What is NLP

Neuro Linguistic Programming

What is NLP

NEURO – The nervous system through which experience is received and processed by the five senses

LINGUISTIC – Language and non-verbal communication systems through which neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning

PROGRAMMING – The ability to organise our communication and neurological systems to achieve specific desired goals and results

Richard Bandler says:


characterised by the sense of curiosity and adventure and a desire to learn the skills to be able to find out what kinds of communication influences somebody and the kinds of things worth knowing; to look at life as a rare and unprecedented opportunity to learn.


based on the overall operational presupposition that all behaviour has a structure . . . and that structure can be modelled, learned, taught, and changed (re – programmed). The way to know what will be useful and effective are the perceptual skills.


enabling the practitioner to organise information and perceptions in ways that allow them to achieve results that were once inconceivable.

NLP began (in the 1970s) when John Grinder, a Professor at UC Santa Cruz, and Richard Bandler, a graduate student, studied some of the world’s most effective communicators. They believed (and still do) that all behaviour has a structure, and that you can model the way one person does things ‘instinctively’ and teach other people to do it the same way. They modelled people like Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson, Fritz Pearl and Gregory Bateson, and they noticed that all these people went through (mostly unconscious) patterns when communicating – both internally (thinking) and externally. Grinder and Bandler taught the patterns to other people and found these new people became effective communicators too. The patterns evolved into NLP – and, as such, the field has often been described as “the study of human excellence”.

The Four Principles of NLP

  1. First, know what you want. In any situation, have a clear outcome of what you want to achieve.
  2. Be aware and alert. Have sufficient sensory awareness of yourself and others to know when you are moving towards or away from your outcome.
  3. Have sufficient flexibility to be able to keep changing your behaviour until you get your outcome.
  4. Take action now.

Basic Assumptions of the NLP Model

  • The map is not the territory; the menu is not the meal.
  • There is a positive intention motivating every behaviour
  • The resources an individual needs to effect a change are already within them
  • The meaning of the communication is the response you get
  • Successful communicators accept and utilise all communication/behaviour presented to them
  • There is no failure only feedback.
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