WHAT IS Neuro Linguistic Programming?

NLP has been called “technology of exceptional mental achievement” and is said to be the greatest contribution to the behavioral sciences in the last 30 years.  Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and behavioral patterns learned through experience ("programming") and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. As such, NLP is a results based approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. It was born when a linguist called John Grinder and a mathematician called Richard Bandler asked themselves a simple yet fascinating question:

“What is it that makes the difference between somebody who is merely competent at any given skill and somebody who excels at the same skill?”

Grinder and Bandler answer this question by asserting that NLP methodology can "model" the skills of exceptional people, then those skills can be acquired by anyone. Grinder and Bandler also claim that NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, habit disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, myopia, allergy, addictions, and learning disorders, often in a single session. NLP has been adopted by most clinical Hypnotherapists and its methodologies have been highly utilized in leadership training seminars marketed to Fortune 500 CEOs and Government Officials.

NLP can be understood in terms of three broad components and the central concepts pertaining to those.


We experience the world subjectively thus we create subjective representations of our experience. These subjective representations of experience are constituted in terms of five senses and language. That is to say our subjective conscious experience is in terms of the traditional senses of vision, audition, tactition, olfaction and gustation such that when we—for example—rehearse an activity "in our heads", recall an event or anticipate the future we will "see" images, "hear" sounds, "taste" flavors, "feel" tactile sensations, "smell" odors and think in some (natural) language. Furthermore it is claimed that these subjective representations of experience have a discernible structure, a pattern. It is in this sense that NLP is sometimes defined as the study of the structure of subjective experience.

Behavior can be described and understood in terms of these sense-based subjective representations. Behavior is broadly conceived to include verbal and non-verbal communication, incompetent, maladaptive or "pathological" behavior as well as effective or skillful behavior.

Behavior (in self and others) can be modified by effectively programming these sense-based subjective representations.


NLP is predicated on the notion that consciousness is bifurcated into a conscious component and a unconscious component. Those subjective representations that occur outside of an individual's awareness comprise what is referred to as the "unconscious mind".


NLP utilizes an imitative method of learning—termed modeling—that is claimed to be able to codify and reproduce an exemplar's expertise in any domain of activity. An important part of the codification process is a description of the sequence of the neurolinguistic representations of the subjective experience of the exemplar during execution of the expertise.