Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to psychotherapy, personal development and communication created in the 1970s. It claims a connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), language (“linguistic”) and behavioural patterns learned through experience (“programming”) and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. NLP can be used to treat problems such as phobias, habit disorders or OCD, psychosomatic disorder and many other conditions. The Science Digest described NLP as “the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communication to emerge since the sixties“
So how does NLP work?
We experience the world around us subjectively, in other words we we create subjective representations of our experience. These subjective representations of our experience are constituted in terms of our five senses and our use of language. So our subjective conscious experience is made up of vision, hearing, feeling, smell and taste. So when we rehearse an activity in our mind, recall an event or anticipate the future we will “see” images, “hear” sounds, “taste” flavours, “feel” sensations, “smell” odours and think in language.
As a therapist I help you make the changes you wish to by working with how you process and make sense of the world using your subjective experience. In other words your behaviour can be modified by changing these sense-based subjective representations.
NlP is often a very quick form of therapy. It is particularly useful for helping with things like examination nerves and enhancing sporting performance. It does of course have a far wider use and application than briefly described here.