Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a psychotherapy approach focused on understanding the neurological and language processes behind human behavior. NLP focuses on helping people create better subjective realities for them to live in. NLP holds that there is no true “reality” that people can actually experience. We all view reality a little bit differently, subjectively. By creating a better “map” for us to explain and make sense of the world, we will become more effective people.
NLP uses many different techniques to help people become more effective. The following is a brief summary of a few. Working with a trained NLP practitioner will give you much better results than trying to adopt these techniques on your own, but they will at least give you a taste of what NLP tries to do.
Developing “Well-formed” outcomes
One major NLP technique is reframing our goals, dreams, and wishes until they become more believable and realizable. They are refined until they fill six criteria (or 5 depending on the practitioner you are working with), similar to the SMART process that many people are familiar with. The 6 qualifying questions that an outcome must answer to be considered well-formed are: What do you want? How will you know when you have this? Where and when do you want to have this resource? What do you need to be able to achieve this? What are the advangates/disadvantages of making this change? What is the benefit of this outcome?
Having well-formed answers for each of these questions will make your goal much more realistic.
Developing eye contact and rapport
Many people are taught that maintaining good eye contact is vital to building rapport with somebody. However, how do you feel when a person is essentially staring at you? Do you find it difficult to maintain perfect eye contact while speaking with someone? NLP focuses on treating each person as an individual and that includes the extent to which you make eye contact. People have unique eye contact styles such as only occasionally looking at you, only making eye contact while you are speaking, or other variations. NLP holds that you should try to adjust your eye contact style with the person that you are speaking to. If you normally hold perfect eye contact while speaking with someone and they barely look at you, you should try breaking up your eye contact more than you normally would. People feel more comfortable when your eye contact style dos not vary too much from theirs.
Behavioral modeling is the study of what accounts for the results, both positive and negative, that other people achieve. At its simplest, you can learn from/about someone else by asking many questions and observing their replies. You can learn some very interesting things by listening carefully, such as how they prepare themselves and how they recover from setbacks. At the same time, you can help the person you are observing by asking them questions about what they are doing. Many people don’t think about the things they do until they are asked about them. Behavioral modeling is very much a two-way street toward improvement. At its simplest, modeling behavior includes: becoming interested and curious, building rapport, asking questions, listening and checking your understanding of what they describe, careful attention to non-verbal communication, using their answers to form a mental image, and checking your understanding periodically.
There are many, many different NLP techniques that can be learned and mastered with the help of a trained practitioner. NLP tries to help people develop themselves so the possible avenues to that end are obviously numerous.