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As quoted from Wikipedia, the formal definition of Neuro Linguistic Programming is: The study of the structure of subjective experience.
NLP was developed in the early 1970's by Richard Bandler, Ph.D., an information scientist, and John Grinder, Ph.D., a linguist. Bandler and Grinder were interested in how particular people were able to achieve excellent results in what they did. Recently some people have changed the name of NLP to Neuro Linguistic Psychology.
They initially studied the work of three people: Milton Erickson, a renowned hypnotist, Virginia Satir, a famous family therapist, and Fritz Perls, the creator of Gestalt Therapy. These three people did what they did in an absolutely wonderful way, and they did it naturally, in an intuitive way, without knowing exactly how they did it.
Bandler and Grinder believed that if they could break down how these therapists achieved their results into precise, specific and exact pieces, they could model them and achieve the same results. They used technology from linguistics and information science, and combined it with insights from behavioural psychology and general systems theory, to unlock the secrets of highly effective communication.
The technology, or methodology, that Bandler and Grinder used is known as human modeling; the actual building of models of how people perform or accomplish something. This modeling process can be used for any behaviour or process, and means actually finding and describing the important elements and processes that people go through to achieve excellence.
For example, if you want to know how to teach some particular skill or concept, you would first find someone who does it extremely well. Then ask him or her lots of questions about what they do, why they do it, what works and doesn't work, and so on. At the same time, observing this person in action will often lead to new and better questions to ask in the process. Most of us do this already, though perhaps not systematically.
The addition of specific NLP technology makes it possible to discover much of what this human model does that he or she is not aware of. To do this well means to actually study the structure of people's thought processes and internal experience, as well as their observable behaviour.
During their early studies Bandler and Grinder developed a unique system of asking questions and gathering information that was based on the fields of transformational grammar and general semantics. Later they and their colleagues discovered certain minimal cues people give that indicate very specific kinds of thought processes. These include eye movements, certain gestures, breathing patterns, voice tone changes and even very subtle cues such as pupil dilation and skin color changes (training of Practitioners of NLP includes the skills and knowledge to use these information gathering techniques and to notice and interpret the subtle cues).
NLP includes representational systems, where someone processes information and events in either visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or cognitive (logically and sequentially) manner, in conjunction with the submodalities that go along with these individual systems, including meta programs, language patterns, parts integrations, presuppositions and much more.
NLP is the gathering of information to create models, based on the internal experience and information processing system of the people being studied and modeled, including those aspects that are outside of their conscious awareness. The word ‘neuro’ refers to an understanding of the brain and its functioning. ‘Linguistic’ relates to the communication aspects (both verbal and non-verbal) of our information processing. ‘Programming’ is the behavioural and thinking patterns we all experience. There is a relationship between perceptions, thinking and behaviour that is Neuro Linguistic in nature. This relationship is operating all the time, no matter what we are doing, and it can be studied by exploring our internal or subjective experience.
I’ve noticed more and more that much of NLP theory has become mainstream. For example, in schools some teachers analyze how students learn and more effectively convey their subject matter, instead of assuming all students learn in the same way. Also, when I peruse personal growth programs I recognize that many of them incorporate many NLP techniques.
These are the basic principles or presuppositions of NLP used in its application:
Respect for the other person’s model of the world.
The meaning of communication is the response that you get.
If you change any part of a system, you affect every part of the
system in some way. The mind and the body affect each other.
The words we use are not the event itself or the item they
The most important information about a person is that person’s
Behaviour is geared for adaptation, and present behaviour is the
best choice available.
A person’s behaviour is not who they are. (Accept the person, change
People have all the ability they need to succeed. (There are no
unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.)
I am in charge of my mind and, therefore, my results.
The system (person) with the most flexibility of behaviour will control the system. In cybernetics this is known as the “Law of Requisite Variety.”
There is no failure, only feedback.
Resistance in a client is a sign of a lack of rapport. There are no
resistant clients, only inflexible communicators.
All procedures need to increase choice.
Behaviour and change is to be evaluated in terms of context and
All procedures should increase wholeness.
There is a solution for every problem,
If it is possible for any other human being to do something, it is
possible for me to do it, the only question is how.
The intention behind every behaviour is positive.
The map is not the territory.
Individuals have two levels of communication: conscious and
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I have had tremendous success using NLP to help clients resolve issues such as eating disorders, unwanted habits, phobias, repeated unsuccessful choices, relationship troubles, anger, fear, and many other limiting emotions, while improving communication, enriching relationships and enhancing performance in all areas of life.
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"The intention behind every behavior is positive."