now. When i find these jobs i apply but get told i am over qualified.Delete
It has gotten to such a state here in the north west of england, that I am applying for Apprenticeships.Delete
I'm not allowed to apply for an apprenticeship, otherwise I'd never have been on the WP, I wouldn't even have been on the ND last year.
The only way these NLP courses would work is if they were directed at potential employers rather than potential employees.ReplyDelete
You can have the best will and intent in the world, but if those who run the SMEs aren't confident in the economy, they won't hire anyone.
Anon makes a very good point about using NLP on employers. Especially if it could persuade them to take a chance on the long-term unemployed - who have generally speaking - effectively become unemployable!Delete
I spoke to someone at A4E recently who told me he had applied for a job with Sainsburys. He had a first interview, passed that and got a second interview where they asked him how he had found the job. He said A4E and they said something along the lines of he hadn't got the job. This sounded a bit strange to me, but he then went on to say that he'd told his adviser this afterwards (who happens to be my adviser too) and was told that he shouldn't have mentioned A4E.Delete
So it does appear that A4E are themselves making people unemployable, whether it's because the employers know that "A4E = long term unemployed" and so they don't want to employ such people, or because they have heard about the recent fraud.
I have never been a Client of A4E,but did visit there office,It has just occured to me the connection between NLP,A4e and Emma Harrison. In the office Emma is plastered all over the place,she lives in a posh commune and it is only my opinion,and I stress this.... It is a Training centre for a Cult type commune.ReplyDelete
Now you're in the realms of fantasy.Delete
Very true,but so are A4E and Emma.Delete
Check out this web page about a charity called common purpose.. They use extensive NLP stuff...ReplyDelete
Why does this blog not post my comments?ReplyDelete
Since you're anonymous it's hard to answer that. I delete anything that's abusive, that uses offensive language, that makes allegations I can't substantiate, or is just plain silly.Delete
Fair enough, but it is relevant regarding NLP? A charity called common purpose uses NLP and charges up to £2500 for the training courses and involves many government officials that have been on the courses, id say that make this relevant to the thread? David Cameron is a supporter of common purpose too i believe?ReplyDelete
What charity do yo know charges over £2500 for NLP courses? And has the audacity to call itself a charity? Is that silly?
No allegations are being made, only links to further information that talks about NLP and others experiences involving this so called charity, common purpose..
Its just information, which can be dismissed, but not without at least viewing it first...
Do you realise how difficult it is to keep track of comments when you insist on not getting a pseudonym? And don't use the "reply" facility?Delete
Understood.. Not having a go... sorry..Delete
I believe the mandatory attendance notice informing people their benefits should be on these course notifications because benefits should be reduced if people are not attending courses which are designed for to help them back in to work, especially if they have nothing else to do with their time. Of course this is a preventative measure aimed at those who would rather stay in bed and watch Jeremey Kyle. Unfortunately, the majority, not the minority it seems nowadays and those who are generally good eggs looking for genuine work opportunities are also tarred with the same brush and seem to take offence- be mature, look at the bigger picture and realise its not intended for you!!!ReplyDelete
However, with that said,I do not see how NLP or any kind of positive thinking mind games offer any value over good old fashioned vocational training or skills to help improve a persons employability. Such courses can be computer package training such as Microsoft Office, something which can add value to a persons CV. This hour or more spemt listening to NLP mumbo jumbo would be more valued in these kind of courses.
Where do I start with that? Your first sentence is garbled but makes some huge assumptions. Your second sentence raises the old, old cliche of Jeremy Kyle, but also says that the courses you favour are "a preventative measure", which makes no sense. Then you virtually tell people to grow up and ignore the insults.Delete
Your second paragraph, however, is entirely sensible.
The person called "life skill" are you serious for real? talk about stereotypes, your full of cliches too.Delete
4 hours of being harangued by an NLP master practitoner is 4 hours too many, no matter who you are. Personally I have never watched "Jeremy Kyle" but I would not inflict NLP on even his most ardent fan.Delete
As for "life skills advocate" - I really hope that you aren't a professional coach. One life skill worth learning might be putting togther and expressing a cogent argument. Your first paragraph adequately demonstrates you don't have this particular life skill.
I maybe running such a course the profit motive?ReplyDelete
Blaming the victim via the Faulting Thinking route. Real World realities ignored.
Is (NLP) neuro-linguistic programming an Amercian Psychobabble import?
Amercian Psychobabble imports.
The Bio-Psychosocial model of disability
Beating the Blues computer programme
The book Learned Optimism Has a sentence where lack of optimism is cited as a cause of poverty.
I always like to think positively and pray each week that my rent was paid by a kind benefactor,but in reality it’s not.
My time with A4e has now ended because I have signed off JSA (Actually I was forced to, having started a business and getting into a dispute over hours worked).ReplyDelete
I was never forced into anything like this but sympathise for those who have been.
The premise of NLP is that you can change your mindset in order to affect your circumstances and vice versa. But changing the mindset alone is not enough otherwise you are just deluding yourself. If you take real, regular action you can tell yourself things that ARE true and not feel conflicted as a result.
People who undertake NLP often come out the other side not knowing how their bread is buttered. Some inexperienced staff member or "trainer" is usually regurgitating something they've heard about or had limited knowledge of.
I could always tell the staff at A4E were toeing the line and not particularly mindful of what they were saying or who they were saying it to.
I would give NLP another name like "maintaining a positive attitude regularly".
This, with real hard work and the acquisition of new skills is what is allowing me to build my business and find work MY way. Every cold call I make is the equivalent of an interview - interviews that were just NOT happening under A4E or JSA - and no amount of mandatory NLP under these circumstances would have worked for me.
This may be a bit of a stretch, but isn't this the kind of thing that prisoners of war have to endure? Being forced to agree with a "regime" or suffer consequences?