Neuro Linguistic Programming, or NLP, has been around for over 30 years now, and has become a popular form of therapy in many practices around the world. And yet, most people have either never heard of it, or have very little understanding of what it actually entails. Here, we take a closer look at NLP, answer the question ‘does NLP work?’, and help you discover whether it could help you.
What is NLP?
Neuro Linguistic Programming was first introduced to the world in 1976, after a series of studies conducted by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Bandler, a mathematician, and Grinder, a linguist, posed a question which would go on to form the basis of NLP:
“What if we could find a way to model what people who are really effective with communication do, reproduce that model, and teach it to other people?”
Essentially, NLP therapy works with our thinking, language, and behaviour to uncover our true potential. The theory behind NLP suggests that how our mind and body (neuro) and language (linguistic) interact – forms our perception of the world and dictates our internal mapping for the world around us (programming). Because the world around us is so complex, our brains have a way of storing only certain information, and forming patterns of thinking, language and behaviour based on that limited information. As Gordon Young writes for the Institute of Applied Psychology:
“Our brain runs a simplification filter where we delete, distort, and generalise what we consider is extraneous information. How we do this is determined by our conditioning. Our culture, our values, our beliefs and what we consciously or unconsciously deem to be important to us. This map is therefore inherently limited, skewed and distorted. It is a tiny version of what’s going on out in the world around us, and it inevitably leads us to inaccuracies and misinterpretations based on our learned biases.”
NLP proposes that we can re-wire, or reprogram our perception of the world, for better success and personal development. This is achieved by removing the obstacles of destructive patterns of thinking, allowing us to open ourselves up to the possibilities and opportunities we’ve been missing out on, due to our inaccurate ‘maps’ of the world.
How does NLP work?
NLP differs from traditional ‘talking therapies’ like counselling and psychology, in that it focuses on how we think rather than what we think. This solution-focused form of therapy concentrates on the present day and moving forward with life, rather than diving deeply into the past. For this reason, those undertaking NLP can see incredibly fast results – far more quickly than other psychotherapies.
Undertaking NLP involves several key components, and our highly successful NLP program includes the following steps to unlocking your potential:
- Identifying your true goals and ensuring that they really align with your values.
- Ascertaining the internal obstacles and limitations (such as unhelpful psychological patterns) that have been holding you back.
- Working directly with your conscious mind to increase your awareness of thought patterns, behaviours and emotional states to unlock the beliefs and perceptions that aren’t serving you.
- Working with your subconscious mind (using techniques such as hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques) to uncover internal conflicts between the conscious and subconscious, in order to realign the two, to best serve you and your goals.
- Thanks to your new, clear vision for your life, we’ll then develop an actionable plan and road map for getting to where you want to be.
What is NLP used to treat?
As NLP involves re-wiring our brains to remove old and unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour, it can be used to treat a huge variety of concerns. However, some of the most popular reasons for seeking out and undertaking NLP include:
- Feeling stuck in a rut
- Having a lack of motivation or direction
- Experiencing poor or limited performance
- Exhibiting destructive, self-sabotaging behaviours
- Negative thinking and low self-esteem
Does NLP work?
There have been many studies of NLP, both clinically and anecdotally, over the years. Whilst the results of each study differ, one thing is clear: NLP has the potential to offer significant benefits to clients undertaking the therapy. In one study published in the journal, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, NLP was found to have significant positive outcomes for those in the therapy group, when compared to those in a control group (who did not receive NLP). The therapy group saw an overall decrease in clinical symptoms and reported an increase in overall quality of life. In fact, as the study’s abstract outlines, the results indicated:
“A substantial reduction of symptom strain, which is comparable to the well-established effects of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.”
Much like other forms of therapy, including psychology, hypnotherapy, and EFT, results differ from person to person, and come down to the willingness of the person in question to engage fully with the therapy, in order to make a real and lasting changes to their thinking and behaviours. The truth is that we all have the ability to change how we perceive the world (and therefore how we react and thrive within it); NLP is simply an effective and useful tool for unlocking our ability to achieve these changes.
Is NLP right for you?
Neuro Linguistic Programming is a safe and effective therapy that can be beneficial to just about anybody. But is it for you? Answering that question comes down to one key question: Are you ready to commit to making lasting changes to your life?
NLP – although a fast-acting therapy which can show results quite quickly – is not a magical, overnight solution. It requires effort and determination from you, and experience, compassion, and skill from your therapist. At Integrated Health Specialists, our decades of experience in psychology, hypnotherapy, and professional training in NLP means that we’re uniquely qualified to help you change your life today, with the help of Neuro Linguistic Programming. For a confidential discussion about where you are, and how NLP can help you to live the life you dream of, get in touch with us today.