Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is a set of models of how communication impacts and is impacted by subjective experience, and consists of techniques based on those models.  Developed in the early 1970’s by Richard Bandler, Ph.D., an information scientist, and John Grinder, Ph.D., a linguist, NLP began as an exploration of the relationship between neurology, linguistics, and observable patterns of behavior. Bandler and Grinder were interested in how people influence one another, and in the possibility of being able to duplicate the behavior – and therefore the effectiveness – of highly influential people.  What made their search special was their use of technology from linguistics and information science, combined with insights from behavioral psychology and general systems theory, to unlock the secrets of effective communication.  Much of early NLP was based on the work of Virginia Satir, a family therapist; Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy; Gregory Bateson, anthropologist; and Milton Erickson, a hypnotist.

See the Conscious Woman program, NLP: A Birth Model for Change with Kathy Welter-Nichols!

Heavily pragmatic, NLP is more of a collection of tools than an overarching theory.  During their early studies, Bandler and Grinder developed a unique system of asking questions and gathering information that was based on the fields of transformational grammar and general semantics. Later they and their colleagues discovered certain minimal cues people give that indicate very specific kinds of thought processes. These include eye movements, certain gestures, breathing patterns, voice tone changes and even very subtle cues such as pupil dilation and skin color changes.  NLP is this gathering of information to make models, based on the internal experience and information processing of the people being studied and modeled, including the part that is outside of their conscious awareness.

The actual technology, or methodology, that Bandler and Grinder used is known as human modeling; actually the building of models of how people perform or accomplish something. This modeling process actually means finding and describing the important elements and processes that people go through, beginning with finding and studying a human model. To do this well means to actually study the structure of people’s thought processes and internal experience, as well as their observable behavior. NLP has several techniques for diagnosing and intervening in certain situations: There is a phobia cure, a way to detraumatize past traumas, and ways to identify and integrate conflicting belief systems that keep people from doing things they want.

Performing NLP techniques is a skill that requires a significant amount of training to be employed properly.

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Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley