What’s Your Real Problem?

Do you need some help to pin down and identify a problem with your young person? Sometimes you will not be sure what the problem is, or you think you know the problem, but it changes, or you might feel you are dealing with multiple problems that are running simultaneously. Identifying the problem or problems will be helpful to you when you want to seek further support from a professional or a member of the NLP4Kids team. You will be able to give an NLP4Kids Practitioner a good starting block in understanding the problem before we begin to solve it.

I’m going to be referring to this as your problem quite a lot of the time, but it may not actually be you that has the problem, it’s highly likely that it’s a young person that you are interacting with daily. If you believe there are lots of problems, you will feel overwhelmed and that can turn into anxiety and maybe other mental health challenges. By the time, you seek help from a professional it might take some time for them to dig deep into the issue before they can begin the right solution for you because they need to know the definition of the problem.

It might seem as if you have a problem that is very difficult to define. This means that you can’t really express it without using lots of words and that means that you don’t really know what your problem is yet. When you know what your problem is you should be able to say it quite succinctly in just a couple of sentences. If you’re not at that stage, then you’re probably not yet ready for reaching out for help or if you do what you’re going to be getting help with is defining the problem and not solving the problem yet.

The very first solution is best suited where there are multiple problems. Quite often, we’ll find that when there are multiple problems occurring in a young person’s life, they all have a similar thread, we just need to know what’s the similar thread that they all carry and a way in which to do that is to look at each of the problems in isolation and ask yourself the question ‘What are all of these an example of’ because perhaps they are all an example of a young person who is anxious, angry or fearful.

A great way to tackle lots of small problems is using an NLP technique called chunking. As an NLP4Kids practitioner, it is quite a common technique we use in our private therapy sessions with children and young people. Chunking is where we look at things that have a similar subject area and look at how we can categorize them. The other thing that we can do when looking at commonalities is to think about a common denominator. For example, a common denominator around a problem could be school or a particular friend.

In NLP terms, we use a term called cause and effect, which can be a good and bad thing in different situations. We also have a saying within NLP that you need to be at the cause which means that you always look at yourself and your interactions and think “how may I be causing what’s happening here to happen? what’s my influence? what am I doing to either cause or help maintain a particular problem?”.

Sometimes when we are dealing with young people, they do not necessarily need to change anything themselves, they do sometimes need that environmental shift to happen to really be able to settle back down and get back into the swing of life again. As an NLP4Kids Practitioner, I often meet young people who report to me that if things were a bit calmer at home and at school, this would really help them alongside professional support.

As parents and professionals, we need to be saying “what effect am I having on this young person with what I am doing with them” or “how I am influencing them?” Sometimes you can make a big shift in a young person’s attitude, mental state, and how well they’re managing their emotions, by you inputting your help. It may not solve their problem, but you may have created the right environment for them to be able to solve the problem for themselves. Think about the influence that you have, the cause-and-effect equation that you are putting out there in the world and how you can cause another person to either get better at or worse at resolving their situation by changing how you engage and interact with them.


By Gemma Bailey



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