What Is NLP? A Guide To Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro Linguistic Programming, usually referred to as NLP, is a type of psychotherapy conditioning which fuses communication, behaviour and neurological processes to achieve the desired effect.

Despite sounding like a very modern therapy, NLP has been around for approximately 40 years after being founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the 1970s.

Since its introduction, NLP has expanded from therapy, into hypnotherapy and even into business and corporate workshops!

So exactly what is NLP and how is it used today?

The basics – how it works

NLP is a type of therapy which looks at the way the brain reacts (Neuro) and tries to influence its behaviour through the use of language (Linguistic) and other methods of communication, to make a permanent change in the response to stimuli (Programming).

NLP is based on several key premises. Firstly, the individual is not the same as their behaviour. Accepting the person does not mean accepting the behaviour, but instead provides the impetus to make the required changes.

Secondly, NLP practitioners believe that every patient already has the necessary skills they need to overcome the barriers they are struggling with, but simply need some direction to help unlock their potential. Challenges and setbacks are never seen as failures, just simply opportunities for feedback.

Thirdly, NLP sets a lot of importance on communication. This is seen as the key to the way in which external responses are formed and by improving communication, the world will respond better.

NLP is a solution-orientated type of therapy and is strongly focused on solving the problem rather than analysing how it arose or past events. Practitioners believe that everyone is in charge of their own minds.

Some techniques used in NLP overlap with hypnotherapy which is one reason why the two treatments work so well together. An NLP session may involve visualisation exercises, movements around the room as well as a sequence of relaxation commands. Different NLP practitioners use different techniques as there is a vast range currently endorsed for use. The sessions will also vary depending on the goal; phobia treatment will be tackled very differently than an individual trying to maximise their business success.

The benefits of using NLP

With so many therapies available, it can be difficult to pick the right way to achieve your goals. However, NLP provides many solutions, blending the results available from several other different types of treatment.

According to NLP practitioners, the therapy has the ability to access the subconscious mind, allowing deep level reprogramming. This in turn allows the patient to discover parts of their personality they had not previously been aware of, gain control of their emotions and become a far more effective communicator.

The opportunity to break existing limitations and become more eloquent and expressive obviously has benefits in both personal and professional capacities. As well as being able to communicate more clearly within a relationship, the treated patient will be able to evaluate situations more clearly and pinpoint decisions which need to be taken.

The removal of hurdles which previously acted as a deterrent, such as phobias and lack of confidence, is one of the major advantages that NLP offers.

NLP aims to remove internal conflicts, challenge negative and unhelpful thoughts as well as leading the individual on a journey of self discovery.

When is NLP used?

When NLP was originally unveiled, it was very much a therapy and designed to provide relief to individuals who were struggling with mental difficulties of various kinds.

However, modern day techniques mean NLP has a much wider range of uses.

NLP is still used as a therapy and is commonly used to treat anxiety and phobias, as well as a lack of confidence, low self esteem and changing habits. But it has also been shown to be effective in a wide range of other ways, including boosting creativity and motivation, improving social skills and assertiveness, time management, achieving goals as well as aiding learning. Because of its diverse ability to reach the corners of the mind, NLP is frequently used for those trying to be more successful in their job.


Like any therapy, NLP isn’t for everyone. Having a rapport with the practitioner is particularly important so if you don’t feel comfortable with the therapist, trying another practitioner could bring different results. If you are looking for a popular company, try booking on Edge NLP Courses. The length of treatment varies, with some types of problem treatable within just one session whilst more deep seated problems could need as many as 10 sessions to resolve properly.

Image Credits: premasagar and c3lus.

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