is "Neuro-Linguistic Programming"?
NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is
the art and science of excellence, derived from studying how top
people in different fields obtain their outstanding results. These
communication skills can be learned by anyone to improve their effectiveness
both personally and professionally. It is directly applicable to
a diverse spectrum of fields such as communications, business, sales,
education and therapy
of NeuroLinguistic Programming
NLP began in the early 70's as a thesis
project in Santa Cruz, California. Richard Bandler and his professor,
John Grinder, wanted to develop models of human behavior to understand
why certain people seemed to be excellent at what they did, while
others found the same tasks challenging or nearly impossible to
Inspired by pioneers in fields of therapy
and personal growth and development, Bandler and Grinder began to
develop systematic procedures and theories that formed the basis
of NLP. They studied three top therapists: Virginia Satir, the extraordinary
family therapist, who consistently was able to resolve difficult
family relationships that many other therapists found intractable,
the innovative psychotherapist Fritz Perls, who originated the school
of therapy known as Gestalt, and Milton Erickson, the world-famous
Their goal was to develop models of how
it was that these people got the results they did. They sought to
identify and model the patterns that produced these
results and then to teach these models to others. These three gifted
therapists were quite different personalities, yet Grinder and Bandler
discovered some underlying patterns that were quite similar. These
patterns became the underlying structure of NLP, with names like:
meta-model, submodalities, reframing, language
patterns, well formedness conditions and eye accessing
The phrase "Neuro-Linguistic Programming"
describes the process of how personality creates and expresses itself.
Put simply, we are all made up of a neurology that conveys
information about our environment to our central neurvous systems
and brains. Since we are also meaning creating creatures, we translate
these perceptions in our brains into meanings, beliefs
and expectations. As we continue to grow from a rather "critter
brain" baby into a more complex adult human, we tend to
filter, distort and magnify the input we get
from our environment such that it matches the elaborate program
we evolve to explain our life experience.
The infant passes through "magical
thinking" and various other stages of development, on its journey
into becoming an adult. We may even carry with us the "suffering
contracts" we made as children in unworkable attempts to love
and heal the family. The study of how we do all this, the kinds
of meanings we make from our perceptions and the internal programming
and external behaviors we have set up to explain, predict
and make sense of it all - this is what the core of NLP is all about.
concepts of "submodalities"
The concepts of "submodalities"
We all have our unique "maps" of reality. We are a complex
and unique mix of inborn genetic potential, and the molding effects
from the people and experiences of our lives. Science has now proven
that emotional and social development is at least equally as important
as is the cognative development of the growing infant and toddler,
and for adaptability and success later in life.
We humans store the memory of our life experience as sequences
and montages of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory
representations. When we load up a particular sequence pattern from
our memory banks that matches some previous powerful experience
- we get to relive the experience of the event or situation (the
V's, & A's,... that produce the K's) . These Visual, auditory,
kenesthetic, etc sensory systema are the "modalities"
in NLP. Each modality has submodalities, which define the characteristics
and properties of the information comming from each sensory channel.
Visual has brightness, color/B&W, motion/still, fuzzy/clear,
degree of transparancy, to name a few. Auditory can be fast/slow
tempo, rhythmic, stacatto, loud/soft, tin can/stereophonic,... Kinesthetic
can have the full range of emotional experience, but also considers
texture, rough/smooth, temperature, impact, duration, subtlety,...
By playing with the adjustments or "volume knobs" of
these submodalities, we can dial in different meanings into our
brain and neurology that literealy change our experience, and sometimes
our memories. It is thought that since the human brain/body being
is generally aspiring towards higher evolution, that human neurology
often reorganizes itself in resonance with a more elegant way of
functioning, when the system is offered a new experience that offers
a choice in addition to the old, patterned way of doing things.
A skilled practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming can help your
system have experience of new choices, from which you can incorporate
or discard resources, insight and healing.
Replaying old patterns in new ways and adjusting
submodalities is a classical NLP methodology for assisting clients
be free of problematic habits and phobias. Adjusting submodalities
can have the effect of defusing an overwhelming challenge or obstacle.
