Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is a type of self-help therapy that developed during the early 70s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. The aim of the program is to help people achieve their goals in life. NLP is not a single technique. Instead, it uses a variety of different techniques rolled into a single method. It is suggested that NLP may be of value to those individuals who are trying to overcome an addiction. NLP became hugely popular during the 1980s, and there are many firm advocates for the program today.
Neuro linguistic programming is focused on the interplay of three components:
* Neurology. This is the way the body and mind is controlled by the neurological system
* Language. This is how people communicate with each other.
* Programming. This refers to the type of models that people rely on to create their world.
NLP is also focused on three patterns of behavior:
* Physical behavior
* Linguistic behavior
* Cognitive behavior
The aim of neuro linguistic programming is to provide people with an instruction manual for their brain. These instructions have been developed by studying the way people think and experience their life. The developers of NLP realize that they are dealing with subjective material so the focus has been on developing models for how things work. It is acknowledged that these models may not be 100% accurate. The important thing is that they can be used for helping people to change their negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. The basis of NLP is that everyone has all the resources they need to build a good life. All they have to do is make use of these resources.
Many of the techniques of NLP were developed by examining people who would be considered successful. For example, to better understand what is needed to become a successful entrepreneur, the proponents of NLP studied the inner mental processes of such people, examining their beliefs, thoughts and the way they make decisions. Once it is understood what makes these people who they are, then the reasoning of NLP is that it should be possible to replicate. This replication is referred to as modeling in NLP.
NLP provides many techniques that people can use to their own benefit. Some of the most effective follow:
* The Meta model is a way of challenging the inner map of the individual. This is accomplished by asking specific questions to illicit the right response. Each individual is seen as having their own internal map, and this allows them to interact with the world. The map is only a guide that people depend on, and may not represent reality. If such maps are faulty, this can make life difficult. People can learn to alter their internal maps, which will improve their communications and behavior.
* The Milton Model is a type of hypnotherapy that is used to make use of the hidden resources in the mind. These resources can then be put to beneficial uses.
* The standard Model involves adopting the behaviors and mental thought processes of successful people.
* The Representational Systems Model focuses on the senses that people use to understand the world, including audio, visual, sensory and internal feelings. The aim is to have more control over the representational system, with many aspects of it occurring in the unconscious.
These are some of the proposed benefits of NLP:
* Increased self-esteem and confidence
* A better understanding of self.
* A better understanding of others
* Can be used to influence others
* Improved communication
* May help overcome phobias
* May be of help to those battling an addiction
* Emulating successful people and matching their achievements
* Can be used as therapy
* Encourages creativity and removes blocks
* Allows people to break away from old habits
Some people confuse NLP with hypnotism, but the two of these are actually quite different. Hypnotism is form of focused attention where people are more susceptible to ideas and suggestions. Rather than being interested in certain mental states, the goal of NLP is to study those parts of human communication that influences the way people think or behave. The Milton Method is a type of NLP that does use hypnotherapy.
NLP advocates points out that most people quit their addiction without any help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. It is claimed that the reason they were able to do this was because their thinking had changed. Therefore, proponents of NLP argue that the best way to treat an addiction is to change the way the people think. This can be done through motivational interviewing. The aim is not to try to scare people into quitting their addiction, but in teaching them how to develop the motivation to quit. This type of therapy can be provided by an NLP practitioner in a one-to-one session or even by using an iPhone app.
There are many passionate advocates of NLP, but there is also no shortage of critics for of this program. The most common criticisms include.
* There is not enough scientific evidence to support the claims of NLP. Some proponents of NLP would argue that it may not be possible to scientifically measure the effectiveness of their techniques. The more important thing as that they do seem to be beneficial for some people.
* Much of the scientific evidence used to bolster the claims of NLP is not rigorous enough.
* NLP research has been pseudo-scientific, which means that it uses scientific terminology even though it does not use a valid scientific methodology.
* It has been suggested that NLP works like a cult. The real aim of the program is to get people to believe in the program.