What is Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and How Does It Work?

What Is Neuro Linguistic Programming
What Is Neuro Linguistic Programming

What is Neuro Linguistic Programming?

Neuro –Linguistic Programming is a pseudoscientific approach that aims to communicate, personal development and psychotherapy, created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, in the 1970s. It is defined as a connection between neurological processes which includes physical components as well as mental and emotional components, language, which includes how you communicate with others as well as with yourself; and programming, which includes how our internal operating system functions and how our past experiences, thoughts and emotions affect all areas of our lives. NLP claims that these components can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. It models the strategies used by successful individuals to attain a personal goal of an individual.

Core components of NLP

There are three main components on the basis of which NLP can be understood and these are:

1. Subjectivity

Whatever we experience in this world is stored in the form of subjective experience which means it is dependent on one’s own perception and mind and which imply, the same experience can have different subjective representation for different people. These subjective representations of experience constitutes five senses namely, vision, auditory, olfaction, gustations, touch and, language. For example, when we try to recall any past event, then we think in our mother language, see certain images related to that event, hear certain sounds, feel sensations, recall flavors and smell. These subjective representations have a particular structure and pattern and in this sense, NLP is defined as the study of the structure of subjective experience.

2. Consciousness

Consciousness means to know, to be aware of one’s own thoughts or mental patterns or knowledge, whether by internal conscious or by external observation. Our conscious mind includes everything that is inside our awareness and forms the basis of mental processes of everything we think and talk. In NLP, subjective representations that occur outside of an individual’s awareness is referred to as the “unconscious mind”.

3. Learning

Learning in NLP is an imitative method termed as “modeling”. In this process of modeling, the sequence of sensory or linguistic representations of the subjective experience of the model having expertise is coded and described to the person seeking NLP to achieve a specific goal.

What is the Purpose of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Tic disorders
  • Psychosomatic illness
  • Near sightedness
  • Learning Disorders
  • ADHD
  • Post traumatic stress disorders

How Does Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Work?

  • The successful implications of NLP includes establishing rapport, collecting information about the problematic area , desired goals, interventions using specific tools and techniques and the positive change into the life of a person. The NLP practitioner and the client both work together in attaining the desired goal of the client.
  • The NLP practitioner and client establish a strong rapport with the help of verbal and non-verbal behavior like gestures, body language, non- judgemental approach and active listening.
  • Once the rapport is established, the NLP practitioner gathers information about the client and is present state of mind then, the practitioner helped the client to define the goals he desired to attain.
  • When the desired goal is defined, the next step is to bridge the gap between the present state and desired goal. For this, the NLP practitioner makes a keen observation on the verbal and non-verbal responses of the client and tries to figure out the resources, if required to attain the desired goal of the client.
  • The client is encouraged to think of the desired outcome and how the outcome can affect his personal, professional and social life so that the client could stay motivated for the desired goal. The practitioner helps the client in every possible manner using various tools and techniques to change his subjective representations of experiences in the desired direction.
  • As the desired changes and goals are future paced, the NLP practitioner made the client rehearse and integrate the desired changes into his life in terms of auditory, visual, Kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory, and what it feels like to have attained all those goals.

NLP practitioners work with people to understand their thinking and behavioral pattern, emotional state and desires. By gathering information and establishing strong rapport, NLP practitioners can help people in finding their strengths and weaknesses so that they can work on their skills and replace the unproductive skills. NLP seeks to build effective communication between conscious and unconscious components of mind to increase creativity and problem-solving skills.

NLP practitioners believe there are six level of change and there are innate hierarchies of learning, communication and change.

Purpose and Spirituality

It involves the acknowledgement of a feeling or belief that there is something greater than oneself, something which is more than sensory experience and more to being human, and that we are just a part of greater whole and is divine in nature. This is the highest level of change.


Identity is the distinguishing character or personality of a person. It defines how you see yourself as a person and the type of role and responsibilities you play in life.

Beliefs and Values

Belief is a state of mind that accepts certain ideas or opinions as true or real. The human belief system is not formed in a day or few hours, but it is formed by all the experiences a person gains while interacting with the surroundings, knowledge, and visualization.

Values stem from our beliefs. Our values are those things which are considered important by us and include concepts like, equality, honesty, hard-work, loyalty, conservation of the environment and many more.

But, both beliefs and values determine our attitudes and opinion.

Capabilities and skills

Skills are something that you learn and depend on your ability to learn and how much you practice it. The more you practice a specific skill, the more you would have command over it.

Capability on the other hand, is the ability that has potential for development and use. It is innate and is fixed.


These are the specific patterns and action, one performs and response to the things that are happening.


Environment is the surroundings or conditions in which an individual lives. It is the sum of all the external forces and conditions which affect the life, behavior, growth and development of an individual.

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