Perhaps the most comforting aspect of complementary medicine is that its practitioners offer treatment for problems that slip through conventional medicine’s diagnostic net. This is one of the reasons that people in developed countries dig so deep into their pockets every year to pay for consultations and treatment from the wide range of therapists and consultants outside “mainstream” medicine. It is also one of the reasons that conventional doctors often regard practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine with varying degrees of skepticism, while the latter fight to achieve recognition for their professions in the world of medical science, official accreditation and peer-reviewed journals.
In this respect, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) enjoys typical complementary status. “I cannot call my work therapy,” smiles Seol. “It’s consultation.” What goes on at Seol’s practice happens not between doctor and patient, but between counselor and client. Seol is, however, fully accredited by the American Board of Hypnotherapy and the American Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming. A former resident of California, he offers counseling services in both Korean and English.
“People come to me with problems or symptoms that cannot be diagnosed at a hospital,” says Seol. “I see people with psychological symptoms, behavioral problems, stress disorder, study problems—including young children—concentration problems, and parent-child or teacher-student-related problems.”
Kicking Habits, Overcoming Phobias
Seol also offers help to people with social and other phobias, or anxieties. “For example, people that can’t do presentations or public speaking can use counseling to achieve what they want,” he says. Seol is also able to help those with addictions such as alcohol, smoking, sex, video games or gambling. “In such cases, aversion techniques can be used,” he explains. “I can get people to associate their particular addiction with something they hate, for example excrement.”
Neuro-linguistic programming was originally promoted by its founders in the 1970s and developed from the study of linguistic structures in taped sessions by other therapists. It is closely associated with hypnotherapy and the induction of altered states of consciousness in the client, allowing the counselor to work with the client to discover the original cause—for example, by using techniques such as age regression—of problems that the client wants to overcome. “I can then restructure the client’s past memories,” says Seol. Such restructuring, using linguistic techniques, can eliminate current problems, the roots of which lie in the until recently undiscovered memory.
Seol dispels several stereotypes about hypnotherapy and NLP. He uses linguistic techniques to induce states of altered consciousness; no swinging pendulum is involved. And the notion that a client has no memory of what went on during a session is also mistaken. “The conscious mind does not shut down while I access the subconscious,” he says. “They can run in parallel, and the patient generally remembers what was said during counseling.”
The capacity of hypnosis and NLP to intervene in the mental processes of others can also make them very attractive to the wrong kind of people. Legends abound of thieves using such techniques to persuade people in the street to hand over their wallets; a man in Italy was caught on CCTV getting a bank clerk to hand him a substantial bundle of cash using a method that allegedly involved every hypnotist’s favorite cliché “Look into my eyes.” Stage hypnosis, the roots of which go back to Mesmerists in the 18th and 19th centuries, is a rare example of a potentially therapeutic technique also being used for entertainment. But such spinoffs also serve to demonstrate the power of techniques that, in qualified hands, can be used to bring clients effective and lasting changes.
So if you suffer from a lack of social confidence or a phobia of public speaking, if you want to quit smoking or simply feel held back by problems that seem to lie in your mind, book a session with Dr. Seol and see what happens.
Counseling sessions with Dr. Seol are available in English. A typical session lasts three hours and costs 1 million won.
T. (02) 757-8008
City Hall Station, Lines 1 & 2, Exit 6. Head into Sogong-dong Underground Pedestrian Passage (lined with shops). Come out of Exit 7 of the underground mall and you’ll see the Sogong Building, which has a black and red sign for a Japanese restaurant above the door. Korean NLP & Hypnotherapy is on the third floor.