'NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming and can be described as 'a set of concepts and tools designed and proven to increase personal effectiveness’
NLP is an ever-growing collection of information and insights into how we human beings function, an owners manual for the brain. This is backed up by a multitude of techniques and processes that can enable you to improve how you think, behave and feel and help others to do the same. It equips you to feel more in charge of your thoughts and feelings, gives you clarity and direction, enabling you run your life more successfully and communicate with others much more effectively.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming broken down is:
Neuro – To do with the brain and other neurological systems in the body.
Linguistic – Is language, verbal use, body language and the way we process information using our five senses and things like ‘gut instinct’ and 'intuition'.
Programming – This implies that many thoughts, reactions, behaviours and patterns are programmed in our brain and now run there unconsciously. NLP teaches that many of these unhelpful ones can be programmed out and new more helpful thoughts, reactions and behaviour patterns can be programmed in. Reprogramming requires special tools and techniques, which NLP provides.
'NLP can be used by anyone in various contexts and has the capacity to be useful in many situations’
NLP can help you:
Develop realistic and realisable plans that match your highest desires
Change outdated beliefs and behaviour patterns
Manage your thoughts, moods and behaviours more effectively
Communicate in a variety of contexts with diverse people
Think more clearly
Be motivated and energised
Learn new skills and take old ones to a new level
Bring out the best qualities in you and those around you
Overcome negative habits and addictions
Present and speak in public
Make decisions more effectively
NLP formally began in California in the 1970's by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. 1970's California was the birth-place of many of the therapies in use today and therefore, some of the most renowned therapists such as Carl Rogers and Eric Berne were of huge influence on the two founders of NLP, Bandler and Grinder.
NLP started as an investigation into therapy, as Bandler was interested in why some therapists were more effective than others, and so he transcribed sessions conducted by two top therapists, Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls. He was looking for clues as to what made them so successful. To quote Bateson, ‘What is the difference that makes the difference?” Grinder helped Bandler analyse these transcripts, using his expertise in linguistics and between them, they spotted patterns of ‘intervention’ which they codified into the first NLP tool, the Meta Model.
The next modelling exercise was with Milton Erickson, the noted hypnotherapist. The learning from this both confirmed the power of the Meta Model and gave rise to the second NLP tool, the Milton Model.
Following on from its therapeutic beginnings, NLP developed in many different directions, modelling excellence in other fields, such as business. It has allowed itself to be influenced by many bodies of knowledge, from cybernetics to person-centred therapy. Thinkers such as Robert Dilts, Judith de Lozier, Stephen Gilligan and Steve and Connie Rae Andreas have created a remarkable range of powerful models and techniques.
NLP has not been without criticism. It has been associated with exploitative stage hypnosis shows and dodgy selling techniques. However the vast majority of NLP always has been, and continues to be, used in a caring, positive way by individuals keen to improve their own lives and the lives of others around them: My NLP sessions are set firmly in this tradition.