NLP is the combination of a number of models of the structure of human subjective experience and then techniques based on those models. NLP is a way of exploring ‘how’ people think, identifying success and then applying these successful actions or beliefs in ways which work. NLP is heavily pragmatic: if a tool works, it’s included (even if there’s no current theory to back it up). As long as the models do actually work then NLP developers are generally not concerned to “prove” why. Our approach is “pretend it works, try it, and notice the results you get. If you don’t get the result you want, try something else.” Simple as ABC.
The NLP Approach
Richard Bandler, co-creator of neuro-linguistic programming describes NLP as an attitude of curiosity and wanton experimentation and NLP behavioural frames are the basis of the NLP attitude.
The first frame is an orientation towards outcomes rather than problems. Problem frames focus on what is wrong and why it is wrong. Outcome frames focus on the desired result or outcome wanted and how best can this be achieved.
The second frame is possibilities instead of necessities. With this shift of focus, you believe that anything is possible and nothing is necessary. This opens up a wide scope for investigation and growth. Believing something is necessary or impossible, removes our creative thinking and freedom.
The third frame adopts the attitude of curiosity and fascination in place of making assumptions and clinging to facts. Albert Einstein disregarded what was ‘fact’, ‘definite’ or ‘possible’ and entertained the idea of what if……? And in so doing, changed the scientific world and reframed reality.
Cause and Effect (from an NLP Trainer point of view)
In NLP we are interested in being ‘at cause’, and to gain maximum leverage, a person takes responsibility for what happens in their universe. Many people live their lives at effect, things happen TO them. On which side of the cause-and-effect equation would you place yourself? Are you the cause in your life, or are you the effect of things in your life?
Maps of the World (Perception is Projection)
In NLP a person’s map of the world (or model of the world) is the collection of their beliefs and values, perceptual filters, desires and expectations, experiences and learnings. Each person has a unique combination of the above. As human beings, our behaviour is governed by how we perceive, believe, and think about ourselves and the world.
These are the practical tools which, when you learn nlp on a nlp course are the things which can make a difference to how you operate in the world. It is important to remember that nlp is about an attitude and way of being in the world which is much more than a set of techniques taught on some nlp courses and that nlp certification is a measure of a person’s attitude and behavioural integration of the skills as well as being able to do techniques.
Sensory acuity and physiology
Thinking and internal processing are closely related to physiology. People’s thought processes change their physiological state. Sufficient sensory acuity will helps us fine-tune our communication by recognising every response a person has.
Rapport is characterised by a state of responsiveness, the engagement and holding of unconscious, willing attention. When individual people or animals, or groups synchronize their behaviour, whether deliberately or unconsciously, they are said to be in rapport. Rapport can be established either by design, in which case one person matches another’s behaviour, or it can arise spontaneously in response to a person’s interest in the other.
Different people seem to prefer different sensory modalities – sight, sound, feeling/touch, taste and smell. Their language and behaviour reveals their representation. Often, communication difficulties are little more than two people speaking in incompatible representation systems.
Eye accessing cues
When people access different representational systems, their eyes move in certain ways. Calibration to the person is essential in order to tell the difference between an “accessing cue” and a non-accessing movement. We use accessing cues to help discover how a person is representing the world and their strategy for how they do what they do.
The structure of internal representations determines our response to the content. Submodalities are how we code our experiences, they are the qualities of the representations. For example, if you make a picture of someone you really like. Is it in colour or black and white? Is it bright or dull? Is the picture big or small? Are you seeing it through your own eyes (as if you are there) or seeing yourself in it? The combination of sub-modalities affects our feelings about the content and changing the submodalities allows us to change how we feel.
A set of linguistic patterns for uncovering the “deep structure” (or hidden meanings) that contained within someone’s “surface structure” sentences. This was the first model created in NLP and is a powerful nlp coaching tool for helping people work remove limitations and restore choice.
This is a set of language patterns Milton Erickson used naturally is his therapeutic work. It enables you to be artfully vague and persuade at an unconscious level and is ideal for conversational change, speeches and to induce trance states in people. This is often one of the biggest leaps for people during an nlp training as they discover a whole new understanding of how language can be used.
