With so many varied and different therapies and ways of doing business out there, the question you may well ask first is, ‘Why NLP?’ For me to give you that answer, firstly I need to explain what NLP is, and how it works quickly. With so many explanations for what NLP is and what it does, I think it is best described with this small tale.
Three generations of the same family are all in one house now, the grandparent at 80 years old, the parent at 40 years old, and the next in line at 20 years old. The parent is an NLP practitioner and runs a practice helping people, and the child (now 20) is interested in it and wants to know what it is. The young adult approaches the parent and asks what exactly NLP is, and the parent replies, ‘Ok, I will teach you and tell you, and even show you what NLP is so you get it straight away, but first I need you to do me a favour.’
Ok, no problem.’
See your grandparent over there? Go ask them how they are feeling today and what they think about the weather.’
So the young adult says to the grandparent, ‘How you feeling today and what about this awful weather?’
Oh, not good.’ In a really deep voice, looking down at his trembling hands. ‘You know this weather makes my bones really cold and it affects me something awful and I shake from head to toe.’
The young adult then says to the parent, ‘Did you hear that?’ ‘Yes,’ the parent replied, ‘Now go back over and ask them about the happiest day of their entire life, what was it and do they still remember it.’
Off the young adult goes again and asks, ‘Out of interest, what was the happiest day of your life and can you remember it?’ Immediately the grand-parent sits bolt upright in the chair, with a smile as big as you could imagine, and starts to talk about the birth of their first child, how they remember it, what they felt and how much love they felt.’ As he speaks, he uses his hands to express joy, and not a shake in sight.
Did you just hear that?’ said the young adult. The parent replied, ‘Yes I did, and that is NLP in its purest of forms. We changed the emotional state and thinking patterns with words, leading to new thoughts, leading to emotions and then actions. That is Neuro Linguistic Programming.’
Neuro = How the mind operates and how we think.
Linguistics = The language we use and how it affects us.
Programming = How we sequence actions in order to do what we want.
But, by far, one of the best explanations I have read is by a gentleman called Robert Dilts and his explanation of what NLP is:
“NLP is whatever works.”
And that’s why I choose NLP – that one statement. It says, don’t be afraid to try new, try different, try unknown methods and techniques and play around with them, tweak, twist, turn them to suit your needs, wants and desires; use everything you have to get us to the end state, and for me that sums NLP up perfectly. Life is full of rules with no rules if you will. A sequence of words, thoughts and emotions leading us to the end state, and this particular end state is to be anxiety-free.
NLP was formed in the 1970s by two gentlemen; one professor and one student who undertook research and study on human behaviour to see why some people excelled at certain things in life while some people didn’t. Fascinated by this, they started to develop theories which became the foundations for early NLP. The gentlemen in question was Professor John Grinder and the student was Richard Bandler and they created one of the most effective and fast-acting therapies out there to date: NLP. Of course, NLP has come a long way since its birth in the ‘70s; like everything newly born it grows and learns, and continues to grow until it has matured, and over the past 40-odd or so years since its birth, it has grown and grown to what we have now.
Like every method out there, NLP has a set of principles to work within and also presuppositions: these are the basic guiding directions which allow us to use it to its most effective state. NLP is all about fixing you, so that later, if we need to, we can fix others along the way. There would be no point fixing everyone else and leaving ourselves to the last – NLP allows us to put ourselves first and become the person we want and know we can be.
The Pillars of NLP are as follows:
- You – Your emotional state and level of Skill.
- The presuppositions – the principles of NLP.
- Rapport – the quality of relationships.
- Outcome – knowing what you want.
- Feedback – how will you know you are getting what you want.
- Flexibility – If what you are doing isn’t getting results change the method.
Now, the reason I have listed and told you about these is because you will be able to see and identify each one clearly; in turn, allowing you to understand NLP that little bit more with each and every part. I am going to list the ones which are extremely relevant for us later on. These statements may seem strange at first, and you won’t believe them to begin with, but bear with me, as every single one will make perfect sense.
People respond to experience, not reality itself.
People make the best choice they can at the time.
All actions have purpose.
Every behaviour has a positive intention (pay close attention to this one).
We already have all the resources we need, or we can create them.
We process all information through our senses.
If you want to understand, act.
These are a few of the presuppositions of NLP; these are the ones which will make perfect sense to you as we progress,
Some of the leading therapists in the world are NLP practitioners and use these methods heavily within their own practices; such as the extremely popular mainstream media hypnotist Paul McKenna, Celebrity Life coach Ali Campbell and the likes of Derren Brown. NLP is changing the way therapy is conducted and the more people learn and discover it, the more popular it becomes. One look at some of the A-List clients who have had NLP therapy says it all: Cheryl Cole, Katie Price, Kelly Rowlands. To name a few. The late great Eric Bristow from the field of sports, and nearly every sports team in the land has a NLP practitioner on board to increase confidence, drive and determination. So, all being said, it was an easy choice to use predominately NLP-based methods and techniques to get you to change your life, simply because everyone whose life it touches changes, and it can be very quick and also has the longevity element ingrained.