What Is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?


Many of you will have heard of Neuro Linguitsic Programming or NLP for short. However not many people actually KNOW what it is. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

NLP is defined as an attitude and methodology, that leaves a trail of techniques. But what does that really mean?

NLP was created in the 1970's by Drs Richard Bandler and John Grinder when they embarked on a journey to model three of the best therapists of their day: Virginia Satir (Family Therapist), Milton Erikson (Hypnotherapist), and Fritz Perlz (Psychiatrist & Gestalt Therapist). They set out to break down what it was they were doing to create deep lasting change with their clients, so the techniques and methods could be learned from and replicated.

The outcome became a field in and of itself known as NLP. At the heart of it, it is the psychology of excellence. An open framework of thinking, techniques and processes designed to take in what works and discard what doesn't, leaving you free to create what you want in life.

Keeping true to the core belief that having the behavioral flexibility to 'go wherever necessary' is what will lead to the greatest success, NLP has grown and shifted over the years to include work on Ecology, Physics, Values, Human Systems, and Neuroscience to name a few.

NLP is one of the most popular fields of study outside of University available today because it has applications that spread as wide as you can imagine. From personal development and change work, to business consulting, human resources, sports, education, therapy, coaching, and personal relationships; there is something for everyone in this exciting field!

The name breaks down as follows:

Neuro (Neurological)

This describes how we internalize the external world through our 5 senses and then begin the filtering process to form what we perceive in our minds:







Linguistic (Language)

This describes the way we use language including verbal and non verbal communication, to describe our internal experience. These representations encode the way we think and feel about things and result in our behavior in a given circumstance. They include:

  • Pictures/ Images

  • Sounds

  • Tastes

  • Smells

  • Feelings

  • Self Talk


This refers to the process of encoding the meaning of our experience within the brain, and the ability to code and re code these representations to generate a different outcome. Just like a computer has code within it causing it to run smoothly or not, we have the ability to change programs, run updates, and clear out harmful and un-resourceful content.


In a nutshell

Your brain isn’t much different from a computer. You scan for information in your experience which is relevant to your goals, past experience, beliefs, values, language and personality characteristics (meta programs). Then you use the inputs to make sense of your experience in order to generate the ‘appropriate’ behavior in a given circumstance.

You can change your experience by changing what you pay attention to, what that means to you, and how you use that information in a specific order and sequence to create your desired outcomes.

NLP changed my life and the lives of those I work with every day.

Thanks for reading!

James Segal


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