Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

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Founded in 1975 by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) provides tools and skills for communication and personal transformation.

It is widely used in the fields of counseling, psychotherapy, coaching and training, management, health, education, marketing, and leadership. Often sportsmen and women use NLP techniques to enhance their performance.

According to Richard Bandler, NLP is “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.”

NLP was modelled on three of the most prominent therapists of recent times, Fritz Perls (the founder of Gestalt Therapy), Virginia Satir (founder of Family and Systemic Therapy), and Milton.H.Erickson, M.D. (founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis).

By studying these therapists and their consistent success with their clients Bandler, and Grinder identified key methods in their therapies, which they combined to create a successful methodology, called NLP, to help transform limited human perspectives, and sabotaging human behavioural patterns or programmes.

What is NLP?

The meaning of NLP lies in the name itself. Neuro-Linguistic Programming, as the name itself highlights, includes three most important components, which enable us to have a human experience: neurology, language, and programming. Our neurological system controls the nerve communication network in our physical bodies.

The language component determines our day-to-day communication and our relationships. The programming component in a way determines how our life goes, for programming is to do with our perspectives in life, which result in our creating unique mental maps and models of our world. They are the operating instructions that create outcomes for us in the world.

The NLP techniques were developed by understanding how the nerve communication network in our bodies influences our language and communication, and finally, how this programs our behaviour.

By understanding the principles behind these three components and their interconnections major transformations can be brought about in life.

NLP provides us with a framework for not only accelerating our personal achievement and success in various fields of our choice, but also, for self-discovery, and understanding the world and ourselves from a spiritual perspective. It is a solution-oriented therapy, which focuses on finding outcomes for people rather than dissecting their problems. The spotlight in NLP is on what works and thereby facilitate the change, rather than why it works.

Some foundational beliefs or key working guidelines of NLP are:

• Communication is more than what you’re saying.

• The body communicates constantly in ways that go far beyond words.

• People already have all the resources they need to effect a change.

• The resources just weren’t lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

• Choice is better than no choice.

• Every behaviour serves a positive intention and a context in which it has value.

• The behaviour may never lead to that positive intention but that part of you can learn new behaviours that do.

• There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

• Every response is useful, you may hate the response but the knowledge you gain from it is valuable.
• If someone can do something, then it can be modelled and taught to anyone else.

• That even includes me.

• No one is “broken”. They are functioning perfectly in what they are doing now (even if it is ruining their life), it’s a matter of finding how they function now, so that we can help them change into doing something they consider more desirable.


A key premise in NLP is the fact that “The Map is not the Territory”, meaning, the way we represent the world ‘refers’ to reality, and does not represent the reality itself. Reality can be multi-dimensional and we may not know it in its entirety. What we know are only our perceptions of reality.

Therefore, we don’t respond to reality. Instead, we respond to our perception of reality or our own mental map of reality. And finally what limits us in life too is not reality, but our own mental map of reality.

The “mapping” can transform naturally under stress or a distracting counter-example. Neuro Linguistic Programming seeks to change the mental mapping deliberately to bring about changes in an individual.

NLP is particularly useful in dealing with:

• Anxiety and stress

• Business relations

• Blocks in creativity (e.g. writer’s block)

• Blocks to excelling in sports

• Fears and phobias

• Personal Relationships

• Ill Health

NLP techniques are largely future-focused and explores choices, future possibilities and solutions, rather than digging up the past.

Here, at Breakthrough, Bangalore, NLP techniques are combined with hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Buddhist meditational techniques of healing, which delivers powerful and permanent results.

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