Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Molecular Thoughts

The Neuro-Linguistic Programming was invented in the 1970s by Richard Bandler, John Grinder and Frank Pucelik during their years at the University of California. Since then, many definitions of what NLP is have been put forward but here is the one, which can found in the Oxford English Dictionary:

‘’Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (especially patterns of thought) underlying them and a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.’’

In other words, NLP is focused on how people organise their mental maps of the world through the use of their thinking, feeling, language and behaviours.

The UK based NLP Academy, breaks the NLP code into the following three categories:

NEURO – we experience world subjectively, thus each person has established their own unique mental filtering system for processing data through their senses (hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste) and responds to them appropriately including verbal and non-verbal communication (behaviours, which could be altered by manipulating sense-based subjective interpretations).

LINGUISTIC – we give personal meaning to the information received from the outer world, creating a map by assigning language to the internal interpretation of the senses into our conscious and unconscious minds.

PROGRAMMING – is the behavioral response that takes place as a result of the neurological filtering processes, which subsequently impacts individual’s linguistic map. It is a process of modeling whereby exemplar sequence of activity could be codified and reproduced in the future.

In other words:

NEURO – your thinking process (the way you use your senses to understand what’s happening around you).

LINGUISTIC – your words (how you use language and how it influences you and others around you).

PROGRAMMING – your behaviour (how you organise your ideas/reactions and how this affects you and the others).

Although heavily criticized by the scientific communities and labeled as an example of a pseudoscience, the NLP has been widely used in psychotherapy, coaching, sales, negotiating, management training, sports and public speaking.

In the late 1980s, John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair pushed their research further by arguing that the human brain does nothing without a purpose, which in fact is driven by the unconscious mind, i.e. there is a positive intention behind every behaviour. These findings resulted in the creation of the New Code of NLP and the Six Step Reframe process:

STEP 1: identify a specific behaviour/response that you would rather not do/feel.

STEP 2: establish communication with the part creating the unwanted behaviour/response (i.e. feel the sensation). Then ask the unconscious mind if it will be willing to communicate voluntary (often through receiving a sensation in the body or sound). Once received, thank the unconscious mind and ask to confirm the sensation by repeating it.

STEP 3: identify a positive intention recognizing the difference between the desirable result and the process of getting there. This step focuses on strengthening the relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds. The more positive is the intention of the conscious mind, the more likable is the response and cooperation from the unconscious mind.

STEP 4: create five alternative paths to get you to the intended result.

STEP 5: evaluate these choices: are their acceptable, will they be better than the previous behaviour, who long will it take to get them in place – if the unconscious mind agrees, you can move to the next step, otherwise, you must go back to the previous step and come up with more alternative paths.

STEP 6: assess the new choices against the other parts of your already existing individual ecological system – if any of them have been affected, you may want to consider running them through the process too.

It is important to add, that the unconscious mind is operating on the routineous basis – it is always looking for past experiences and behaviours. It is necessary to look back in search for the triggers (events, situations, memories) to turn them off and/or label them as out-of-date items, in order to create a new desirable path. This may explain why NLP has gained so much attention from the wide field of human behaviours discovery.