What Is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

About a week ago, I attended the most fascinating training I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime. It involved sitting in folding chairs in a large, white tent known as the Garden Pavillion at an upscale hotel in Irvine, CA for 11 hours a day for 4 days in a row. Not once during the 44 hours of training did I get bored, feel tired, or wish I was at nearby Disneyland instead of being glued to my chair. The training was an Accelerated NLP Practitioner training. I learned many of the techniques and applications of NLP to become a certified practitioner, but more importantly, I learned about myself, how my thought processes and language patterns influence my perceptions of the world, and how I can make changes to those processes and patterns to produce exceptional outcomes to my emotional well-being.

What is NLP?

“It’s an attitude that has to do with curiosity, with wanting to know about things, wanting to be able to influence things, and wanting to be able to influence them in a way that’s worthwhile” –Richard Bandler

Neuro-linguistic programming is a model of thinking and learning developed by Dr. John Grinder and Richard Bandler. At the time of their collaboration, Grinder was an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Bandler was a student of psychology at the same institution. Together, they studied three of the most influential therapists of all time: Fritz Perls, originator of Gestalt therapy, Virginia Satir, an extraordinary family therapists who used the power of language to resolve conflicts and change lives, and Milton Erickson, a world-famous hypnotherapist. The result of Bandler and Ginder’s work was a model for using the power of language to change and influence patterns of thinking at the unconscious level to produce desired changes in behavior.

Neuro-linguistic programming is a cumbersome phrase that covers three simple ideas:

1. Neuro– acknowledges the fundamental idea that all behavior stems from our neurological processes of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and feeling. We experience the world through our five senses.

2. Linguistic– how we use language to order our thoughts and behavior and to communicate with others.

3. Programming– refers to ways we can choose to organize our ideas and actions to produce results.

NLP is a practical skill that creates the results we truly want in the world while creating value for others in the process.
Using NLP to Change Focus

To use NLP you don’t have to change any of your beliefs or values. Simply be curious and prepared to experiment. All generalizations about people are lies to somebody, because everyone is unique.Our beliefs act as filters, causing us to act in certain ways and to notice some things but not others. NLP offers one way of thinking about ourselves and the world; it is itself a filter. By changing you filters, you can change your world.

Some of the NLP basic filters are often referred to as Behavioral Frames. These are ways of thinking about how you act. This means finding out what you and others want, finding what resources you have, and using these resources to move toward your goal.
Changing Filters
1. Change your orientation to Outcomes rather than Problems.

2. Ask How rather than Why.

3. Focus on Feedback rather than Failure.

4. Consider Possibilities rather than Necessities.

5. Adopt an attitude of Curiosity and Fascination rather than making Assumptions.
Everyday Applications of NLP?

A problem is simply an outcome that is the wrong way up.NLP is like the ‘user’s manual’ for the mind, and allows us to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes.

When you learn NLP, you learn specific skills and patterns necessary to make positive changes, create new choices, be more effective with others, break free of old habits, self-destructive patterns and behaviors, and think more clearly about what it is you want and how to get it.

NLP in your Personal Life

Using NLP techniques in your personal life, help you learn how to control of your thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

* Gain control of your life.
* Get motivated and stay motivated.
* Identify clear outcomes in all areas of your life.
* Make your goals come true.
* Enhance your performance in sports and other activities.
* Eliminate limiting beliefs and decisions.
* Release unwanted emotions and behaviors from the past.
* Align your values around money, career, health, relationships and family for greater success.
You can use NLP to create harmonious and fulfilling Relationships!
* Attract the right person for you.
* Improve the quality of your marriage.
* Create ideal relationships.
* Create your desired self-image.
* Create instant rapport with others.
Create profound improvements in your health and well-being!
* Eliminate stress.
* Access healing states.
* Model health and healing.
* Eliminate anxieties and phobias.
* Create and maintain your ideal weight.
* Stop smoking

Learn about the mind/body connection

NLP in Your Business Life

* Set Goals and Attain Them
* Build confidence
* Get motivated and stay motivated.
* Clarify your dreams for the future and identify barriers that may be holding you back
* Attain your goals
* Increase motivation
* Change unwanted behaviors
* Influence and persuade.
* Align your values around money, career, health, relationships and family for greater success.
Business Communications – Influence and Persuade
* Increase Sales
* Hiring the best candidates for your company.
* Creating strong partnerships with your customers, vendors and suppliers.
* Communicate inter and cross-culturally with ease and clarity.
* Improve results in negotiations
* Create world-class customer service
Management / Coaching
* Quickly analyze and understand an employee’s or team members communication style.
* Facilitate meetings and sales presentations.
* Create high-functioning teams.
* Easily resolve conflicts and build agreements around goals.
* Increase productivity.

(List of uses adapted from NLP Comprehensive)

Why NLP Works

NLP is based on many useful presuppositions that support the attitude that change is imminent.  One of the most important is, NLP is about what works, not what should work.  In other words, if what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else, anything else, regardless of whether what you had been doing should have worked.  Flexibility is the key element in a given system, the one who is most likely to do well responds to changing (or unchanging) circumstances.  That’s one reason NLP has made so much progress in an area where such is not the norm.  Innovators try out things with little regard as to its “truth” or “reality”, NLP is much more interested in results and giving people what they want from life (sappy yes, but “true” nonetheless).


Author: Teresa Meehan Ph.D.