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Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): What is it and How Does it Work?

A communication model that focuses on identifying and using thought models that influence a person’s behavior as a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of life.

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It is easy for the concept of neurolinguistic programming to generate confusion. On what is it based? When does it apply? Below are some key ideas to know 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 models that influence a person’s behavior as a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of life.

A problem with NLP is the nature of its name, since when the term Neurolinguistic Programming is mentioned to people who have never heard of it, the reaction is usually a bit negative. On the other hand, the name could provoke that we are dealing with empirical techniques derived from the neurosciences, but there is no evidence to confirm the efficacy of these.

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

In addition, he affirms that “sometimes we have to accept and mourn the death of our dreams, not just dismiss them occasionally as an inconsequential thing.” The reframing of NLP puts us in the role of a widower avoiding the pain of grief by jumping into a relationship with a younger woman, without stopping to say a proper goodbye to his dead wife. “

What is the focus of the Neurolinguistic Programming model?

The world is experienced through five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. A lot of information comes to us continuously; consciously and unconsciously we eliminate what we do not want to pay attention to. They tell us that the remaining information is based on our past experiences, values ​​and beliefs. With what we end up being is incomplete and inaccurate, since part of the general information has been eliminated, and the rest has been generalized or distorted.

What is NLP based on?

The most important thing to have a vision about what is 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 objectives, in NLP the results term is used. If there is a prior concentration on what you want to achieve, there will be a guide that will guide all the available resources of that person to the achievement of a goal.

2. Sensory acuity

Sensory acuity refers to the ability to observe or detect small details to be aware of what is happening around us. People vary a lot when it comes to realizing what they see, hear or feel. There are people who are dedicated to observe more their environment, while others are more focused on their own emotions and thoughts.

3. Flexibility in behavior

When you begin to know what your results are and use your sensory acuity to observe what is happening, the information you get allows you to make adjustments in your behavior, if necessary. If the acts you perform do not take you by the direction you want, it is evident that you should try to take another path or try something different, but many people lack that flexibility in behavior and simply insist on doing the same thing over and over again.

4. Competence

The rapport could be considered as that component that unites people. Most of the time it occurs naturally, automatically, instinctively. Some people we know seem to share our vital perspective, while there are other people we do not connect with. The capacity for rapport with other people needs to be improved in order to obtain more effective relationships.

The presuppositions of Neurolinguistic Programming

Salvador Carrión (2008), refers that a presupposition is something we take for granted, without any proof. He tells us that the Neurolinguistic Programming does not pretend that the presuppositions are true, although there is evidence that is quite palpable to support many of them. I have tried to look for the “evidences” that support these presuppositions, but I have only found an explanation to each one of them.

Life, mind and body are a single system.

The mind and body are considered as a single system, each directly influencing the other. For example, what happens inside your body affects your thoughts and will affect the people around you.

You cannot stop communicating.

The message we try to convey is not always the one that others receive. Therefore, from NLP we are told that we must be aware of the reactions of others to see if our message has been successful. This can actually lead to serious difficulties when it comes to developing a message, since focusing on the reactions or being alert to possible consequences is not something that will bring quality to the communication.
Beneath each behavior there is a positive intention

In an addiction or bad behavior there is always a positive intention, therefore finding the root of that problem and externalizing positive intention, you can go from smoking for 15 years to not have that need.
If what you are doing is not working, do something else

If you try a way to approach a problem and you do not get the results you expected, try something different, and keep changing your behavior until you get the answer you were looking for.
If a person can do something, everyone can learn to do it

There is in NLP, the process of modeling excellence. If you want to publish an article, for example, you could look at someone who is brilliant writing and imitate the way he does it. In this way, you will be immersed in knowledge of great value.
Criticisms towards the Nueorlinguistic Programming

Roderique-Davies (2009) states that using the word “neuro” in NLP is “effectively fraudulent given that NLP does not offer any explanation at the neuronal level and one could argue that its use is falsely feeding on the notion of scientific credibility”.

On the other hand, Devilly (2005) argues that the so-called “power therapies” gain popularity, because they are promoted, like other pseudosciences, using a set of tactics of social influence. These include making extraordinary statements such as, “a cure in a single session for any traumatic memory”. These types of strategies are incredibly disproportionate and they play with the health of many people who place their trust in professionals with a supposed preparation and ethics when developing their activity.

Finally, Borgo (2006) refers that the few effective tools or more or less proven theories of Neurolinguistic Programming do not belong exclusively to him and what is new has not been empirically proven. Moreover, what is novel, or seems very simplistic, or contradicts what science says.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): What is it and How Does it Work?
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