There is no single definition that could adequately encompass the incredibly vast world of Neuro Linguistic Programming and the benefits it produces.  As a general guideline though, we offer the information below as an introduction.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Neuro Linguistic Programming as “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (especially patterns of thoughts) underlying them; a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.”

NLP, then, is an extensive study of how the human mind works and how to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes.

According to Psychology Today Magazine, “Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is arguably the most powerful Behavioural Science on the planet today”.  Science Digest describes it as, “the most powerful vehicle for change in existence.”

NLP can be applied in the following areas:

  • Personal Development: to remove negative emotions and behavioural patterns, build confidence and self-esteem, and set and achieve goals.
  • Business: to enhance communication skills, sales and management skills, and negotiation strategies.
  • Coaching and therapy: to accelerate changes with clients by looking at the processes that underlies a particular pattern, emotion or habit.
  • Education and training: to promote and accelerate learning and memory.
  • Sport: to enhance performance.
  • Parenting: to cultivate effective communication and set clear boundaries with your children right from the start.
  • Communication: to acquire excellent communication skills.

NLP is like a detailed blueprint for the mind. It shows you how you do what you do, what motivates you and what shuts you down, and then shows you how to change things if they are not getting you the results you want. It provides a number of quick and effective techniques that can facilitate change in a person, thereby putting that person back in charge of their own mind and therefore their results.

Overall, NLP is an attitude and a methodology that promotes curiosity and the pursuit of excellence. The central premise of NLP is that it is essential to take responsibility for what is happening in your life. At the very least, you are responsible for your actions and reactions.

Many approaches support this same premise but the difference is NLP shows you how to take charge of every action and reaction. Emotional responses like anger, stress, frustration, overwhelm etc. become choices, and you are provided with better ways of handling situations.

A Brief History

NLP was originally co-developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the mid 70’s when the two met at Santa Cruz University in California. Bandler’s background was in Mathematics and Gestalt Therapy and Grinder was a professor in Linguistics.

Bandler and Grinder studied and modeled the leading players of the time in their various therapeutic fields including world-renowned gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, brilliant family therapist Virginia Satir and world leading psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, Milton H Erickson.

Over time, new models were added from the world of behavioural psychology and linguistics (among others) and what evolved was an extensive toolbox of techniques and strategies that assist people in creating rapid change in thinking, learning and behaviour.

NLP utilizes top mind-body technologies to help individuals discover and tap into their most powerful physical, mental and emotional resources.  Old habits and patterns of behaviour can be eliminated and replaced with new and empowering behaviour patterns.  In the world of NLP, the focus is not on what the problem is; rather it emphasizes the process or strategies employed in how a person does the problem.  By identifying and changing the filters, the thinking, the strategies, and the mental and emotional programs a person employs, positive change can happen instantly.

Here are just some of the benefits of NLP:

  • The development of behavioural competence and flexibility
  • The ability to communicate effectively with others and develop skills for productive interpersonal relationships that create win-win outcomes
  • Replacement of undesirable behaviours and limiting beliefs with proactive behaviours and empowering beliefs
  • Removal of irrational fears and phobias
  • The ability to produce or increase states of individual competence and excellence
  • Release of old habits, fears and limiting decisions
  • The establishment of identity and alignment to life mission and purpose
  • Honing beliefs and values which are the key drivers motivating you to take action
  • Increased self-awareness and self-empowerment
  • The ability to develop clearly defined goals along with the necessary tools, strategies and steps to achieve them