What is NLP? Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the Study of Subjective Experience.

It seeks to answer questions that have a mostly “unconscious” structure, those often regarding beliefs, knowing, and doing.

One of the original intentions supporting the development of NLP was the ability to model behavior. If two people of equal physical and mental capacity both attempted to accomplish something, and one was more successful than the other, then what made the difference? Usually it was the unconscious competence of one individual to perform better than the other through state (emotional and mental) management.

Here is an example – think of something you are able to do effortlessly. I?m going to oversimplify here just to make a point, and you may begin to perceive how you react and make decisions under a different light after reading this:

NLP Modelling Answers Questions Like “How Do You Know How to Turn On a Light?”

Some people may begin to sort for the reasons why the light might need to be turned on in the first place; others may think about the physical process of flipping a switch; and, I have no idea what is going through your mind right now, but I could guess that it has a structure. It could be a series of images – perhaps something like a mental movie, a scenario in which you find yourself in a dark room, perhaps. There might even be self talk like I can?t see or Where is the switch? And, some people might even have a feeling that prompts them to find more light.

NLP Sequences Reveal Behavioral Steps

In this jumbled list of possibilities there is likely a sequence such as a point of realization that more light is needed or desired, and then a process followed in order to obtain more light. Keep in mind that most of this is happening in milliseconds and usually outside of a person?s conscious awareness. In fact, this process could be referred to as a strategy that follows a particular sequence and could even be transcribed in such a way as this:

Ve > Ad > K- > K

This sequence could represent an individual?s process for turning on a light.

  • Ve stands for visual external and the realization that there is insufficient light in a room.
  • Ad represents the individual’s internal self talk (e.g., It?s really dark in here.”).
  • K- designates a negative kinesthetic feeling which might be described as discomfort or annoyance being in a dark room.
  • K is the final kinesthetic step representing movement as the individual turns on the lights (positive kinesthetic response).

Now, this sequence represents just one of thousands if not millions of strategies employed by humans in every experience in life. There is a lot happening outside of conscious awareness.

Who Created Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

The co-founders of neuro-linguistic programming, Bandler and Grinder, developed a model of models for communication, or as defined by NLP developers and trainers, L. Michael Hall and Bob Bodenhamer, the NLP model arose originally as an experiment in modeling examples of human excellence.

Bandler and Grinder initially began by observing therapists Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir and from their studies creating what they called the meta-model – a model for gathering information and understanding the subjective nature of thinking. Additional developments in NLP were discovered by deconstructing the hypnosis techniques used by Dr. Milton Erickson, utilizing the transformational grammar patterns developed by the linguist Noam Chomsky, and adapting further ideas about modeling human behavior and meaning-making from the work of Gregory Bateson and Alfred Korzybski.

At this time, literally thousands of pages have been written describing NLP and its various models and techniques. Various other personalities such as Anthony Robbins, Robert Dilts, and Steve Andreas have risen to fame because of NLP. But, perhaps most importantly, NLP is a model for change. When applied by the individual or a competent NLP practitioner, mental strategies, language patterns, physiology, mindset, emotional states, beliefs, and values all shift to become congruent with the desired state and final outcome. NLP utilizes a pattern interrupt to literally change the structure of neural pathways in the brain – essentially rewiring the learned behavior of the individual.

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