Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Hypnosis

What Is Neuro Linguistic Programming?

Before we can talk about NLP hypnosis, we first need to understand what neuro linguistic programming (NLP) itself is. It is difficult to define, since even those who developed this system of thought appear to be at odds about what it actually is. Perhaps the best way to answer the question, “What is NLP?” is to say that it is a pragmatic school of thought. That is, it claims to address how the human body functions (neuro-), how we communicate with others through language and body language (linguistic), and how the interplay between mind and language affects our behavior (programming).

NLP is pragmatic because its focus is on what works in relating to others and to the world. It does not focus on an inflexible list of techniques that should work, as do some other bases of therapeutic practice. It is not regulated or controlled by any central authority; there’s no hierarchical structure containing and defining it.

On another level, there are NLP courses that offer NLP skills and tools for personal development and self-discovery that might change your life. The NLP method and the use of NLP techniques have even evolved into a special therapeutic process. NLP hypnotherapy is practiced by many therapists.

How Did NLP Hypnosis Develop?

In the mid-1970s, undergraduate mathematician Richard Bandler and linguistics professor John Grinder began to formulate the concepts that grew into neuro linguistic programming. Both men had a deep interest in some of the most successful therapists of the time. Their idea was to study the verbal and non-verbal communication skills of these individuals, and create a “model” of the interactions they used. The question on which they based their study was, essentially: What makes the difference between a person who is competent at a skill, and a person who is excellent at it?

The three outstanding therapists they chose to examine were Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt therapy), Virginia Satir (leader in family therapy), and Milton H. Erickson (world-renowned psychotherapist and medical hypnotist). Grinder and Bandler’s studies of the ways each therapist communicated with patients led them to understand the importance of language in therapy, and also to understand the “inner communication” of each human being. “Of the three, Erickson had the most profound effect on the development of NLP ( techniques) to build rapport, model experience, and integrate conscious and unconscious processes in order to achieve change.”

Extracting from the models of the three therapists’ linguistic patterns, Grinder and Bandler developed the NLP method of describing a person’s idea, or “representation,” of the world as that person knows it. The language an individual uses becomes the individual’s “map of the world,” for all intents and purposes; and that map of the world becomes the basis for the choices and decisions he makes in life. If the individual’s map of the world is limited by poorly formed linguistic patterns, then the choices and decisions available to him are also limited.

Using the double foundation of linguistic analysis and modeling of excellent therapeutic communication, Bandler and Grinder began to build the larger methodology now known as Neuro Linguistic Programming. Among the many NLP books the two co-authored was a volume titled Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson. So NLP modeling was really the seminal point for NLP hypnosis, and for all the other NLP techniques that now make up the NLP method.

Is NLP Hypnosis Widely Accepted, or Controversial?

The answer to this question would have to be, both. In the early 1980s, neuro linguistic programming was hailed as a breakthrough method of psychotherapy and counseling. NLP techniques were credited with greatly improving interpersonal communication, not only between therapists and patients, but also among people in general. However, in the later 1980s, the National Research Council (NRC) was unable to find a sound empirical basis for the assumptions on which the NLP method was based. The main objection to accepting neuro linguistic programming as a true science seems to be the lack of interest on the part of NLP practitioners in submitting their clinical data to the peer-review process. Neverthless, NLP hypnosis is strongly supported by its practitioners, and by many who have had experience with NLP techniques. By others in the scientific community, it is regarded as one of the New Age alternative therapies that are marginal to the practice of psychotherapy.

Can I Learn NLP Through Online NLP Courses?

Yes. There are quite a few online courses that teach neuro linguistic programming, and some that also teach NLP hypnotherapy. Here are a few recommendations:

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"We must train our brains to do the things that are effective, not intellectually, but neurologically."
-Tony Robbins

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