These are goals, objectives or targets which have been refined so that they fulfill several criteria. When our wants, dreams or wishes are refined using this process they become more believable and realisable. This is why they are then described as being `well-formed’ outcomes – they have fulfilled certain ‘well-formed-ness conditions’. Using the well-formed outcomes questions for goal setting creates a detailed internal representation in your mind – an important step in creating a belief in your objective. The process ensures you focus on what you DO want rather than on what you do NOT want. Your attention is on what to do and how to do it rather than on problems, excuses, alibis, and explanations.
These are aspects about how people process information and make decisions. For example, some people are motivated towards goals, while others are motivated away from non-goals. Towards or away-from tells how they respond to their world; which one a person prefers in a given context will dramatically change how they behave.
Any sequence of representations that leads to an outcome. The sequence and organization of representations (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) which together produce an outcomes. e.g. how a person makes a decision. An effective strategy includes a representation of an outcome, employs feedback from the environment, and takes the minimum number of steps to achieve the particular outcome of the strategy.
Strategies are useful because we can discover how someone does something, this might be so we can learn to do it ourselves, because they want to change it (e.g. when a person has a problem) or, for example, to know how someone makes a decision (often taught in nlp sales training). Strategies are taught on an nlp practitioner training and are extended on an nlp master practitioner training to include a more thorough modelling project, for example, modelling peak performance and discovering how someone does something.
A point of view taken by an individual at a given time. Usually people consider 3 perceptual positions. First Position is being in your own body, feeling your own feelings and experiencing the world through your own eyes, Second Position is being another, experiencing the world as they would through their filters and Third Position is being separate from these two, observing that situation from outside, usually equidistant from First and Second. Other observer positions are known as Meta Positions, and can be anywhere, close or distant with a sight line to that which is being observed.
A system for organising information into classes and sub-classes. eg. Apples are a member of the class fruit which belongs to the class things that grow on the earth. The group ‘Things that grow on the earth’ is at a higher logical level than fruit which is a higher logical level than apple. An example of the same logical level as apple is pear, and a specific (lower logical level) example of apple is Granny Smith. Logical levels are useful for categorising and remembering information.
Given the concept of seven plus or minus two chunks of information, one has a choice in this example of holding in conscious attention seven kinds of apples, seven kinds of fruit, seven kinds of things that grow on earth etc, according to the chunk size adopted. Being able to shift between different logical levels and more from specific information to abstraction forms the basis of negotiating skills.
Specific nlp techniques
The techniques and nlp processes below are things you could expect to learn on an NLP Practitioner training course. They can all be used to work with others and help someone or for self improvement. People like Paul McKenna and Anthony Robbins (who developed his own version of nlp called neuro associative conditioning) have made nlp products and demonstrate these techniques in front of large audiences (which can be very powerful but doesn’t always make them easy to learn). The best way is usually to take a training in a smaller group of people where you are guaranteed personal attention to help you master each process.
Phobia Model – used to break the automatic association of a phobia or an intense reponse and disrupt the neural pattern so a person can respond in a new way to a stimulus that used to automatically create a phobic response.e.g. stage fright, fear of spiders.
Swish, To create behavioural changes going from a present undesirable behaviour to a future, desired identity that no longer runs the old behaviour, might be used to stop nail biting or to help someone quit smoking.
Anchoring – used for helping someone access a state and feelings helpful for a particular situation or to release unwanted feelings in a particular context e.g. anchoring self confidence for public speaking or anchoring relaxation and calm for stress management and even with something like adhd.
6-step reframe – One of the early nlp processes developed to change an unwanted habit, symptom or behaviour by harnessing the power of the unconscious mind. It might be used to help someone quit smoking or for certain unwanted responses like blushing or stuttering.
Belief Change – an nlp process for changing what a person believes e.g. about themselves or what is possible for them. This is different to positive thinking, a belief is a filter which affects how we interpret and make meaning of our experiences. When we change a belief that has been limiting a whole new set of possibilities open up.
Time Line Therapy – a technique developed by Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall although now trademarked by Tad James for clearing unwanted emotions, beliefs and states from the past. As the name suggests this is nlp therapy and is a powerful and fast way to help people.
Parts Integration – this is to Integrate two parts when a person describes an internal parts conflict e.g. I want a promotion (more work) and I want to spend more time with my family. It is a very powerful nlp process that can also help with making decisions