The question of does NLP Work? This question should be avoided at all costs. Why? Because the very idea of NLP presupposes that there are ways to influence and change the way people think without their knowledge or active participation. In other words, it suggests that we can change the way people behave without their consent, and this is obviously not the case.
Before I explain the difference between NLP and Neuro-linguistic programming, I want to make it clear that NLP was not developed as a means of personal improvement. NLP was developed as a way to find out what made people more successful and then use these methods to enhance their performance in their given areas of expertise. It is much the same as the study of language, only with NLP you put forth a hypothesis and attempt to prove it right. If you are looking for someone to help you with personal issues, you would be much better off seeking a therapist or counselor than relying on methods like neuro-linguistic programming.
However, the premise behind both NLP and neuro-linguistic programming is the same – that we can learn to tap into an individual’s inner communication channels to affect change in them. By learning to listen to the inner communication of an individual, we can gain access to their deepest feelings, motivations, dreams and wishes. And by putting these desires into words, we can turn them into reality through language.
Now, you might wonder how a non-verbal communication could play into the hands of NLP practitioners. In fact, non-verbal communication is one of the most important aspects of NLP itself. The ability to effectively communicate through non-verbal means is crucial to all forms of personal development and change. It also plays into our ability to hear and understand the non-verbal communication of another person. NLP practitioners believe that through understanding the inner-workings of another individual, we can come to realize what drives them, how they view the world, how they deal with conflict and more.
The Truth Of NLP
What makes NLP so unique is its use of neuro-linguistic programming techniques and, importantly, its application of that technology to an individual’s neurological structure. Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, was developed in the late ’60s as a way to treat people with disorders of the language faculty such as stuttering, dyslexia, stammering and other types of impairments of thought and speech. NLP works under the hypothesis that we are able to glean information from the patterns of our bodily and vocal responses to specific kinds of stimuli. In essence, a neuro-linguistic therapist is able to look at the workings of someone’s mind using only their body’s responses, much like an expert neurosurgeon looks at a patient’s brain using only their eyes. In essence, the therapist has to go inside the patient’s brain and “read” it in order to create an effective treatment program.
NLP has been shown to be very successful in producing results for its clients. It is popular with both therapists and psychologists and has been used in a variety of different situations from self-help groups, to corporate training environments and seminars. There are many who question the effectiveness of neuro-linguistic programming, but there are many others who swear by it. Proponents of NLP include actors Michael Douglas and Denholm Elliott, as well as Jodelle Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus.
While there is certainly much evidence that supports the effectiveness of NLP, it is important to note that there is also much evidence that NLP may not work for certain people – and that those who experience success with it may simply be responding to a superior cognitive-linguistic training program. For example, those who have auditory/linguistic dysfunction are unlikely to have much success with NLP, while those who are highly verbal may respond well to NLP training. If you think that you have some particular aptitudes or skills that could benefit from NLP, however, you should look into taking an NLP training course.