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What is NLP?

Neuro Linguistic Programming

NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, encompasses the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language and programming. The neurological system regulates how our bodies function, language determines how we interface and communicate with other people and our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the dynamics between mind (neuro), language (linguistic) and how their interplay effects our body and behavior (programming).

NLP addresses the many levels involved in being human. It is a process that develops behaviors of competence and flexibility, strategic thinking and an understanding of the mental and cognitive processes behind behaviour. NLP provides tools for the development of states of individual excellence. It also establishes a system of empowering beliefs and presuppositions about what human beings are, what communication is and what the process of change is all about.

The combination of NLP and EFT offers a very powerful process for change and development. The reframing of limiting beliefs and behaviours together with energetic clearing facilitates a momentum of healing and/ or change that bypasses conscious awareness, offering insights and clarity that create irreversible shifts in perspective.

In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions:

  • The Map is Not the Territory. As human beings, we can never know reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us primarily through our senses. It is our 'neuro-linguistic' maps of reality that determine how we behave and how we create meaning, not reality itself. It is usually not reality that limits us or empowers us, but rather our map of reality.
  • Life and 'Mind' are Systemic Processes. The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, societies, and our universe form an ecology of complex systems and sub-systems all of which interact with and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest of the system. Such systems are based on certain 'self-organising' principles and naturally seek optimal states of balance or homeostasis.

All of the models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of these two principles. In the belief system of NLP it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. Wisdom, ethics and ecology do not come from having the one 'correct' map of the world, because human beings would not be capable of making one. Rather, the goal is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves and the world we live in. 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. Excellence comes from having many choices. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.

NLP was originated by John Grinder (whose had a background in linguistics) and Richard Bandler (whose background was in mathematics and gestalt therapy). Their studies of the work of Fritz Perls (the creator of gestalt therapy) and Virginia Satir (internationally renowned family therapist) had enormous influence on their work. Their work was similarly influenced by studies of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Erickson is widely acknowledged as the most clinically successful psychiatrists of our times. As a result of this foundational work, Grinder and Bandler formalised their modeling techniques and their own contributions under the name "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" - the relationship between the brain, language and the body.

Through the years, NLP has developed some very powerful tools and skills for communication and change. It is wisely used in the areas of counseling, psychotherapy, education, health, management, sales, and parenting.