Adjusting submodalities can also increase the pleasure, comfort
and value of
NLP in other Thearapies
Today, NLP has grown in a myriad of directions
- hypnosis and behavioral personal change work, structures of beliefs,
modeling personal success and systems of excelence and expertise,
business coaching and sales training,
It has been "popularized"
and marketed by controversial people such as Tony Robbins. Aspects
of it have informed such therapies as EMDR or rapid eye movement
and desensitization. People have taken it in spiritual directions,
assisting in alignment of personal behaviors and beliefs with a
"higher purpose" and connection to the Divine. Some have
developed processes to speed healing in hospital settings and to
lessen the need for anesthesia during medical procedures. (Anodyne).
You can even find internet sites promoting NLP techniques of influence
to pick up women. Public speaking, stage fright, parenting skills,
allergies, phobias, trauma,... the list of areas where training
in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and individual therapeutic work
with NLP practitioners is valuable is endless.
When we are experiencing being a particular state,
we are also loading up a specific suporting pattern of interconnected
neural pathways and circuits that coordinate in specific ways to
generate certain specific experiences. The blueprint that guides
and coordinates the construction of our experience of life, seems
to be clusters of beliefs which are expressed through the secuences
and collages of Vs, As, Ks we store in our memory system.
Anchoring is a form of clasical conditioning that
associates a specific touch on the arm, or paper napkin on the floor,
with the experience of a specific state. The precise spot anchored
there after serves as a trigger for that state. Very useful when
wanting to add resourceful <stuff/extra resources> to a problematic
We don't .
Robert Dilts has written several authoritative
volumes on NLP, drawing from studies of historical figues like Einstein
and Ghandi. An authoritative list of other modern pioneers is beyond
the scope of this introductory article and the author offers his
appologies to the many fine names that should rightly be mentioned.
Bert Hellinger's "family
A powerful offshoot of NLP is its application
along with the work of Bert Hellinger, introducing the concept of
"family soul" and "family obligations of suffering"
to give insights about problematic personal histories and possibilities
for healing chronic patterns.
Briefly, Hellinger suggests that one's family
of origin has a sort of genetic/DNA-based "soul" that
transends time and establishes an unusual "balance," over
the generations. He theorizes that death, dislocation, ostrization
or other misfortune or disturbance of previous generation family
members, can influence, quite unconsciously, the lives and conduct
of current and future family members. Healing and balance are restored
in the family soul and resolution in the lives of current family
members when certain things are said and spacial changes made in
the "family constalation".
The drama and insights are played out in a group
setting, where members of the group are chosen to represent family
members, or life issues of the "client." The client physically
moves each representative and places them, as if on a giant chess
board, in some position and orientation relative to the others.
The dynamic tensions and cool and hot spots that become aparent
in the constalation, errily reflect exactly what is going on in
the life of the clent. The therapist then makes subtle - or radical
changes in the geometry of the constalation of people and amazing
things happen for everybody in the room.
NLP in movement and healing
Some practitioners of the education, movement
and healing arts are combining Neuro-Linguistic Programming techniques
and concepts with their own diciplines: improving students confidence
and rate of learning in Tai Chi movement classes; increasing the
effectiveness and staying power of therapeutic massage; teaching
effective spelling strategies; Shamanistic studies
Business Processes and
Others are using NLP concepts and processes in
areas as diverse as developing business plans and getting clarification
of client needs - to - modeling successful business leaders to be
able to teach their methods to others.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming offers tools to the
business world that can increase the effectiveness, health and communication
skills of people who need to work together. By getting a "well
formed outcome" statement about the business goals and
plans of the organization, effective business strategies
can be designed and created or modeled from the people or
project solutions that have been successful in the past. Effective
communication skills can help managers more clearly interact with
upper management and communicate with and inspire that manager's
employees. By upgrading employees' interpersonal awareness and communication
skills, team projects can proceed more elegantly and with less stress.
Salary reviews can become deeply meaningful strategy, goals clarification
and feedback sessions.
The list of application areas grows with each
new NLP graduate.
NLP practitioners doing therapy"
NLP Trainer and Developer Steve Andreas wrote
expounding on the diference, in his observations, between newly
matriculted NLP Practitioners (having gone through reputable training
programs) and . These qualities make their practical toolbags of
techniques and interventions just that much richer and more effective.
I would be willing to bet serious money that practitioners who have
gone through a thorough NLP practitioner training do far more for
their clients and for a LOT less time and money, than any similarly
unselected group of recent graduates of any 5-8 year professional
psychotherapist preparation program. The reason is simple; NLP Practitioners
have a far better and more practical "toolbox" of methods
for helping people change."
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