This is a true story.
*The names had been changed, but definitely not to protect their identities or the crime.
The training and personal development industry in Malaysia is small, so when there’s a new player or program in town, it’s natural for us to be curious. Like the new kids in school, we would Google their names, try to find out a little about their background, and if she’s cute, whether she’s single.
So when a trainer, *Lee, got his/her NLP trainer certification from a master trainer, *Palov, that I’ve not heard before, I just naturally got curious.
Oh yeah, for those who don’t know what NLP is (and no, it’s not Najib Lagi Pandai), it stands for Neuro Linguistic Program, a set of very powerful tools that can help you remove age-old phobias, resolve internal conflicts, swap out bad habits with good ones, improve your communication skills, and so much more. Some of the world’s most successful individuals credit NLP to their growth, well-being and success. Google away, and you’ll see the list of who’s who.
Anyway, imagine the shock I got when I Googled Palov’s name, because apparently, he is a convicted pedophile in another country! It was found on a site that kept a database of convicted sex offenders and pedophiles.
According to the report, Palov has a conviction for downloading vile images of children being exploited and sexually abused and for grooming a schoolgirl online. He was caught after attempting to meet a schoolgirl after grooming her online, and in 2000, pleaded guilty to possession of child sexual abuse images.
The report also stated that one particular chat room he used on a regular basis was very sexual in nature. The online ages of those in that chat room ranged from about 11-years-old and upwards.
Palov would engage in sexually explicit conversations with other users which would also involve him suggesting others carry out sexual acts on children.
After pleading guilty, he was placed on probation for three years. (WTF THREE YEARS??? Yeah, I know)
Although Palov denied giving NLP training courses, apparently together with Lee, they have conducted two certifications in Malaysia this year.
Initially, I thought that perhaps the participants were aware of Palov’s background, but when I reach out to one of the participants I knew who attended the program, one of the participants (*Andy) told me that it’s wasn’t mentioned. When I showed the report to the Andy, s/he said it could be fake news.
Since then, I have tried to get in touch with the local authorities to question about Palov’s case, but at the present moment of writing, I have not heard back from them. When I contacted the site operator that published the report, and they informed me that they had published a report about Palov’s misconduct in the national papers in June 2016, and sent me a photo of the newspaper clipping too. They are aware that Palov is out of the his country of origin and are aware he is spending time around South East Asia. They went on to advice me that as Palov is a convicted child abuser, he will always pose a threat around teenage girls.
Well, the good news is, from the group photos of the trainings Lee and Palov conducted, there weren’t any teenage girls. They were, however, female participants among them. And based on what I heard from Andy, it is safe to assume that the participants weren’t aware of Palov’s history.
Can We Ever Forgive A Convicted Pedophile?
Since the training circle is small, I asked around and found that a marketer of the program, *Max, was actually aware of Palov’s history. The story was the conviction happened before Palov was exposed to NLP, and after learning NLP, it has changed his life.
But perhaps I’m jumping ahead of myself. Time for some definitions.
Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with children who are generally age 13 years or younger.
Psychology Today defines pedophilia as an ongoing sexual attraction to pre-pubertal children. Pedophilia is considered a paraphilia, a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behaviour that is atypical and extreme. Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with children who are generally age 13 years or younger.
The article wasn’t very concrete on whether pedophilia can be cured, so I researched further. According to a publication by the Harvard Medical School,
Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.
Ok, so maybe NLP is indeed powerful enough that Palov has managed to rid himself of the sexual urges.
After all, we have all heard of motivational speakers who were once criminals, pimps and convicts who turned their life around, right?
Perhaps Palov is one of them too?
One key point to note. While all those motivational speakers do mention about their dark past prior to their engagement, Palov, Lee, Max or the organisers did not.
You see, if the participants had been informed of the conviction and still went ahead to learn from Palov, it is a decision made conscious of the full information.
