Neuro-Linguistic Programming. What is it and how does it work?

NLP ( Neuro-Linguistic Programming ) is a way of changing a person’s thoughts and behaviors to help achieve desired results. Neuro-linguistic programming has been widespread since its inception in the 1970s. These include treatments for phobias, anxiety disorders and to improve job performance or simply personal happiness.


To understand a little better, we must dig deeper. What is neuro linguistic programming?

NLP uses perception, communication and behavior techniques. This, to make it easier for people to change their thoughts and actions. It is based on language processing, but should not be confused with natural language processing.

Neuro Linguistic programming was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Who thought that it was possible to identify patterns of thought and behavior of successful people and thus teach others.

Although with a lack of evidence to support the theory, Grinder and Bandler published 2 books. The Structure of Magic I and II, and from there neuro linguistic programming took off. The popularity it gained was due in part to the versatility that NLP has in tackling different problems that people face on a day-to-day basis.


What is its operation?

There are different interpretations that NLP has and makes it difficult to define. It is based on the idea that people operate on “maps” that exist within and that are created through sensory experiences. NLP detects and modifies the prejudices and unconscious limitations of the person’s world map.


Many believe that NLP is hypnotherapy, but this idea is wrong. It works through the conscious use of language to cause changes in a person’s behavior and thoughts.

For example, a main characteristic of NLP is that a person predisposes himself to a sensory system, known as the Preferred Representation System or PRS. The therapist can detect this preference through language. Phrases like “I see your point” or “I hear your point” can indicate a visual or auditory PRS.

An NLP practitioner identifies a person’s PRS and bases his or her therapeutic framework around it. The Framework can involve relationships, information gathering, and goal setting.

NLP is a broad field of practice. As such, practitioners of this use many different techniques including the following:

  • Anchoring: Turning sensory experiences into triggers for certain emotional states.
  • Rappotattunes: The practitioner to the patient by matching their physical behaviors to improve communication and response through empathy.
  • Swish pattern: Changing patterns in thoughts or behaviors to reach the desired end result.
  • Visual-kinesthetic dissociation: Eliminate negative thoughts and feelings that are associated with a past event.

NLP is used as a method of personal development. This through new skills such as confidence, communication and self-reflection. Therapists apply NLP commercially to achieve work-oriented goals, that is, to improve work productivity.

It is also used to treat psychological disorders, such as depression, phobias, generalized anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders.


Does it work?

The truth is that ensuring the effectiveness of NLP is challenging for a number of reasons.

NLP has not been subject to the same standard of scientific rigor as other more established therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral.

The lack of formalization and commercial value of NLP means that claims of its effectiveness may be anecdotal or provided by an NLP provider. NLP providers have a financial stake in the success of NLP, so their evidence is difficult to use.

Scientific research on NLP has yielded mixed results. Some studies found benefits associated with NLP. For example, psychotherapy patients were found to have improved psychological symptoms and the quality of their lives after having had NLP therapy.

It was concluded that there was little evidence on the effectiveness of NLP in treating health-related problems, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and weight control.

Although there is not enough evidence to corroborate the effectiveness of the efficiency of NLP, a review that was published in 2015 found that NLP therapy does indeed have a positive impact on people with social or social problems. even psychological.

NLP has grown in popularity over time. And that’s because professionals have used it in many different fields and contexts. However, the ideas on which NLP is based, and the lack of a formal body to monitor its use, mean that the methods and quality of practice can vary considerably. In any case, there is still no clear and impartial evidence to support its effectiveness.

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