What is NLP?
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) encompasses what are considered to be the three most influential components associated with producing human experience: neurology, language and patterning. It is a practical approach to change that contains a range of highly effective tools and techniques for changing behaviours, and is highly integrated into disciplines such as psychology, personal development and coaching. In essence it is like a user manual for your brain.
In order to fully understand NLP, it helps to break it down into its three component parts:
Neuro—This refers to our neurology (our brain, nervous system and sense organs). How we take in the world via our senses.
Linguistic—This refers to language and how we use it to communicate with others as well as ourselves (internal dialogue).
Programming—This refers to our behavioural patterns.
As humans, we receive and process information about the world through specialised receptors and our sense organs (part of our nervous system). There are five senses: sight (visual), hearing (auditory), touch (kinaesthetic), smell (olfactory) and taste (gustatory), although we tend to process most of the information that affects our behaviours through three of these: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. The information processed through our sense organs gets transmitted to the brain. The brain then filters this information to create an internal representation based on a range of factors including our beliefs, past experiences, etc. In NLP we call this internal representation our “map”.
An operating principle of NLP is that, “The map is not the territory”. This means that our internal representation (map) is not an exact reading of the world, but an interpretation that is created by filtering the information through specific personal filters. Our internal representation then affects our state and physiology by selecting the best behaviour (programme) that we currently have at our disposal to handle the situation that we are presented with.
We cannot change the world, but we can change our internal representations. This is where NLP works. In our NLP sessions, we look at the structure of your experience, not the content. As NLP Practitioners, we are not interested in the past. The past has happened and we see no value in reliving it over and over again, especially if the past event in question was traumatic. This does not mean that we are not sympathetic, but we are more interested in how we can change the meaning behind your internal struggle in order to stop it from ever holding you back again.
If our nervous system is how we perceive the world, then NLP is the tool to producing specific communications with it in order to get the best results possible in any given situation.
NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970’s and is the result of modelling three therapists (Pearls, Satir and Eriksson) who were getting quick, consistent results when other couldn’t. They realised that these three therapists must be doing something that made them so consistently successful. The tools and techniques that NLP offers are a direct result of the modelling of these three therapists.