What is N.L.P.?
NLP--the set of tools titled Neuro-Linguistic Programming--is misunderstood far more often that it is understood. There is nothing new in NLP. There is no magic. It will not revolutionize your life whole-sum in one fowl swoop, contrary to the marketing of some. However, it can produce amazing rapid results in a specific context ...
So what is it?
The co-founder of NLP, John Grinder, says that it is simply a learning tool. Nothing more than a set if filters and tools to give you access to more of your neurology for the purpose of accelerated learning.
Gregory Bateson, the world famous behavioral scientist, said that NLP is the only class 3 learning tool on the planet.
What does that mean?
With NLP you learn how to learn. So then, why is NLP used the way it is used in the world most often—for brief and result-oriented therapy? This is a good question and certainly worth addressing. In the beginning, in the early 70s, there were therapists producing amazing results. They were Virginia Satir, the founder and pioneer of Family Therapy; Fritz Pearls, the pioneer and founder of Gestalt Therapy; Milton Erickson, the grandfather of medical hypnotherapy.
Additionally, there was the genius of Gregory Bateson--the world-renowned behavioral scientist. Given the results they were producing, the founders of this class of tools called NLP wanted to find out what patterns these geniuses were employing (at the meta level) that could be modeled, distilled, and reproduced.
So, with their permission, they were studied by the co-founders of NLP along with the supporting staff. Who were these people that modeled the original patterns of these therapeutic geniuses? John Grinder and Richard Bandler assisted by Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Todd Epstein, and Leslie Cameron-Bandler. If you’ve a scientific or skeptical mind, read anything by Robert Dilts on NLP. He will make you a believer. It could be argued that this original modeling is just one possible application of NLP.
That argument would be stunningly accurate. NLP is simply a class of tools. It allows you to distill out the structure, process, and context of any given experience. Because of this, I call NLP “the study of the structure of human subjective experience”.
Given that emotions are seemingly the biggest challenge facing human beings, then it could also be argued that investing so much time in studying the patterns of genius that have therapists get results was one of the most generous applications possible for this new-found tool. I would agree with that argument.
That was 30 years ago. Since then, NLP has come a long way thanks to the practitioners of this tool. They have modeled out many processes that the human being goes through naturally for the purpose of accelerated movement through said process.
For example—how does someone naturally resolve a traumatic experience and come out of it with an outlook of positivity and even gratitude? This has been modeled. How does someone align themselves on multiple, holarchical levels of their experience—environment, behaviors, capabilities, beliefs/values, identity, and Spirit? This has been modeled. How does a human being take a part of themselves that they previously disliked and through greater understanding and negotiation, use it as a gateway to core states of being and connectedness? This has been modeled. How does a human being take some parental experience that was traumatic for them and move to a place of resource, gratitude, and compassion? This has been modeled. What is intuition, the most useful of all trans-rational experiences? This has been modeled.
The world owes NLP a debt of gratitude. This may not even be acknowledged for another generation and that is just fine... NLP, as a field, does not care for dissertations or academia. This is largely why it is not accepted in the academic world. NLP, as a field, does not focus on whether or not something is true. “Truth” in this context has no meaning. What matters is whether or not something is useful. In that sense, NLP, as a field, is highly scientific.
However, scientific in the broad sense, not the narrow sense. By scientific in the broad sense, I mean this: experiment, get some result, and offer up your findings to a group of your peers for rigorous testing. In this sense, NLP is deeply and rigorously scientific.
Scientific in the broad sense. Not the narrow sense.
What is NLP? A set of tools to distill out models of excellence. Human models of excellence. Nothing more, but assuredly nothing less.
What is N.L.P.? a summary by Mark Michael Lewis NLP is sourced in the realization that that all human emotion is a function of how a person re-presents (represents, thinks about) any aspect of their experience. If you shift/change/alter how someone re-presents any aspect of their experience, you will shift/change/alter how they understand that aspect, what they feel about it, how they relate to it, and who they *be* around it. In more technical terms, a "top 10" might be:
1. The map is not the territory, the menu is not the meal - human beings make maps of their experience, they re-present their experience to themselves in the five senses/modalities.
2. How we understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around any aspect of our experience is determined by the map we make about that experience (our "occurring" world), not the experience itself.
3. You can change/alter/manipulate the maps (representations, how the world occurs) directly, by altering one or more of the five senses in the “map”.
4. When you change the map, you will change how people understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around that aspect of their experience
5. People work perfectly, they are not broken. They are getting exactly the results that they are getting. They can learn to get different results.
6. People already have all the resources they need and anything one human being can do/be/have/know/relate another human being can learn to do/be/have/know/relate.
7. People always make the best choice they experience as available to them.
8. Every human behavior is driven/caused/sourced by a positive intention, every aspect of human experience is to be respected/honored/integrated .
9. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly AT FIRST.
10. Choice is better than no choice, the element in any system which has the most flexibility will control that system - NLP is about adding choices, not subtracting them. In plain language, NLP provides tools with which to resolve virtually any human emotional issue.
NLP is 1) a set of filters through which to process our experience such that we have more power to achieve our values, and 2) a collection of hundreds of patterns/techniques/”interior rituals” that are specially designed to powerfully and permanently alter how someone represents (feels/BEs about) virtually every/any aspect of their life.
Since human behavior (how we do/be/have/know/relate to our “world) is driven by our emotions 99 percent of the time, the more choice we have around how we “feel,” the more powerfully and elegantly we can create and move through our lives. It is the most powerful form of fix/change/improve technology I have ever encountered. If transformation is all about shifting who we are/BE/relate to our world, NLP is all about shifting how that world automatically occurs for us through time. It is designed to alter not the "fact" of our Already Always Listening (AAL), but the standards by which our AAL automatically judges and assesses our experience.
It is a tool for resolving our past (rather than getting off of it) and tapping into the juice/value of any/every experience we have. If transformation gives us the freedom to "be with" our occurring world, NLP gives us tools to shift the unconscious processes by which that world “occurs.”
But really, what NLP is, is the study of the structure of subjective experience, and by extension, the study of human excellence.
Nothing more. And assuredly nothing less.
Jason D McClain © 2003