While some may remarked that Palov may use the profits from the training to satisfy any urges he may still have (assuming the worst that it has yet to be cured), at least it was a conscious decision.
NLP Is A Tool To Boost Charisma And Trust-building
I’ll be frank. I’ve marketed NLP certifications before over the decade, and actively use the tool as a way to improve myself too. I use it in my writing (got you reading so far, eh?), in my training sessions (I’m a naturally boring introvert lar), and even in my day to day conversations with my loved ones (my better half Debbie is fully conscious that I BS her sometimes). Yes, it has improved my charisma over the years, and also my ability to influence people.
Which is why I am also aware that NLP can be used with ill-intention.
There had been cases where men would learn NLP to pick up girls for one-night stands, or other worse acts. Other would use NLP (in combination with hypnosis) to sway unsuspecting victims to give them money. Like a knife that can be used to protect or attack, NLP has that duality in it’s nature too. End of the day, it’s always within the intention of the person holding the tool.
So, could Palov use the NLP techniques to influence the participants, to gain their trust and build deep rapport with them?
There’s always that possibility.
The Vulnerability Factor
Also, from my experience of attending and organising NLP courses, or any programs where the aim is to facilitate a breakthrough for their participants, there are always moments of vulnerability. During the change process, participants have broken down in tears as they poured out their deepest secrets and heaviest emotional burdens, and it is during those times that they are very subjectable to influence, whether it’s in the form of motivation, or manipulation.
Which is why in the hands of skilled NLP trainers and coaches, they know that they do not hug or initiate any physical contact during those moments. The primary reason is to avoid “anchoring” the need of affection whenever the participants feel emotional in the future, and reputable facilitators are aware of the participants’ vulnerability too.
So What Now?
Truthfully, I am burdened by this information. At one spectrum of the decision, I am fully aware that revealing the identities of Palov and Lee will affect their professional image, for they could just be trying to make a honest living, providing the participants with the tools to change their lives for the better.
Of course, one may say of all the NLP trainers in the world who are not convicted of any crime, why did Lee and Max still choose to work and/or promote Palov? Seriously, I’m stumped on that too. I’ve not met Palov myself, so I can’t comment on him more than what the report told me.
On the other end of the spectrum, I believe the participants, and the public, deserve to know that Palov is conducting training sessions in our own backyard. With the right information, we can be more prudent and take the necessary steps to avoid any potentially harm. I have personally known victims of rape cases, and to think of the emotional pain they and their loved ones go through, it is something I do not wish even on the worst of criminals.
Though it hasn’t happened yet, or maybe it never will, should Palov decides to give in to his urges around his participants, I will not be able to live with the guilt of knowing I possessed the knowledge that could have avoided any terrible incidents.
Is This Professional Jealousy?
Well, I’ve been jealous of many things: the driver of a spanking new Lexus IS250, the stunt double on the set of Avengers, the lifestyle entrepreneur who can travel the world anytime he wants.
But luckily, NLP certification programs are not something I’ve marketed for the past five years, partly as a promise to a friend and ex-business partner, and also there are already good trainers out there who genuinely care about their participants’ personal growth. And so far, none of those trainers are convicted of any crimes (that I know of).
So, Mav, Are You Ever Going To Tell Us Who This Convicted Pedophile of a NLP Trainer Is?
For now, the answer is no, as I am still in the process of acquiring more proof. As time is always against us, I did not want to wait until I have the full info from the local authorities before writing this.
My thoughts are, the sooner I can get people to be aware that one of the NLP trainers conducting sessions in Malaysia is a convicted pedophile, the lesser risk that any unnecessary harm will ever come to any potential victims.
But seriously, here’s a suggestion for you: Google your curiosity.
If you have indeed been certified in NLP before, you can always Google the name of your trainer. If it’s Palov, the link to the report is at the very first page of the search results. As a matter of fact, a quick entry of the right keywords will also bring you to the very same site that I found.
It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain