Neuro - Linguistic Programming - An overview


By

Vani Venugopal
Lecturer
Department of MBA
AMC Engineering College
Bangalore
 


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) studies the structure of how humans think and experience the world. Obviously, the structure of something so subjective does not lend itself to precise, statistical formulae but instead leads to models of how these things work. From these models, techniques for quickly and effectively changing thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that limit you have been developed.

Just imagine what you would do if your bread machine arrived without instructions. That of course, pales in comparison to the immense complexity of our brains (unimaginably more bake cycles). Each of us happen to possess in our skulls, the most sophisticated computers ever conceived of and no one thought to provide instructions. No wonder changing how we do the simplest task, often meets with failure. If you climbed behind the wheel of a car for the very first time and had no instructions to guide you, how far do you think you'd get before driving into a ditch or up a telephone pole?

So, how do NLP's create the knowledge necessary to learn how to operate our own minds?

Introduction:

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP for short) was developed in the early 1970s by an information scientist and a linguist at the University of California at Santa Cruz.NLP is a system co-founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler for bringing about personal development in any individual by interpreting and translating the human perception, experience, beliefs and language.

They had observed that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre. They wanted to know the secrets of effective people. What makes them perform and accomplish things.

The word Neuro linguistic programming can be broken down to three distinct words: 

* Neuro,
* Linguistic
* Programming. 

* Neuro refers to the brain and neural network that feeds into the brain. Neurons or nerve cells are the working units used by the nervous system to send, receive, and store signals that add up to information. 

* Linguistics refer to the content, both verbal and non-verbal, that moves across and through these pathways. 

* Programming is the way the content or signal is manipulated to convert it into useful information. The brain may direct the signal, sequence it, change it based on our prior experience, or connect it to some other experience we have stored in our brain to convert it into thinking patterns and behaviors that are the essence of our experience of life.

The basic premise of NLP is that the words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, as long as we continue to use them and to think of them, the underlying problem will persist. In other words, our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Definition:

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP™) is defined as the study of the structure of subjective experience and what can be calculated from that and is predicated upon the belief that all behaviour has structure

NLP Origins

Neuro Linguistic Programming began it's life early in the 1970s when an Associate Professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz, John Grinder, teamed up with an undergraduate Richard Bandler. Both men had a fascination with human excellence which charted a path for them to model behavioural patterns of selected geniuses.

Modelling is the core activity in NLP, and is the process of extricating and replicating the language structure and behavioural patterns of an individual who is excellent at a given activity.

Grinder and Bandler began their NLP quest by modelling three people, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. These geniuses were outstanding as professional agents of change, working in the domain of therapy. All three geniuses, Perls, Satir and Erickson performed their magic from a perspective of unconscious excellence. The geniuses did not present Grinder and Bandler with a conscious description of their behaviour. The modellers (Grinder and Bandler) unconsciously absorbed the patterning inherent in the geniuses and then provided a description.

With little direct knowledge of each of the geniuses speciality and little knowledge of the field of psychotherapy on the whole, Grinder and Bandler over a two year period set out with enthusiasm bordering on fervour, to explicate selected portions of the geniuses' behaviour. They coded the results of their work in language-based models using the patterns of transformational grammar as the descriptive vocabulary. Through NLP Modelling Grinder and Bandler made explicit the tacit skills of the geniuses and NLP was born.

The company that Grinder and Bandler were keeping in these heady days of the 1970s was a melting pot of enquiring minds seeking investigation into human behaviour. John Grinder was an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Richard Bandler a fourth year undergraduate student. The world renowned anthropologist Gregory Bateson had joined the faculty at Kresge College, and such was Bateson's interest in Grinder and Bandler's collaboration he introduced Grinder and Bandler to Milton Erickson. Bateson provided support, feedback and his enthusiasm is in part captured in his introduction to the book Structure of Magic where he states "John Grinder and Richard Bandler have done something similar to what my colleagues and I attempted fifteen years ago."

In 1975 Grinder and Bandler presented the first two NLP models to the world in the volumes "Structure of Magic I and II." The volumes published by the respected publishing house "Science and Behaviour Books inc" put NLP on the map and interest in the new field of NLP spread quickly. People in fields related to communication, behaviour and change sought to learn how they too could get amazing results when doing change work. Grinder and Bandler willingly offered training courses in the application of their models. The training courses Bandler and Grinder conducted - proved that the NLP models were transferable to others, meaning the learners could us the NLP models successfully in their own work.

How Does Neuro Linguistic Programming Work?

NLP uses self image and attitude towards illness to effect change and to promote healing. NLP is based on several useful presuppositions

Presuppositions

Presuppositions or assumptions are the beliefs a person will find useful in effecting changes to themselves and/or to the world. (Some people call these as the "givens".) 

They are beliefs that someone practicing NLP will find useful for creating changes in themselves and the world, more easily and effectively. The emphasis here should be on "useful" not whether each one could be proven to be "true". Practitioners of NLP often include different presuppositions in their list but what follows are the most common.

Examples of presuppositions:

1. Communication is more than what you are saying.
2. No one is wrong or broken. People work perfectly to accomplish what they are currently accomplishing.

Representational Systems

The representational systems in NLP are simply the five senses. Representational system in NLP consists of our five senses. These are:

  • Visual (images)
  • Auditory (sounds)
  • Kinesthetic (touch and internal feelings)
  • Gustatory (tastes)
  • Olfactory (smells)

Every one of us uses one or a combination of these senses to perceive the world. The qualities or attributes of the representations you make using your five senses are submodalities. For example, make a picture of someone you love in your mind. Now, make the colors more intense and notice how it affects you response to it. Now make it black and white and notice your response. Return it to its original shades and hue and bring the image closer. Now move it farther out. Return the picture to its original state, noticing how each of those experiments affected your response. Submodalities are the fine tuning to your representations and can be used to create powerful changes.

The interesting thing to note here is that once you understand that you create your internal world, you realize you can change it.
 

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Source: E-mail December 6, 2010

          

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