What is NLP? Definition #8

NLP is… The study of human excellence. To me personally, it was and is the only way of releasing my own personal genius. I was so hurt by my parents’ lack of ability to make me feel safe and accepted that I hid from everyone else and worked in a career I hated, made choices that suited everyone else for their benefit, and not mine.

One of the things my NLP mentor says is “In a family of thieves the one that doesn’t steal feels guilt.” For me, this one that feels guilty and drawn back in to what they don’t want time after time, is me. I wanted so badly to go to school and just learn. And, my family made sure I knew there was something wrong with me. To me it was the key to making people happy about their lives and their work and who they are. To me this was worth all the school I had to do. For them, I was the family pariah.

I came across this NLP stuff by accident as I was starting my PhD in Humanistic Psych for the first time. What I didn’t know is that my family systems was the perfect teaching ground for hypnotic language, languaging patterns, and all the elements of NLP. I was already doing it. So when I learned NLP for real, I was a natural.

One of the aspects that often referred to as a “pillar of NLP” or “part of the nested frames of NLP” is something called “Rapport.” With rapport you make another person feel safe in their skin. My mentor calls it being “Gazelle-like” (think 2 gazelles meeting vs. a tiger and gazelle meeting). In creating rapport with someone, they are able to let down their guard with you. What I didn’t realize was, I was very good at this with people. The problem was I didn’t know how to turn it off. And so, what would happen is I would have people inappropriately come on to me, or freak out when I didn’t do something they expected.

Rapport is the first and essential step in every human interaction. Without this no NLP change process can work. There are levels of rapport. Someone we have deep rapport with feels amazing to be around. They feel like they understand us at a level that no one else does. Many great relationships were started because of great rapport. But being in rapport with someone doesn’t mean they do actually understand you – that takes time.

Not being in rapport with someone will feel like you are on guard. Like you can’t say anything right. In my family it was dangerous to not know what another person expected from you and rapport was the only way for me to get that information. It was a survival tactic because the alternative was to be on the end of annihilating rage.

When you learn this in a family, you expect this out in the world. In fact you could line up a thousand healthy people and one borderline personality disorder(BPD) person and I could pick the BPD out with a blindfold. That is whom my mind would code as most safe. That was my reality before I learned and experienced NLP. After learning NLP, I sometimes slip, into doing more rapport than necessary because I like when feel safe being around me… but I get to choose now. And, that choice has changed my world dramatically. 

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