NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a personal development tool created in the 1970′s by Richard Bandler (a computer programmer) and John Grinder (a linguist).
Basically, Bandler and Grinder reviewed the transformational work of three very successful therapists:
- Virginia Satir, family therapist
- Fritz Perls, gestalt therapist
- Milton Erickson, hypnotherapist
Using their programming and language skills, Bandler and Grinder took the best methods from these three therapists and created standard, repeatable tools for people to change their neurological pathways into patterns that are more supportive of their desired outcomes.
It’s like magic. In fact, the first book to describe NLP is called “The Structure of Magic”. Most of the co-creators’ original books are out of print, but you can read my reviews of two of them here:
Personally, I’m one of those people who cares more about the application of a tool than all the many details of how it was created and when and so on. If you’re like me, read on. If you want all those fact-like details, try wikipedia.
What You Experience
A lot of NLP tools that I use are like a guided meditation. Most often I use NLP with a client because they have some stuck emotions or a limiting decision/belief that they created in response to a significantly emotional event from the past.
Using an NLP guided meditation, you’re more able to work with your unconscious mind (aka subconscious) to release the thought and feeling patterns that you created in the past to survive, but that are limiting you now.
When you release an automatic response pattern, you are freeing your naturally creative self to choose from many possible responses and resources. You may still choose to respond in ways you’ve responded in the past, but your response will be a conscious choice instead of an automatic, uncontrolled habit.
Another powerful NLP tool I use often is called “anchoring”. The mind-body connection is amazingly profound, and you can use it to your advantage by associating certain mental/emotional states with physical actions. We can use anchoring to help you associate positive, uplifting states with a certain action – like punching the air with success. Then, whenever you need to elicit that uplifting state (like when you’re feeling down), you can make the physical movement (punching the air) to immediately transform your mental and emotional state.
Anchoring is also key to an NLP tool called the Neurological Bridge that lets you automatically change your behavior patterns, such as from procrastination to energized motivation. I’ve even used this one on myself to move from nervous energy (like before public speaking) to grounded calmness.
These are just a few examples of the powerful NLP tools I use with clients. In all my coaching training, psychology education, and personal development work, I’ve not found anything so easy, quick, far-reaching and long-lasting as NLP.
Principles of NLP
Following are some of the principles behind NLP as I use it:
- You, the client, are always in control. You know what’s best for you and I listen to your intuition as I offer you creative solutions and resources.
- You don’t have to relive the past to heal it. If you are working with significantly emotional events from your past, I don’t have to know what the event is, and you don’t have to relive the experience in order to get the positive learnings and release the automatic response pattern you created then. NLP processes are generally VERY quick and easy.
- NLP will always generate more options for you. Whether you are removing stuck emotions and limiting beliefs or installing a new strategy, the process of NLP will never remove your ability to act as you want – it will only ever give you the ability to act with more variety, including and beyond your current habits. For example, if you are using NLP to remove a stuck emotion of anger, you are still able to choose to feel angry whenever you want … you just won’t automatically feel anger in those situations that are automatically triggering an angry response now.
- There are many ways to peel an onion. We’ll both use our intuition to determine what NLP process is best to use for your current needs. Often, once you’ve released one thought-pattern, another layer of your onion (life) reveals itself to be released. The great news is that with NLP the releasing is very quick and you can easily be discovering new resources and owning your brilliance within just a one hour session.
Other NLP Methods
There are lots of ways that NLP is used by many different kinds of practitioners. You may also hear about NLP in the context of sales, negotiation and influencing others. In these contexts you’re likely to hear about representational systems and what direction your eyes move when you talk about something (up for visual, sideways for auditory, down for kinesthetic or self-talk).
Though I’ve been trained in these NLP tools as well, my focus is much more on the uses of NLP to support transformational change in the context of results coaching. If you’re looking for NLP training or an NLP practitioner, make sure you’re getting NLP in the context you wish to use it … not all NLP is the same.
Try it Out
I believe the best way to know about NLP is to experience it for yourself. If you would like to better understand my methods of using NLP in the context of life coaching, please request a sample coaching session from me following the instructions on this page:
I wish you all the goodness you desire with all the resourcefulness you have within!