What is NLP?

NLP explores the relationship between how we think (neuro), how we communicate both verbally and non-verbally (linguistic) and our patterns of behaviour and emotion (programmes). It is both an epistemology, in that it studies how we know what we know and a methodology for creating practical descriptions of how we function as human beings. The purpose of NLP is often stated as being to study, describe and transfer models of human excellence (Modelling).

As NLP offers a window (through modelling) into the way in which we function (i.e. our neuro-linguistic programmes), it provides a technology for creating change. If you want to have more choices about your behaviour and emotions, to enhance your communication and relationships, and develop new abilities in your thinking, NLP can provide you with the tools for accomplishing this.

“NLP cannot be dismissed as just another hustle. Its theoretical underpinnings represent an ambitious attempt to codify and synthesize the insights of linguistics, body language, and the study of communication systems.” – – Psychology Today

NLP was born initially as an alternative school of psychotherapy in California, USA, during the mid-seventies. It was initiated by John Grinder, a linguistics professor, and Richard Bandler, a mathematician, at the University of California at Santa Cruz under the sponsorship of Gregory Bateson.

The two co-founders were at the time students of Bateson’s at UCSC, and published their first book “The Structure of Magic, I” in 1975. In this book, they tried to extract the rules of human verbal communication, which would be equivalent to linguistic grammars or to mathematical formulas, by modelling such genius “therapeutic wizards” as Milton H. Erickson, the most important Hypnotherapist, Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy and Virginia Satir, one of the authorities of family therapy.

Since around 1980, NLP has transformed itself from a mere alternative tool to psychotherapy to a full-fledged methodology of “communicational psychology”, which assists its practitioners in such areas as;

  • Personal development
  • Creativity enhancement

  • Increased performance

  • Improved communicational skills

  • Accelerated learning

“NLP is an attitude which is an insatiable curiosity about human beings with a methodology that leaves behind it a trail of techniques.” — Richard Bandler

NLP provides us with a set of “belief statements” an underpinning philosophy, or as I call them, The Philosophy of Success. NLP doesn’t claim that they are necessarily true, but if you act as if they were they are extremely powerful, in the sense that they will assist those who follow those models of the world in achieving more easily what they really want to achieve.

There are many different strands that make up the NLP Community, but as a rule of thumb, it has been said that John Grinder is the best theoretician of NLP, Richard Bandler the best practitioner of NLP, and Robert Dilts, one of their students, the best developer of NLP techniques. Indeed, Robert Dilts, has written more books on NLP technologies than any other person in this field. Other key developers have been Judith DeLozier, Charles Faulkner, David Gordon, Stephen Gilligan and Steve Andreas.

“(NLP) does offer the potential for making changes without the usual agony that accompanies these phenomena . . . Thus it affords the opportunity to gain flexibility, creativity, and greater freedom of action than most of us now know”. – – Training and Development Journal.

What do you need to take into account? A number of schools of NLP are forming which whilst still based on the original approaches are developing different styles and more advanced techniques. Therapists and trainers should be accredited to at least Practitioner Level. Be aware that whilst NLP has the ability to support change the real key will be motivation and willingness to make the changes required.

“Maybe the most powerful vehicle for change in existence”. – – Psychology Today