Neurolinguistic programming (NLP): what is it and how does it work?

It’s easy for the concept of Neuro Linguistic Programming generate confusion. What is it based on? When does it apply? Here are some key ideas on what NLP is.

What is neurolinguistic programming?

Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers (2014) define neurolinguistic programming as a communication model that focuses on identifying and using thought patterns that influence a person’s behavior as a means of improving quality and life efficiency.

One problem with NLP is the nature of its name, because when the term Neurolinguistic Programming is mentioned to people who have never heard of it, the reaction is usually a little negative. On the other hand, the name might suggest that we are dealing with empirical techniques derived from neuroscience, but there is no evidence to confirm the effectiveness of these.

Stephen Briers (2012) says that NLP is not really a coherent treatment, but “a mixture of different techniques without a very clear theoretical basis”. This author maintains that the maxim of neurolinguistic programming is narcissistic, egocentric and dissociated from notions of responsibility.

Further, he states that “sometimes we have to come to terms with and mourn the death of our dreams, not just say goodbye every now and then like a trivial thing. The NLP reframing puts us in the role of a widower avoiding pain. of mourning by jumping into a relationship with a younger woman, without stopping to say goodbye to his deceased wife. “

What is the goal of the neurolinguistic programming model?

The world is experienced through five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. A lot of information is constantly reaching us; consciously and unconsciously we eliminate what we don’t want to pay attention to. We are told that the remaining information is based on our past experiences, values ​​and beliefs. What we end with is incomplete and inaccurate, as some background information has been removed and the rest has been generalized or misrepresented.

What is NLP based on?

The most important thing to gain insight into what neurolinguistic programming is to know that it is based on four fundamental aspects, which are known as the “four pillars”, according to Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers (2014).

1. Results

To achieve something we talk about goals, in NLP the term results is used. If you focus on what you want to achieve beforehand, there will be a guide that guides all of that person’s available resources toward achieving a goal.

2. Sensory acuity

Sensory acuity refers to the ability to observe or sense small details to be aware of what is going on around us. People vary a lot when it comes to realizing what they see, hear, or hear. There are people who devote more time to observing their surroundings, while others pay more attention to their own emotions and thoughts.

3. Behavior flexibility

When you start to know your results and use your sensory acuity to observe what is going on, the information you get allows you to adjust your behavior, if necessary. If the actions you are performing do not take you in the direction you want, obviously you should try taking a different path or trying something different, but many people lack this flexibility of behavior and simply insist on doing the same. And again.

4. Understanding

Understanding could be seen as the thing that unites people. Most of the time this happens naturally, automatically, instinctively. Some people we know seem to share our perspective on life, while there are other people we don’t connect with. The ability to get along with other people needs to be improved to achieve more effective relationships.

The presuppositions of neurolinguistic programming

Salvador Carrión (2008), makes a presupposition something we take for granted, without any proof. He tells us that from Neurolinguistic Programming, the hypotheses are not expected to be true, although there is sufficiently palpable evidence to support many of them. I have tried to research the “evidence” that supports these hypotheses, but found only one explanation for each.

Life, mind and body are one system

Mind and body are seen as a single system, each directly influencing the other. For example, what goes on inside your body affects your thoughts and will affect the people around you.

You can’t stop communicating

The message we are trying to get across is not always what others are getting. Therefore, from NLP we are told that we have to be attentive to the reactions of others to see if our message has been successful. This can in fact lead to serious difficulties in writing a message, as focusing on reactions or paying attention to possible consequences is not something that will bring quality to the communication.

Under every behavior is a positive intention

In addiction or bad behavior there is always a positive intention, so by finding the root of that problem and externalizing the positive intention, you can go from smoking for 15 years to not having the urge.

If what you’re doing doesn’t work, do something else

If you are trying to address a problem and you don’t get the results you want, try something different and keep varying your behavior until you get the answer you were looking for.

If one person can do something, everyone can learn to do it

There is in NLP, the process of modeling excellence. If you want an article published for you, for example, you can look at someone who is brilliant at writing and emulate the way they do it. In this way, you will absorb valuable knowledge.

Critics of programming new languages

Roderique-Davies (2009) states that the use of the word “neuro” in NLP is “effective fraudulent since NLP offers no explanation at the neuronal level and one could argue that its use is falsely fueled by the notion of scientific credibility. “

On the other hand, Devilly (2005) argues that the so-called “potency therapies“They are gaining popularity because they are promoted, like other pseudosciences, using a set of socially influential tactics. These include making extraordinary statements such as “a one-session cure for any traumatic memory”. The types of strategies are amazing. disproportionate and they play with the health of many people who offer their confidence to professionals with supposed preparation and ethics in the development of their activity.

Finally, Borgo (2006) evokes that the few effective tools or the more or less proven theories of Neurolinguistic Programming do not belong exclusively to him and what he has again it has not been empirically verified. Moreover, what he still has either seems very simplistic or contradicts what science says.

To know more …

First, we offer a practical extension of the fundamental issues of NLP by reading this article:

“The 10 principles of NLP”

In this talk, Javier Gil from the University of Vigo explains in more detail the concepts and techniques related to NLP.

Bibliographical references:

  • Bavister, Steve., Vickers, Amanda. (2014). Neuro Linguistic Programming. Amat
  • Borgo, AJ (2006). Neurolinguistic programming: the mirage for executives. The skeptical eye. http://www.elojoesceptico.com.ar/revistas/eoe06/eoe0605
  • Briers, Steven. (2012). Harness the myths of the self-help generation. Pearson
  • Carrion, Salvador. (2008). NLP Practitioner Course: The New Technique for Change and Success. obelisk
  • Poffel, SA and Cross, HJ (1985). Neurolinguistic programming: a test of the eye movement hypothesis. Perceptual and motor skills, 61, 3, 1262. doi: 10.2466 / pms.1985.61.

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