In this blog I thought I would talk a little about NLP. I am a qualified NLP practitioner and I often use NLP in treatment plans. NLP techniques can be used for all sorts of issues as they are very effective and can bring about long lasting change.
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. It was developed in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They studied the successful treatment processes of Virginia Satir (Family Therapy) and Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt Therapy). Later they were introduced to Milton Erickson and spent much time examining his unique approach to hypnotherapy.
If we look at the three words in NLP, Neuro refers to the way we think and the way thoughts are managed, Linguistic refers to the patterns of language used and Programming refers to the way we think, behave and communicate.
NLP is a tool that helps us understand the thinking patterns people have that dictate the way they behave, once we have that understanding their behaviour can be changed by remodelling the patterns. There are several elements in NLP that individually add their own specific process to the whole.
Examples of some of the NLP elements are reframing, rapport, anchoring and representational systems. NLP recognises that everyone has their own set of experiences and processes these experiences in their own way. This leads to every single person having their own unique view or map of the world. In the process of building their map people generalise, distort and delete the information they perceive. As people act according to their map of the world so their behaviour is dictated by it. It is by reframing their map their behaviour can be changed for the better.
Within NLP there are ‘Presuppositions’, these are general principles or ideas that are not strict rules or directives but are guiding statements. Some are easily understood and others are a little enigmatic but after they have been considered it becomes clear they are common sense. There are not a set number of presuppositions and different fields NLP have their own sets.
Examples of presuppositions are ‘The map is not the territory’, ‘The meaning of a communication is the response it gets’ and ‘You cannot not communicate’. Presuppositions are useful in that they embody a complex idea and you only need to think of a presupposition for it to remind you of that entire concept.
After the elements of NLP have been taken on board and practised they can become second nature or an unconscious skill.
Within NLP we see that people construct their own understating of the world around them. Although this world map is complete and real to the individual it does not actually represent the real world. Most of the time our maps work well for us and our behaviour patterns are positive. However sometimes we develop patterns that are unhelpful and limit our progress in life. This is when we can use techniques in NLP that will examine the patterns, how they came to be and reframe or re-programme them to bring a healthier set of behaviours.
Anchoring in NLP is where a state of mind is evoked either internally or externally by a specific trigger. This trigger could be a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. An example is where hearing a song will trigger a powerful memory with all the associated emotions, sights and sounds.
We are influenced by anchors as we carry out our day to day lives and some of them can be negative. They may diminish our self esteem, induce a fear of flying or lead us to eat for comfort. These anchors have been programmed without our knowledge and we don’t know they are there. The positive factor here is that anchors can be changed or reprogrammed intentionally. By changing what the anchor triggers we can produce a different state of mind and in turn the behaviour will change.