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What is NLP
Neuro Linguistic Programming was developed in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler, a Gestalt therapist and computer programmer, John Grinder, a linguistics professor, Judith DeLozier, and Leslie Cameron-Bandler. These four were encouraged by Gregory Bateson, a fellow professor at Santa Cruz University. They studied and utilised ideas from cybernetics, linguistics, communication theory and neurology to model the skills of:
* Virginia Satir (a founder of Family and Systemic Therapy)
* Fritz Perls (developer of Gestalt Therapy)
* Milton Erickson (founder of the American Society for Hypnosis
and an eminent psychiatrist and hypnotherapist).
From these three world-renowned therapists, they identified the specific, successful and repeatable behavioural patterns that they used to achieve the success, which they had with patients and clients. They were also able to replicate these patterns and teach them to others.
From this initial work they then produced two language models, the Meta Model (‘The Language Of Precision Communication’) and the Milton Model (‘The Language Of Influence’). They also produced a series of ‘change techniques’ (including ‘Change Personal History’, ‘The Swish’, and ‘Fast Phobia Relief’).
More importantly, they formalised the techniques and approaches that they had used in the modelling work itself. This set of models, techniques and processes has become known as Neuro Linguistic Programming.
The name NLP was chosen as it encompassed the three most important components of human experience - neurology, language, and programming (or patterning).
* Our neurology regulates how our bodies function and affects our internal sensations and emotions and also our external behaviours.
* Our language determines one of the main ways in which we interact with the world and communicate with other people.
* Our programming (or patterning) determines the kinds of ‘models of the world’ we create.
In essence, NLP explores the dynamics between mind and body (neuro), and language (linguistic), and how their interplay (programming) affects our behaviours.
The field of NLP developed out of the modelling of human thinking skills. Modelling is the process of taking a complex event or series of events and breaking it down into small enough ‘chunks’ so that it can be repeated in a manageable way. The most significant contribution of NLP is that it enables us to model human thinking skills, and to organise the results into step-by-step strategies or programmes, which can then be taught to others. These strategies can often be transferred into other contexts or content areas.
An example of this is 'motivation'. If we can find someone who motivates themselves very well then we can go to that person and find out how they motivate themselves and learn this strategy ourselves. It may also be that I can motivate myself when I am playing golf but not when it comes to completing my expenses at the end of the month. By modelling myself I could discover how I motivate myself in the golfing context and then transfer this skill to my expenses - if I want to!!
All of the models and techniques and processes of NLP are based on two fundamental premises:
The Map Is Not The Territory
As human beings we can never know reality because there is no absolute reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. As we grow and evolve, we develop ‘neuro-linguistic maps’ of reality and it is these maps, which determine how we perceive reality. It is from these perceptions that we act and interact in the world. Generally speaking, it is not reality, which limits or empowers us, but rather the maps which we have created.
Mind And Body Are One System
In the West we used to believe that mind and body were separate. We are now beginning to rediscover that this is not so. Our Minds and Bodies are inextricably linked and when we change our body - internally or externally - then this will affect the ways in which we think. Try being really ecstatic and happy with your shoulders and head down while breathing shallowly. Alternatively, if we change our thoughts then our bodies are affected. This is being explored most effectively in the field of health where we are discovering more and more that our negative or positive thoughts change our health.
People make the best choice they can at the time.
A person always makes the best choice they can, given their map of the world. The choice may be self-defeating, bizarre or evil, but for them, it seems the best way forward. Give them a better choice in their map of the world and they will take it. Even better give them a superior map with more choices in it.