What is NLP?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy
NLP stands for Neuro- Linguistic Programming; Neuro meaning our brain, in other words, the language that we use to programme ourselves and others.
The term NLP was created by two men named Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. They spent many years studying and observing other experts in their field of Psychiatry, Psychology and Counselling.
They started to notice certain trends and patterns in what worked and how these experts were getting the best results with their clients. In fact these experts were simply using instinctually and through experience the tools that worked best for them. The accumulation of this research was what became coined as NLP.
In fact we all use ‘NLP’ every day. Even before we had heard the term, even as little children, we used NLP. Whatever terminology you want to give it, whatever name, it is all the same thing – useful thinking and useful communication; both with ourselves and with others.
Think of the last time that you made eye contact with someone, or smiled at them. Why did you do this? Whether you choose to admit it or not, this was a form of instinctual and learnt behaviour. We do this every day. We manipulate people every day for our benefit – sounds quite controversial but it is true.
Think about how you interact with others and when you behave in certain ways and be honest with yourself, as to why you do this. Generally it is for a gain of some sort. Maybe, it is to be liked, to fit in, to gain approval, recognition, validation, etcetera, but always it is for a gain.
This gain, can be a very useful thing and NLP can be used in a Professional capacity, by going to visit an NLP Practitioner, who can help you to overcome a Phobia, help you cease smoking or to help you become more confident. Whatever your issue, NLP can be used as a useful tool.
We can also use it ourselves, once we become aware of how to do this. Recognising how we talk to ourselves and our internal dialogue is a key factor. We all tend to talk to ourselves sometimes. Often this internal ‘voice’ can be a very self critical one, and obviously this is not a beneficial thing. If we can affect ourselves and influence ourselves in a negative, detrimental manner than it stands to reason we can also affect a positive result by becoming more aware of our dialogue and using a more positive approach.
This is simply what NLP is about. We all possess what is scientifically called Neuro-plasticity, which means that are brains are constantly evolving and changing. Every time we have a new thought or learn something new, we create a new Neural pathway. The more we frequent this pathway the bigger and more used it becomes. That is how habits are formed. Knowing though that we possess this ‘plasticity’ means that we can change these ‘highways’ any time we so choose. Once we are aware.
Knowing how to use NLP for the benefit of others and your own mental state is hugely powerful. Our mind is made up of two parts. Our Conscious which makes about 7% and our Unconscious which is the other 93%. Just like an iceberg, it lies under the surface but holds the rest afloat. This unconscious part is what rules the majority of our behaviour, thoughts and actions.
With the use of NLP, which is broken down into various tools that can be used, such as Hypnosis, trance and techniques, one can access this unconscious state and hence influence future thoughts and behaviours. Accessing a trance like state is a natural process as we all are constantly in a trance state of some sort. People that drive, often switch off their ‘conscious’ mind and arrive home without remembering how. Their unconscious mind having guided them there. In the same way, when in trance, we can allow our conscious mind, which is the critical mind, to switch off, thus allowing information to be stored more efficiently. This is what happens in NLP.
As stated already, becoming aware of the language – the linguistics we use every day is a very beneficial tool. Cutting out negative words in our vocabulary and using more influential words will dramatically improve our success and outcomes in life. For example the word ‘try’ implies failure. Our brain will process this in a negative way. Using instead the word ‘do’, will result in a better outcome.
The examples are endless in how to use a more empowering and influential language, which is I may add not only verbal. The non verbal communication we use is much larger than simply the words we use.
Our body language, eye queues, and gestures make up the rest. Knowing how to use this wisely is extremely beneficial. Take for example an interview. Do you think eye contact and your body posture would play a part in whether you got the job or not? Of course it does.
You see we all use NLP daily and instinctually at some level. The two men that created NLP, simply put together a system in how to best use it, but it was of course always there previously. Learning how to use these skills can only prove useful for improving your life internally and externally.
It is simply a way of life and a metaphoric tool you can use.
Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes “neuro”, language “linguistic” and behavioral patterns learned through experience “programming” and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life
It is the study of how we think, behave and communicate both to ourselves and others. NLP has been described as a philosophy, as a way of life. It is a way for you to learn more about how your mind works and the strategies you use. It helps you practice using more useful questions to get the results you desire.
Whether used to overcome fears or phobias, give up or change bad habits, gain more self confidence and belief or simply create clear goals and visions for your future, NLP is a great set of tools to have in your box.