Friday 26 January 2007

Theories & Models - Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro Lingusitic Programming (or NLP) was developed in California in the mid 1970's by John Grinder & Richard Bandler. NLP is a systematic study of human communication, which analyses the relationships between thinking (neuro), language (lingusitic) and achievement, and then models best practice (programming) to make it available to others as a conduit for change. The underlying assumption is that there are defined patterns - or meta programmes - hardwired into the brain, which act as filters or channels for information. These influence and determine our individual perceptions, motivation, behavioural responses etc. Essentially, NLP is an approach centred on recognising, applying, developing and reproducing effective behaviours, thought processes and ways of communicating that contribute to success.

NLP is generally considered to have four main aspects:

1 An Attitude of Curiousity - how do people do what they do? How is it somedays we are better than others? Why is this, and how can we replicate 'best behaviour' regularly.

2 A Methodology of Modelling - exploring ideas and actions to establish how they operate. Using this information derived from effective habits of highly functioning individuals, models of best practice are devised.

3 A Vision - having access to the best possible methods

4 A Set of Tools - NLP has a basic set of tools which, when implemented, develop further approaches

Our meta programmes - of which there is accepted to be approx 120 'stabilised' sorting patterns - can be identified to some degree by our use of language. Basically, people are motivated in two directions, i.e. towards pleasure or away from pain. 'Those in Towards Pleasure' mode use positive phrasing and action words (such as gain, achieve, accomplish) and often fail to account for potential problems when considering goals or directions to set themselves. Those in 'Away from Pain' mode are opposite, often using negative phrases (prevent, avoid, unable) and are likely to point first to likely difficulties in any proposed plan. Their glass is generally half-empty, rather than half full, to use a common analogy.

The NLP approach is used extensively in Coaching, and by Sports Psychologists. It is also used effectively by populist exponents such as Paul McKenna, in their clinical psychotherapy work with clients, assisting them to stop smoking or lose weight.

More comprehensive information is available from books and websites, such as: and for example.

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