What is NLP?

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NLP Explained.....

NLP is the study of how people organise their thinking, feeling, language and behaviour to produce the results they do. The co-creators' of NLP, John Grinder & Richard Bandler had an insatiable desire to discover and replicate the structure of excellent performers' behavioural patterns and teach others to do the same, short circuiting the years of development and learning of the experts. This process is called modelling and is central to NLP. They called their work Neuro Linguistic Programming which is about understanding the structure of how the human nervous system (neuro) transforms data received through the 5 senses into mental descriptions (linguistic) and then unconscious behaviour (programming)." With NLP, you have a model for understanding the unconscious thinking processes that drive behaviour. This has two enormous benefits, firstly you can easily learn to do what others are doing well, and model it. Secondly you can identify the limiting patterns in yourself and others and use NLP patterning to move on.

Modelling is at the centre of much of NLP, then there are the patterns and techniques which originate from the modelling projects. NLP patterns are a synthesis of powerful change interventions, language models, and behavioural designs based on self-improvement and achieving excellence. The NLP patterns have been modelled from geniuses who were getting amazing results working in the field of psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. Grinder and Bandler had little prior knowledge of this field yet soon found that they too could get equally amazing results as the people they modelled in a fraction of the time. They ran courses, and other people found by applying the patterning they could also get amazing results. The patterning grew into modern day NLP with new modelling projects stimulating new patterns and techniques over the years.

Formal Definition of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro refers to our nervous system/mind and how it processes information and codes it as memory inside our very body/neurology. By neuro we refer to experience as inputted, processed, and ordered by our neurological mechanisms and processes.

Linguistic indicates that the neural processes of the mind come coded, ordered, and given meaning through language, communication systems, and various symbolic systems (grammar, mathematics, music, icons).

Programming refers to our ability to organise our sensory-based information (sights, sounds, sensations, smells, tastes, and symbols or words) within our mind-body organism which then enables us to achieve our desired outcomes.

Taking control of one's own mind describes the heart of NLP. NLP has become famous for the techniques it offers to bring about effective and lasting change. For example, NLP has a technique called The Fast Phobia Cure developed by Richard Bandler. Using this this technique, NLP can cure a phobia in a very short period of time (often in 10-15 minutes). We have used the procedure to cure phobias of water, bees, lifts, heights, public speaking, small places, aeroplanes, etc. The fast phobia cure represents just one of many techniques for such change.

We have used a technique called Time-Line Processes to remove traumatic pictures from the minds of traumatised people. Additionally, we often use certain NLP techniques conversationally, which means that we do not have to use these techniques in an overtly "therapeutic" way.

What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) explores the inner workings of the human mind; how we think, how we develop our desires, goals and fears and how we motivate ourselves, make connections, and give meaning to our experiences. NLP presents 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 behaviours, and think more clearly about what it is we want and how to get it.

NLP is the study of the structure of subjective experience - The relationship between the mind, language, emotions and patterns of behaviour. It is a psychology of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence and communication.

NLP is a fairly recent development, originating at the University of Santa Cruz in the mid-seventies when a group of talented people (namely, the afore mentioned Richard Bandler & John Grinder) came together to share information and insights across disciplinary boundaries. It incorporates insights from behavioural and Gestalt psychology, family therapy, hypnotherapy, linguistics, information theory and anthropology among many other disciplines.

Unlike other schools of psychotherapeutic thought, which concentrate on how problems arise, NLP started from studying people who are exceptionally good at what they do, and finding out how they do it so that anyone can get similar results by doing the same things. It aims to move beyond remedial change (fixing specific problems) to "generative" change, which empowers you to achieve more in every area of your life.

Often people find that when they learn a new skill or make a breakthrough in one area of their life, problems seem to disappear or seem less important.

NLP In A Nutshell

To be successful you only need to remember three things;

Know what you want; have a clear idea of your desired outcome in any situation.
Be alert and keep your senses open (sensory acuity) so that you notice what you're getting.
Have the flexibility to go on changing what you do until you get what you want
. If you go on doing what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got.

Some Principles of NLP

All experiences are subjective - we respond to our internal representation of events, not to the events themselves

Each person is unique and uniquely valuable

Everyone has all the resources they need for success - there are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states

Everyone makes the best choice available to them at the time

Behind every behaviour is a positive intention

There is no failure, only feedback

A persons behaviour is not the person

The meaning of a communication is the response you get

Mind and body are part of the same system

Experience has a structure - change the structure and you change the experience

I am in charge of my mind and therefore my results

The History of NLP

"NLP is an attitude and a methodology that leaves behind a trail of techniques." - Richard Bandler

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) represents a relatively new discipline dating back only to the mid-70s. Behind NLP stands a respectable body of knowledge. NLP originated from several different intellectual disciplines as organised by two co-founders - Richard Bandler and John Grinder.

It happened once upon a time when Dr Grinder served as a professor of linguistics at the University of California in Santa Cruz. Bandler came there as a student to study mathematics and computers. Dr Grinder, in fact, had already published several books in the field of linguistics known as Transformational Grammar.

Bandler discovered he had a natural gift for modelling and hearing patterns. He discovered he could detect and replicate patterns in Gestalt Therapy (a form of psychotherapy) from minimum exposure. He became an editor for several of Fritz Perls' books in Gestalt therapy. Being familiar with Perls' work, Bandler began to study Perls' techniques. As he discovered that he could model Perls' therapeutic procedures, he began experimenting with clients using the techniques.

After enjoying immediate and powerful results from that modelling, Richard discovered that he could model others. With the encouragement of Grinder, Bandler got the opportunity to model the world's foremost family therapist, Virginia Satir. Richard quickly identified the "seven patterns" that Virginia used. As he and John began to apply those patterns, they discovered they could replicate her therapies and obtain similar results.

As a computer programmer, Richard knew that to program the simplest "mind" in the world (a computer with on and off switches) you break down the behaviour into component pieces and provide clear and unambiguous signals to the system. To this basic metaphor, John added his extensive knowledge of transformational grammar. From transformational grammar we borrow the concepts of deep and surface structure statements that transform meaning/knowledge in the human brain. From this they began to put together their model of how humans get "programmed," so to speak.

Thereafter, world-renowned anthropologist Gregory Bateson introduced Bandler and Grinder to Milton Erickson, MD. Erickson developed the model of communication that we know as "Ericksonian Hypnosis." Since 1958, the American Medical Association has recognised hypnosis as a useful healing tool during surgery. As Bandler and Grinder modelled Erickson, they discovered they could obtain similar results. Today many of the NLP techniques result from modelling Ericksonian processes.

From these experiences and their research into the unifying factors and principles, Bandler and Grinder devised their first model. It essentially functioned as a model of communication that provided a theoretic understanding of how we get "programmed" by languages (sensory-based and linguistic-based) so that we develop regular and systematic behaviours, responses, psychomatic effects etc. This model went further. It also specified ways for using the components of subjectivity for creating psychological improvement and change.

From that point, NLP expanded. The model expanded by incorporating material from other disciplines: cybernetics (communication within complex systems both mechanical and living), philosophy, cognitive psychology, studies of the "unconscious" mind, and neurology. Today, NLP has institutes worldwide and numerous authors have applied NLP to medicine and health, therapy and psychological well-being, business, education, athletics, law, Christian ministry, and more.

Copyright Adam Eason 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Adam Eason is an author, consultant, trainer and motivational speaker in the fields of hypnosis, NLP, personal development and human potential. His website is filled with information, stimulating articles, resources and uniques products.

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