NLP is… A model of how we process info that comes information us from the world around us. NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It is rumoured that NLP got this name because Richard Bandler was stopped by a cop for some possible infraction and was asked what he was studying. The three books in his front seat were Neurobiology, Linguistics and Computer Programming. On the spot his brain came up with this name.
“Neuro” stands for the organs and pathways of the human nervous system. It is through the mental pathways of our five senses we create and process our experience: Visual Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory.
“Linguistic” indicates that neural systems processes are represented, ordered and sequenced into models an strategies through language and communications systems. It refers to our ability to use language and how specific words and phrases mirror our mental words. It also refers to the non-verbal communication systems of postures, gestures, and habits that reveal our thinking styles, beliefs and more. It is through these systems our neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning. These include: pictures, sounds, feelings, smells, tastes, words.
“Programming” refers to the process of organizing components of a system (sensory representations in this case) to achieve specific outcomes. The word “programming” borrowed from computer science. It suggests that our thoughts, feelings and actions are simply habitual programs that can be changed by upgrading our software. This instruction set controls what content moves through which pathways, and in what order, to create our human experience. As humans, we use neuro-linguistic programs to create and maintain our experience. If we want a different experience of something, we have to load and use a different set of patterns (neuro-linguistic programs – that will create this desired experience.). How we code our experience is how we mentally represent our experience. Our personal programming consists of your internal processes and strategies (thinking patterns) that we use to make decisions, solve problems, learn, evaluate, and get results. NLP shows us how to reconcile our experiences and organize our internal programming so we can get the outcome we want.
Many philosophers and scientists have suggested that our worlds consist of our representations of reality. Up until the point of the development of NLP the only way to deal with this illusion of reality was to meditate for years until you are enlightened and you can dissolve the illusion. Which really doesn’t work for the rest of us. Richard Bandler thought ‘What is good dose it do to recognize the illusion if we can’t do anything about the illusion we don’t want?’ He noticed in a hypnosis class that could become selectively amnesiac, or change negative hallucination into positive ones or a person could anesthetize a part of their body. He also noticed that when someone did this, it resulted in changing their beliefs which, also changed their physiology too.
Bandler and Grinder were not only interested in how do people experience, but how people get better and how do they do it with excellence. Through all its varieties, the field of NLP is unique in having developed a set of perceptual frames and proven techniques for change. These can be used to understand, respect and transform how and who we are.. NLP provides a way to both quantitatively and qualitatively describe the nature of the unique reality of every individual. It makes the most useful, accurate and respectful means we have of addressing our true human and spiritual potential.
Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com