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What Is NLP?

NLP is the acronym for "Neuro-Linguistic Programming". "Neuro" means "brain", so it is a model of the language of the brain's programming. We may think of the brain as running software that tells us how and why to do things. In the practice, we like to remember NLP as meaning "Now Let's Play". With NLP, change is faster and easier, so we can have more fun. We focus on the desired outcome of the client, the future they desire, and spend very little time in the past. Whether it's releasing trauma or an allergic response, changing to empowering beliefs, or creating compelling goals, NLP often works in one or two sessions. What's possible with NLP, thought it's been around for almost 30 years, we are finding new frontiers every day. Often NLP helps improve salesmanship and public speaking. It can be helpful healing the physical body, as in improving eye sight, healing injuries and disease. The mind change change almost anything about the human experience.

One of my teachers, one of the original pioneers in the field of NLP Robert Dilts, assisted his mother in self-healing terminal cancer 20 years ago. The cancer was so wide spread, the doctors we helpless and could only give pain killers. Robert worked with her to re-code her beliefs, find new hope, and re-train her body to heal itself. She lives 18 more years! What's possible in your life?

NLP is more of an attitude than just a set of processes for rapid change. It's an attitude of finding out how people specifically do what they do. Coming from an assumption that people have all the resources they need inside them. That they have the best solution for healing and change, we only guide them in discovering they own strategies. That's why NLP is so effective, because we use a technology to find your fastest way for change.

NLP is a way of understanding the neurology of our experiences (such as memories, emotions or responses.) Our brains store information in patterns made by our five senses. By understanding this neurology we can change or enhance those patterns if we wish to.

NLP is uniquely at once a psychological study, a system of personal development, and an unprecedented modeling discipline. NLP is neither therapy, new science, nor simply personal development, but a discipline that touches all of these. It is a model of a way of thinking, rather than a technique or process.

"NLP cannot be dismissed as just another hustle. Its theoretical underpinnings represent an ambitious attempt to codify and synthesize the insights of linguistics, body language, and the study of communication systems."
    -- Psychology Today

A Brief History of NLP
NLP was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. John and Richard met at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the early 1970s. Grinder was a linguistics professor and Bandler was a young student mathematician and computer scientist. When Bandler and Grinder met they had both studied Gestalt Therapy with its founder, Fritz Perls. They became friends as a result of their fascination with Gestalt Therapy. Together they studied the work of three great therapists: Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls.

Virginia Satir was the primary developer of Family therapy. She developed Family Systems Theory (the work that John Bradshaw has popularized) and was famous for her incredible skill and effectiveness as a therapist. The beliefs and presuppositions she held were part of what made her the great therapist she was. Some of these beliefs were adopted into NLP from the very beginning and have helped make NLP the effective tool it has become. Part of the NLP philosophy includes the Presuppositions of NLP; a set of beliefs that we hold to be true in every circumstance. The first presupposition of NLP is that "Behind every behavior is a positive intention." This was Virginia Satir's philosophy for her work with her clients. John and Richard observed Satir's work in minute detail. Some the first NLP processes identified the steps that Virginia Satir followed to create the incredible results she achieved with clients.
Bandler and Grinder then studied the work of Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy. He was brilliant in his work with trance states. Milton Erickson was a medical doctor as well as a hypno-therapist. Much of his work was with people with severe physical and mental illnesses and disabilities. He successfully guided people towards the changes they wanted in a way that was quite amazing. John and Richard worked with Dr. Erickson and watched hours and hours of video tapes of him working with clients. They played back small segments of tape over and over to determine the exact steps that he used to create the successes he achieved with his patients.

The combined learning from the work of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson came together through Richard Bandler and John Grinder as the beginning of a new field that they called Neuro-linguistic Programming.

The early years of NLP were an exciting time of discovery. Together Richard and John observed the dynamics of unconscious communication, the influence of language patterns, the structure of belief and identity, and the neurological patterns we use for storing information. They experimented with the processes and procedures they created and discovered that these were effective in helping people to make the changes they wished to make with surprising, and sometimes instant, results. NLP became known as a new field of personal growth that offered people the possibility of working through difficult problems in a short amount of time. It was then that NLP attracted a wonderful group of highly intelligent and dedicated people to study and advance the field of NLP to the stature it has today. NLP was initially developed with Richard and John by Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, and Robert Dilts. Judith and Robert currently offer some of the best NLP training available through NLP University.

The field of NLP has created a community of some of the most brilliant, creative, reputable and caring people around the world holding very high ideals of integrity, love, and high purpose.

I am proud to be part of this NLP community and a practitioner in a field that offers growth, change and personal resources with consistently impressive results.