What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming
NLP is a systemic way of working. This means we see people as a system of interactions (e.g. physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and also see the system within a system within a system (e.g. a man within a family, living in a village, living in England and so on). NLP arose from studying the structure of an individuals’ everyday experience in detail, particularly focusing on people who were considered exceptional in their field. From this NLP developed
* a set of presuppositions (guiding principles and attitudes),
* a methodology for modelling (what to observe and how to “frame” that)
* a system of coding (the how to – a detailed description)
* a series of models (different ways of understanding) and
* a trail of techniques (things to do).
An NLP therapist will encourage us to interact trustingly with our unconscious, and help us learn how to do that using movements, sensations, sounds, language and visualisations. The words we use will be taken seriously and literally. By paying close attention to language, and sharing an understanding of the deeper implications of using certain words, phrases, and tenses, the therapist will help us to explore and experience different ways of thinking, and to consider alternative meanings behind our hopes, behaviours and experiences. When coming for help we will probably have explored most of the conscious solutions (those we are aware of). The NLP process is designed to help us become more aware and use all the possibilities which are within us, including the unconscious ones, which have been out of our awareness, lying dormant and unknown.
Where Did NLP Start
Richard Bandler and John Grinder, two Americans at the University of Santa Cruz (Richard a student of Mathematics, and John a Professor of Linguistics) became fascinated by the question “what is the difference that makes the difference between everyday competence and excellence”. They decided to do an in depth study of Fritz Perls (the founder of Gestalt therapy), Virginia Satir (a founder of Family Therapy and Systemic Therapy) and Milton Erickson (founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis). They looked at their patterns of language and behaviour – what these people actually said and did when doing their work, as opposed to what they said they were doing – what we would call their “map of the world”. The modellers discovered that their maps were very impoverished versions of their actual practise, and discovered a rich variety of extra unconscious (out of awareness) attitudes and skills. Thus the field of NLP was born, in Santa Cruz USA in the early 1970’s. They were soon joined by a group of other people, and incorporated relevant skills, information and models from the fields of systems theory, anthropology, behavioural psychology, and linguistics.