Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a confusing name for a fairly simple system. I will spend the next several minutes breaking it down into as simply as possible so you can begin implementing it into your own life immediately. First, let’s take a look at the three words that make up NLP. First, “neuro,” refers to the brain. Second, “linguistic,” refers to language. And lastly, “programming,” refers to human behavior or action. So, when you put all three together, you get “the study of how language and the brain affect human behavior.” NLP is focused on understanding why and how people act the way they do and what influences people to behave in certain ways.
If you think this sounds a lot like psychology, you’d be partially right. In fact, in the 1970’s NLP was heralded as the “next big thing” in psychotherapy. However, since then it has fallen in stature as there has been very little to no empirical proof that the techniques of NLP help patients partaking in therapy. However, during the past decade or so NLP has made a resurgence as many psychotherapists have received training and added the skills of NLP to their “therapeutic toolbox.” Now, it is easy to find many psychologists and psychiatrists that advertise their training and experience with NLP.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is built on a series of assumptions, or presuppositions. I can’t go into all of them here, but I’ll give you a couple of the most important ones. First, NLP assumes that any behavior that is done by one person can be broken down and taught to anybody else. Indeed, much of NLP is based on studying people who are excellent in their various fields and then figuring out how that behavior can be modeled to others. Secondly, NLP also believes that there is no such thing as one objective reality that we all live in. Instead, we all build our own reality from our experiences. Just think about any time multiple people had to describe the same event. Everybody likely saw things a little bit (or a lot!) differently from everybody else. We all build our own realities within our minds.
Both of these assumptions should excite you because they place the power of self-improvement squarely in your hands. There is no element of preordained fate within the confines of NLP. You have the power to improve your life. Indeed, another presupposition is that you already have, or have access to, the resources you need to improve your life. By learning about NLP or working with an NLP coach you are likely to improve many aspects of your life.
If you’re interested in NLP and the ways that it might be able to improve your life, I suggest seeking out a trained NLP coach. Many life coaches are experienced with NLP and use NLP techniques in their sessions. Additionally, there are numerous books on the topic of NLP that can serve as a great introduction to the basics of NLP. Thirdly, and you must already be familiar with this technique if you’re reading this article, is that there are many, many online resources that can teach you more about NLP. If you’re interested in becoming an NLP coach or getting more in-depth with your NLP knowledge then I would suggest attending a training workshop or seminar. At an NLP training seminar you will have hands on experience working with NLP coaches. Make sure you do adequate research before selecting a seminar, however. They vary greatly in quality and reputation. A great place to begin is by asking your own NLP coach where he or she received their own training.