Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) provides a range of methods for understanding how people think and behave and offers approaches which can bring about fast, positive change.
What can NLP treat?
Because NLP is generative as well as remedial, work with a NLP psychotherapist or counsellor can move on from dealing with past limitations to future performance in order to achieve personal and professional goals. NLP has been effective in dealing with many health issues including:
- panic attacks
- addiction such as smoking
- couple therapy
- post traumatic stress disorder
- family therapy
- support for those suffering from cancer and HIV
Combining cognitive behavioural techniques with ideas from humanistic psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, NLP was first defined by mathematician Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder during the Seventies. They wanted to know what made the difference between someone who is merely competent and someone who excels at the same skill. They first studied Fritz Perls (Gestalt therapy), Virginia Satir (family therapy) and Milton Erickson (brief therapy), three outstanding therapists and communicators. Bandler and Grinder observed their physiology, mental processes, how they related to and communicated with their clients and identified patterns which could then be coded and taught. Learning the specific components of how others do something well can provide us with new options and accelerate learning.
Language and communication is at the heart of NLP. Language affects how we think and respond. The very process of converting experience into language requires that we condense, distort and summarise the way we perceive the world. At the same time, a large proportion of our communication is other than words and what we intend to convey may not be the same as what the listener understands. Drawing on linguistics, general semantics, systems thinking and more, NLP provides practical tools for becoming more skilled as communicators.
NLP is also about the study of internal experiences: how our thoughts, actions and feelings work together to make sense of the world. It does not, however, produce formulae for body language or even eye movements without understanding the individual but takes into account each person’s unique way of responding to the world.
Its name encompasses its models: ‘Neuro’ relates to the brain and the nervous system and how we create our perception of the world; ‘linguistic’ to language and communication; and ‘programming’ emphasises our ability to change. It provides questions and patterns to make communication more as we intend and can teach us to understand how language affects us through implicit and embedded assumptions. Once we understand how our brains work, it becomes easier to make changes and to learn and communicate effectively.
Consultation and treatment
The NLP psychotherapist and counsellor seeks to help the client identify the desired state and achieve using his or her own internal resources. This can involve changing limiting beliefs, acquiring new ones and/or gaining insight into patterns of behaviour.
While the client’s personal history is relevant to his or her present state, the emphasis is on how he or she constructs that state from past and present experiences rather than on why.
During the initial consultation, the practitioner will find out what you want to achieve through NLP and will help you discover exactly how you have learnt to see, hear and feel in relation to your specific issue so that you can take control of your actions.
The number of sessions required depends on the nature and severity of the problem but NLP can be brief compared with some other types of psychotherapy.
Costs start from £30 for an hour but can vary widely.
There are well over 300 books and audiotapes available on the NLP approach. Video tapes can also be hired from The Anglo American Book Company
FREEPOST SS 1340,
Carmarthen SA33 4ZZ,
tel: 01267 211 880, fax: 01267 211 882,
Practice groups meet through the country. Many are suitable for complete beginners. Contact the Association for Neuro-Linguistic Programming Office for an up-to-date list.
How to find a practitioner
The Association for Neuro-linguistic Programming (ANLP) is the only independent body in the UK for NLP and is a registered educational charity, a member of United Kingdom Council for Counselling and Psychotherapy and British Association for Counselling. Send four first class stamps and a request for the ANLP PCS Public Information Booklet. This includes a list of therapists and counsellors.
Associate Membership is open to those committed to the ethical use of NLP and the Association’s principles. Full Membership is open to those who have completed Approved Practitioner Training.