Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the basis for Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt). It was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. The core belief of this theory is that people do not react to their environment as it is, but rather they build their perception from their experiences as they relate to the world around them. Each person develops his or her own map of his or her world, and by doing such, no one ever possesses a map that fully represents the true environment. Because each person experiences different life events, and subsequently different reactions to those events, no two people will ever be guided on the same journey. This technique allows a person to view the steps that have led them to where they are and to examine the negative and positive influences, behaviors, and choices that brought them there. NLP also examines areas of success and uses these as a springboard for developing other successful emotions and determines the most efficient way to use these experiences and emotions in every day situations. This technique of “modeling” allows for rapid transformation.

Theory of Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Each person is created with an internal computer, the mind. Information is absorbed by the mind through our senses and is processed through different mechanisms. People's expressions of emotions, behaviors, and responses are the direct result of their internal processing. These actions and responses are then absorbed by their minds, reprocessed and expressed, repeatedly. The processing mechanism is subjective to one's own unique experiences and external life events. NLP can be referred to as the operating manual for people's minds that can guide us through the necessary steps to reprogram our processing mechanisms when they produce unwanted expressions.

Technology, Methodology and Epistemology of NLP

The model of NLP encompasses three different fields:

1. Technology - NLP has specific techniques and tools that are employed to achieve certain results, mainly to affect one's perceptions, emotions and actions to life experiences.

2. Methodology - NLP is based on a digestible group of concepts and ideas that provide comprehension and guidance relative to the various techniques and applications.

3. Epistemology - Insight and understanding comes through experimentation and action. NLP tests its methods by assessing nonverbal indicators to determine its effectiveness.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming Like?

NLP has roots in the Gestalt method of psychology, as well as the family therapy of Virginia Satir, humanistic psychology, and even the Ericksonian Brief Therapy. In addition, NLP has similarities to behavioral, linguistic, and theory psychology. During the treatment phase of NLP, a therapist will work with a client to determine the goals in the areas of emotional state, behavior patterns, and life aspirations. By examining the map that the client possesses, the client will be guided to find the skills that served them well and to strengthen those. Additionally, the therapist will work with a client to formulate and develop new skills that will ultimately replace unproductive skills and behaviors, in order to achieve these desired outcomes. By clearly recognizing particular behavior patterns, a client can identify which ones to alter and design the necessary steps to change them.

Expedited Results of NLP

NLP is designed to provide expedited results and to provide comprehension to a person’s behavior and cognitive patterns. Additionally, it is often recognized as a method for examining one's inner knowledge of his or her experiences and implementing that information as a tool for change. NLP has been compared toCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but is significantly different in its intricate distinctions and ability to facilitate transformation in shorter periods of time.

Resources Related to Neuro-Linguistic Programming:

Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association

Professional Guild of NLP

European Association for Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy

Wikipedia's Page about Neuro-Linguistic Programming


Last updated: 03-31-2016

Advanced Search


Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:

  • Client referrals
  • Continuing education credits
  • Publication and media opportunities
  • Marketing resources and webinars
  • Special discounts

Learn More is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on