What is NLP? Describing Neuro Linguistic Programming

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

Have you ever tried to communicate with someone who didn’t speak your language, and they couldn’t understand you?

This is the kind of relationship that most of us have with our own unconscious mind. We might think we are “ordering up” wealth, a happy & healthy relationship, peace with our family members, and becoming healthy…but unless that’s what showing up, then something is probably getting lost in translation.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or shortly abbreviated, NLP is all about people’s way of organizing their thought pattern. In simple language, it is one proven technique through which you can change your way of assuming the situation or an entire thought process including past experiences and life approaches. NLP is one methodology comprising two keywords - Neuro and Lingua, where Neuro means brain or mind and Lingua means Language. Explaining itself, it is the technique by which a person, with help of language, can control the behaviour of a mind. This has been a key to success for many in the field of education, business, emotions, relationships and others.


Psychologically, our brain always asks “why” to ourselves when it is traumatized or facing even a minute problem but Neuro-Linguistic Programming gives the answer in “How” to solve the problem and get free from the traumas.


NLP is in short, a way of helping people help themselves to reach a state of excellence, happiness and peace of mind.


How Does NLP Work?


NLP believes & works on the principle that we have all the resources that we need to make positive changes in our life. NLP techniques are used as a tool to facilitate these changes.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is like a user’s manual for the brain.

Theoretically, this method of subconscious re imprinting detects and modifies the unknown limitations or prejudice captured in the subconscious mind of an individual called the “mental world map.”

During the session, the NLP or Life coach creates an internal mental map of the world as a product of our assumption, perception, and filtration of the information our mind absorbs every day through sensory organs. Anything we see, touch, feel, taste or hear reaches our mind and remains there for a lifetime unless we erase them or replace them.


Is NLP a hypnotherapy?


Anything that changes the thought process of mind using the lingual activities is not hypnotherapy. NLP methodology works through language used when you are conscious and through conscious affirmations given to self. Contrary to this, hypnotherapy is unconscious language feeding in mind in trance state.

Normally, each and every person has his or her own preferred representational system – PRS. This system reflects the person’s biased nature towards a particular sensory system - visual or auditory or both.

Therapists are trained to identify this PRS of an individual through language. They bring in use a certain phrase to give visual signal like “I see” or auditory signal like "I heard that."


Origin of NLP


It’s a unique technique to control mind that had not been known before John Grinder, an associate professional at University of California, Santa Cruz in collaboration with Richard Bandler (an undergraduate then) came up with this in 1970s. Their fascination had lied in human excellence. This had generated in them the idea to model the behavioural pattern of human beings and for this, they chose three geniuses named – Fritz Perls, Virginia and Milton Erickson.

NLP, without modelling, remains partial. Modelling is the main acitivity in an NLP session as it releases and replicates the language and specific behavioural pattern which has been the strong point of the individual.

Same was tried on the three geniuses who were known as great change agent at the university and were working in the therpay department. Grinder and Bandler used the modeling technique and explicit the implicit skill of the subjects giving birth to the NLP.

Later on, they came up with various books supporting NLP as a proven technique to reimprint the brain. “Structure of Magic Vol. I” and “Structure of Magic Vol. II” were first two books those were published by “Science and Behaviour Books Inc.” – a respected publishing house.


Basic Principles of NLP


There are n numbers of NLP methods depending upon the context and demand of the situations. Nevertheless, the basic principles of all Neuro Linguistic Programming method are the same. You may find the same principles in every type of NLP method, however, the content of the session may change. The content entirely depends upon the situation context, the relation with the individual, purpose and so on. These principles are the fundamentals of all the techniques used in NLP.

Some of the most commonly seen principles of NLP are –


“The overall meaning of any communication is found in the response it gets, not the original intention of the communication”

Take responsibility of how others respond to you. Discover the other person’s perceptions before you begin to influence them.

As NLP is all about controlling mind by means of communication, the latter is used depending upon the type of response it is receiving and not the intention. An NLP practitioner is not required to speak motivational speech all the time just because the intention is to motivate the person but the communication must be such that the person’s brain responds to it. Even simple phrase and caring words can sometimes work. The practitioner has to analyze and decide what type of communication to start with the individual. When you learn how to communicate better, the world will respond to you better than ever before.


“The map is not the territory”


It can be better explained by taking example of a map and a destination. If one wishes to reach to a place then the map can surely just give and idea about how to reach there but you can't reach your destination by pointing your finger on that place. Similarly, description of numerous foods will not satisfy your hunger. You need to eat food to fulfill your requirement. In simpler terms, this principle is explaining that a description is not actually what it is describing. People”s descriptions are merely a “map” of their actual lives, problems and experiences. It is important for those using neuro linguistic programming to draw the distinction between the “map” they are hearing about and the actual “territory” which exists.


Human Behaviour is meant to be Adaptive


This is the key principle of Neuro Linguisitic Programming method and is found useful in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and personal growth. As people are more leaned towards adaptation in all natural way, it becomes quite easy for them to adapt entirely new thought. This works in a most efficient manner on people dealing with phobias or any negative thoughts. This is called behavioural adaptation.


Pillars of NLP


Not one neither two, there are total of 6 pillars of NLP on which the whole process is formed –

1. You – Without your emotional state and skill level, NLP remains incomplete. You have to be real “you” and not fake “you” while taking the session.

2. Presumptions – It’s one of the basic principles of NLP.

3. Rapport – The quality of your relationship.

4. Outcome – knowing your wish, what you want at the end.

5. Analysis – knowing whether you are getting what you had wished for

6. Adaptability – Adapt something else if the current programming is not working.

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