NLP (Neuro-Lingusistic Programming) …What exactly is it?
NLP stands for Neuro-Lingusistic Programming and ultimately involves a re-coding or re-programming of the brain to achieve new and improved behaviors.
- N is for Neural; which relates to brain behaviour or mind.
- The L is the Linguistic part and is involved with language; not only on how we process and use language but on the influence that it has on how we think and therefore our behaviour.
- Finally P is the Programming part and involves the recoding, or reprogramming, of the way the brain responds to certain stimuli.
In short then NLP refers to the connection between the neurological processes, language and behavioural patterns that all humans learn through experience.
We are interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as it is often used in conjunction with hypnosis and claims primarily to help you become more in control of your thoughts and feelings due to the methods and insights that it can provide.
NLP is said to improve:
- levels of happiness
- sports performance and business excellence
- communication with others both at home and work, by gaining insight into how others think
- your thoughts, mood and behaviour
NLP is also said to help with changing negative habits and behaviors; such as helping with:
- Weight Loss
- Stopping addictive behaviour such as; alcohol, drug and tobacco use, gambling, compulsive shopping etc.
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Panic attacks
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Scientific Studies and NLP
It has been suggested by Sturt in 2012, after a review of the effects of NLP on health, that similar to hypnosis a lot more scientific research needs to be done into the potential benefits and use of NLP therapy.
Furthermore, some early studies have shown encouraging results. For example, a study conducted by Sahebalzamani on the effectiveness of NLP strategies concluded that NLP is,
“effective in the improvement of general health and it’s various dimensions”
Another study by Stipancic examined the effects of NLP on patients with psychological difficulties; as well as their perceived quality of life in a psychotherapeutic setting.
In patients being taught NLP methods; there was a significant decrease of clinical symptoms with a corresponding increase in their perceived quality of life. This study concluded that;
“Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy is an efficient intervention;
which is on a par with other, well-established psychotherapeutic techniques.”
For a full, comprehensive list of studies relating to NLP, please click here.
Principle # 1: The Map is not the Territory.
A map of a real geographical place is an abstraction or a representation of the place, not the geographical location itself. Many people confuse such models or abstractions (the map) of reality with the actual reality of a place.
How does the Map is not the Territory theory relate to NLP?
However, NLP is based on the idea that our own reality is subjective and there exists a difference between belief and reality.
Each person makes their own reality based upon their own subjective ‘maps.’ These maps are made up over the years, and are influenced by our brains and our language (neuro-linguistic), and have a huge influence on how we behave and the meaning that each of us gives to that behaviour.
There is an important difference between how each of us perceives reality and reality itself ~ therefore if you change your perception (thoughts, language and behaviour) of an aspect of (your) reality your map will then more closely resemble the geography of the land (or actual reality).
The more closely your own ‘map’ of reality is to actual reality, the more in control you are.
Principle #2: Life and Mind are Systemic Processes
This is the second fundamental theory behind N.L.P. The processes that take place inside your mind and body are interconnected as are those that take place between your body and your environment, (that is other human beings and society).
Our minds, bodies, societies, and universe form a interconnected web of complex systems and subsystems; which all interact and influence each other.
Positive changes made to our minds will create positive changes both within our physical selves and within our environments.
Moreover, NLP strives to achieve a more harmonic interaction between all the systems and subsystems. When the mind and body achieve harmony it enables us to see many choices in different situations; this allows us to be more adaptable; and discover which methods or behaviours work for us.
Combined with this, once we start to see objectively our own map of reality, we can then make changes to it in areas that cause us difficulty, or that we have got ‘stuck’.
We can learn how successful people respond to different situations and make changes to our own responses; which in turn interact with our whole interconnected systems.
“The goal (of NLP) is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves; as well as the world we live in.
Nonetheless, the people who are most effective are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives. NLP is a way of enriching the choices that you have and perceive as available in the world around you. Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.” Robert B. Dilts
For advice on Getting Started with NLP ~ information with Moose and Doc on a bit of history, NLP and hypnotherapy, finding a practitioner, certification, courses and much more.
For interesting links and references to other sites on NLP please take a look at our Resources Page.