What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
NLP is a set of skills
As with all skills you can only learn them by doing them, again and again
Rather like learning to ride a bicycle, NLP is difficult to do from just reading a book, this is why we specialise in “experiential learning”
All of our courses are based on learning from experience
What is NLP? The short version
In the late seventies, Neuro-Linguistic Programming was being born as a new discipline. Judith DeLozier worked with John Grinder, Robert Dilts and Richard Bandler, and she remembers that by trial and error, they discovered that it took around twenty days of intensive training to get a student up to a reasonable level of competence. At this point they were capable of applying the NLP skills successfully with themselves and with others; in other words, they were able to practice NLP. This was called the NLP Practitioner level of training. 120 hours or 18/20 days is still recognised as the international standard for the Practitioner level of qualification. In the UK, the Professional Guild of NLP sets the highest standards and requires this minimum of 120 hours over at least 18 days.
NLP is a set of skills for communicating more effectively with yourself or others. However, it is far more than ‘just a set of techniques’. At heart, it is both a set of models, and a set of communication skills in the domain of subjective experience and consciousness. The skills focus on both the intrapersonal (within a person) and the interpersonal (between people). Taken together these models and skills constitute a new and innovative discipline that has grown vigorously and produced significant results in many different fields. NLP can be summarised as a powerful set of applied psychological skills for change, for learning and for accelerating personal and professional development.
Put simply, the results you create in any area of your life are caused by what you do, your external behaviour. This in turn, depends on what you think, which again, is influenced by your emotions, and your perception of reality (your model of the world). By learning which small changes to make where, and how to make them, you can significantly improve your results in whatever area of life you want to. NLP greatly increases your choices in your own life, and your influence with others. Developing these skills is arguably the best investment in yourself, your professional career, and your future quality of life, that you can make. (See Investing in Yourself – below)
What is NLP? – the more definitive version
It is defined by Robert Dilts, John Grinder, Richard Bandler and Judith DeLozier in their 1980 Book ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume 1’:
“Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the discipline whose domain is the study of the structure of subjective experience”
It is a new and expanding discipline which is about how mind creates experience; what consciousness is made up of; and how it works. It is a set of skills and models which enable us to make often dramatic improvements in replicating human excellence, and in healing human pathology.
NLP is a set of skills which can enable us to significantly accelerate personal development and professional communication skills in fields as diverse as psychotherapy, business and education.
NLP studies the patterns and processes (programming) created by the interaction between the brain (neuro) , language (linguistics), the body and the senses.
It is an applied behavioural science that provides:
- An Epistemology – a science of how we know what we know
- A Methodology – processes and procedures for applying the above knowledge
- A Technology – a set of intra and interpersonal skills for applying both the above
This is based on the most comprehensive definition of NLP given by Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier’s ‘ Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding’ published by NLP University Press in 2000. To read this, google ‘NLP Encyclopedia’, click on Volume N, then click on Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
How does NLP work?
NLP works because we do not live in the real world as much as we like to think. We live in our version, our model, our map of what we think the real world is, and project this out onto the real world. This is why individuals have different views of things. We really do each unconsciously construct our own model/map of the world. Once we know how to change our own map of the world, we can begin to change our own reality.
This idea that we construct our reality is known as ‘radical constructivism’, a term deriving from the writings of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget in the 1950s. There are three main practical applications of this idea.
Once we know how we construct our individual realities, it becomes possible to reconstruct bits of them in ways that work better. This can lead to a rapid growth in personal development and significant improvements in self-confidence, choice, and enjoyment of the quality of life.
Secondly, it is also possible to deconstruct the patterns of those who are excellent at some skill or ability, and pass the core patterns of ‘know-how’ onto others. This gives two abilities: one is a new research process (called behavioural modelling) for discovering how an outstanding performer of any skill actually does it; the other is a way of learning and/or teaching any such ability faster and more effectively than by any other means. This can transform professional skills and abilities, as well as the traditional ways of learning them.
Thirdly, once we know how human limitations, or pathologies, work, it becomes possible to design intervention strategies that are extraordinarily effective in ‘curing’ problems. Well tested examples in NLP include the phobia cure, the allergy cure, and re-imprinting of traumatic experiences. This offers the potential to transform psychotherapy practice.
Over the last twenty years the skills of NLP have come to be very widely used in the business world on training courses, and all types of coaching courses: life coaching, executive coaching, sports coaching and business NLP coaching.
What do people get from learning NLP?
In 2007 after advice from Paul Tosey at Surrey University Business School, who heads up NLP research in the UK, we commissioned a piece of qualitative research from five independent researchers to identify the main benefits that students on our NLP Practitioner training got from being on the course.
The top five benefits seem to be:
Self-confidence – More choice – Improved relationships – Self-awareness – Quality of life
The top benefits that emerged for each of the five researchers based on independent text analysis were:
- Quality of life – Quality of relationships with others – More choices – Calm and self esteem – Dealing with fear – Practical skills
- Feeling empowered – Connecting with others – Community – More choices – Skills – Positive emotional state – Self-awareness
- Self-authoring – Choice – Quality relationships
- Choice – Growth and change – Self discovery – Connection – Empowerment – Support – Enjoyment and happiness
- Growth/learning – Greater choice – Relationships – Confidence – Skills resources – Inner Peace – Appreciating different perspectives