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NLP 101 - What is It?

NLP concept image

What’s it all about?

Have you ever heard of NLP and wondered what it is?

Is it just some kind of mumbo jumbo alphabet soup pop psychology or is there something to it that makes it appealing and worth trying? Well, first off, NLP stands for Neuro-linguistic Programming.

It has not been around a long time like Psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral therapy, but it has been around for over 40 years which makes it somewhat credible.

In fact, it was developed in the 1970’s in of all places California by John Grinder and Richard Bandler to try to understand the learning patterns established through language patterns, behavioral experiences and one’s neurological processes.

To truly understand NLP, you have to understand it in terms of its individual parts put together to create the performance for what it is intended to do.

Firstly, neurology or the neurological system refers to the ability of the brain to control the body. Moreover, neurological functioning in terms of NLP focuses on the ability of the mind to affect or control the functions of changes and activities in the body. When you hear the term, “mind over matter“, this is basically what this component refers too.

The second characteristic of NLP is the language component – how do you communicate with others on a daily basis, as well as processing the communicative information for yourself? You see, people communicate two ways, both verbal and non-verbally. Verbal communication refers to speaking and listening, while non-verbal communication refers to reading body language and the context through which words are spoken. Interestingly, most of the communication one engages in is non-verbal.

The third component of NLP is programming – how do you perceive the world that you live in and how do you act on it? Within this aspect of NLP, people engage in certain behaviors, habits and even addictions because they have programmed themselves to act and react the same way over a period of time through repetition. They do things if you will on “automatic overdrive” – engaging in tasks without putting too much thought into it.

The purpose of NLP is to understand the mental aspect of behaviors through better understanding one’s thinking patterns (how and why they think the way they do). Thinking and perceptions are one’s cognition’s (thoughts) and the goal of NLP is to change irrational or destructive thinking, while modifying and enhancing positive and productive cognitions.

NLP is strongly based on self-discovery and self-efficacy for individuals.

When NLP is used effectively, people learn the rationale for why they think and behave the way they do, while at the same time understanding that they possess the freedom and responsibility to assume and take hold of the power to be what they want to think, feel and become. It is very much like psychology (cognitive behavioral therapy to be exact) in that one assumes responsibility for what they think and feel.

NLP however goes a little deeper and adds a “spiritual component.”

This spiritual component asserts that there is more to people than just mind and bodies that connects them to other people, the world, the universe and the divine. The spirit is the core of the person and the goal of NLP is to awaken the individual’s true spirit and make it become alive that it follows its true passion!

Read Part II of series NLP – The Map is Not the Reality here.

Read Part III of series How Life and the Mind are Systemic Processes here.

Read Part IV of series NLP – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly here.

Dr Peter
Staff Editor
Free At Last Hypnosis