Over the years, the founders of NLP (Bandler & Grinder), as well as all of those who have subsequently studied and practiced NLP, have proven that it works, even though there is little scientific evidence to back it up.
NLP is the study of how the mind works. The interplay between the mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) affects our body and behaviour (programming). NLP is the practice of understanding how people organize their thoughts, feelings, language and behaviour to produce the results they get. NLP also provides a methodology for studying the outstanding performance achieved by geniuses and leaders in their field, so the strategies they use can be learned by others.
As this description is probably already a little bit too vague and esoteric, let me give you an example. Through NLP we have learned that when people have fears or phobias, what might be happening inside their minds is that they are making big, bright, close-up pictures or movies of the things they fear. What we have also learned from people who do not let their fears get the best of them, is that these less anxious people might imagine the things they fear to be quite distant in their mind’s eye, or perhaps the pictures are black and white instead of in colour, or still photos instead of movies.
When I work with someone who has a fear or phobia, I have to determine what that person is actually “doing” in their mind to create the phobia. Yes, you read that right! We all think of fears or phobias as something we “have” and not something that we “do”, but that is not the case. And the good news is that if we are “doing” it, we can also “undo” it.
Using some simple NLP techniques, we can teach a person with fears or phobias to deal with them in a different way, so they actually disintegrate before their eyes or they can see the object of their fear with little or no emotion, which is what the fear really is.
The same is true of bad habits. We actually have a behaviour programme running in our minds for these bad habits we are “doing”. It normally takes 30 days of performing a new routine for an old habit to be broken and new and better behaviour to take its place. However, with NLP, we can re-programme the mind to break those bad habits and generate new behaviours in a matter of minutes rather than days or months.
In NLP we always respect the positive intention behind each and every behaviour. If we have a compulsion to use a behavior we don't like, we can easily get rid of the compulsion to use that behavior, providing we find an alternative behaviour to substitute in its place which is as effective at accomplishing the same outcome, but which is more consciously acceptable to you.
Despite the difficulty of explaining NLP in simple terms, it really is a very quick and easy way to make personal changes, get rid of bad habits, generate new and better behaviours and rid yourself of fears and phobias.
In other words, it allows you to proactively design your physical and emotional responses in areas of your life where you want to take charge and do it in the most effective way possible in order to produce the results you want. That is why it is great for weight loss, smoking cessation, self confidence, nail-biting, fears, phobias, tics, bereavement, sports performance, anxiety, stress, depression, addictions and much, much more. And the best thing is that it is effortless on your part. You don’t need huge amounts of willpower or have to go through all of those unpleasant side-effects associated with giving up a habit or making big changes in your life.
So what is the difference between NLP and hypnosis, as you will find that, like myself, many NLP Master Practitioners are also trained hypnotherapists? NLP uses some aspects of conversational hypnosis, taken from the work of Dr. Milton H. Erickson in the 1970s. Therefore, all of NLP has and uses some distinctions from hypnosis - in a very indirect manner. Hypnosis specifically however, uses more direct suggestions. In NLP, rather than using suggestions, we use the thought patterns which are creating a problem, to eliminate the problem.
In my experience, the best method to effect personal change is a powerful combination of both techniques, which is what I use in my practice.