by Eric.R
9 replies
This is obviously open to interpretation. There are many branches of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming tree, and perhaps even more offshoots... It seems every guru has their own definitions and opinions these days.

I've been studying NLP and hypnosis for around 4 years now. I've studied under many people here in NYC and I've tried to grab a little bit of everything that seems to work. I've also studied the original NLP works, such as Frogs into Princesses.

I've begun to realize something that I wanted to share with you guys. There's an overwhelming amount of information out there. I think many of us know this, at some level or another. If you go on YouTube, you can find thousands of videos on hypnosis, EFT, reframing, pacing, eye access cues, trance, inductions, and a host of other topics...

A lot of people don't even know the basic premise of NLP. And what happens? They get lost, overwhelmed, lose interest in practicing and learning, and become demotivated.

I've found that when you understand the basic premises of NLP and its foundation, the rest of it (the tools, technologies, patterns, etc.) come very naturally...

The very basic premise of NLP is simple. You may or may not have heard it before. I'm sure a number of you have. If you haven't, that's okay too. It's "The map is not the territory." Everything else that follows in NLP is supported by this understanding.

Allow me to explain.

NLP takes a radically different approach to therapy and working with the mind. It doesn't make an attempt to "fix" or understand the "why"... That's all very complicated and isn't all that important for change... It attempts to understand the "how" of our behaviors. What is it we to get ourselves so stuck? What do we think? What images come into our head? How do we feel?

Most schools of therapies here in the United States try to uncover the "why", thinking that there's a "standard" way to fix things for people. This just isn't the case.

This is because our map is not the territory. Our understanding of the world is not made up of what the world actually is. Our subconscious mind, the deeper level of our mind, works with symbols... Our sense of the world is built upon a series of representations. When we think of something, we don't think of what it actually is... We think of our own representation of it, and everything we feel, think, imagine, visualize, etc. is simply a symbol representation of that concept. Practitioners of therapy obviously don't have the same representations as us!

NLP is taking this premise and working with it. How can we work with ones representations of the world? How can we shift them around, play with them, explore them, make them work, destroy them, reorder them, turn them upside down, rightside up, etc.?

This concept of representations is essential to actually making NLP work for you.

Lastly, a lot of patterns in NLP take practice. They may not work the first, second, or third time around the way you want them to. This is because most of these patterns induce a certain trance, and a new trance is a new state of mind... And a new state of mind is unfamiliar to our mind. It takes practice because it's new! It can be scary at first for some. It can be "no!" until we practice it and become used to it. Then we begin to understand "ahh..." and we see how the resources all fit together, nicely, one after another, and the pattern begins to make sense. This is when we begin to see results.

Hope this helps in some way.
  • Profile picture of the author Ralf Skirr
    Originally Posted by Eric.R View Post

    NLP is taking this premise and working with it. How can we work with ones representations of the world? How can we shift them around, play with them, explore them, make them work, destroy them, reorder them, turn them upside down, rightside up, etc.?
    Very good observation.

    It wouldn't be workable though without another main concept of NLP: modeling.

    That is what NLP essentially does to figure out the maps (representations) and how people change internal maps.

    Actually I think modeling therapists was there before the presumptions / presuppositions about map and territory were explicitly added to NLP.

    The map-territory premise itself is not an NLP invention. It was created by Alfred Korzybski and further promoted by Gregory Bateson. And through Bandler's/Grinder's relationship with Bateson it came into NLP.
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  • Profile picture of the author happyme
    Wow, there is really alot of knowledge embed in here. I really do understand because I have an interest and considerable knowledge in this field. I would like to read alot more from you.
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      While I don't understand everything that is being talked about here, I hope that this thread stays alive. I understand that in NLP there has been significant departures from the individual who started the movement (if it can be considered a movement), and there is a lot of interest on the part of practitioners to return to the purity of the original teachings. But conceptually, I don't know enough about NLP to contribute to this discussion.

      I do know that it is something I'm extremely interested in, which is why I hope folks who know more than I do, contribute to this thread to keep it going.

      Thank you to Eric, Ralf and happyme for posting.
      > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
      Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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  • Profile picture of the author emmndi
    Quite some information there. Thanks.

    backpacking in Kenya

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    • Profile picture of the author Eric.R
      Thank you for the replies guys. I'm glad my post is helping out a little bit. If I have enough interest, I may write a little guide to learning NLP from the ground up... This would allow beginners to really grasp NLP and use it effectively, without having to go through hours of training.

      As I've said, it helps enormously to understand the foundation of what NLP is built upon. When you understand this, the tools really click into place. Without it, the tools simply won't work very well. You'll have a lot of hit and misses.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisKahler
    Also, you can think about what NLP stands for in a literal sense. Neuro Linguistic Programming. Programming of our neurons (the mind) using language.

    The word programming is important, and one way you can relate NLP to people that don't quite understand it is by using a comparison of the mind to a computer. I know this has been mentioned, not ground breaking revelation here, but you could still stand to gain an insight from this.

    NLP is a process designed to influence people. Influence can only happen when a person has been motivated to take an action they deem beneficial to them, either on a conscious or subconscious (where it gets tricky) level.

    It's important to realize that we act according to our perception of what we encounter, hence your comparison to symbolism. Our perception is essentially made up of our representation for everything we experience through our senses.

    For an NLP practitioner, they can be looked at as a "mind computer programmer". The mind is the PC that the programmer will influence. The same way a computer runs is how our mind does: with an operating system.

    Our mind's operating system is the overall combination of standards, ideas, morals, and beliefs we have that formulate our general perception of the world. This perception is only a recollection of every experience that we have cataloged in our sub mind, and we draw from that recollection of experiences inadvertently throughout the day.

    The programmer using NLP understands that the mind works this way. To influence the mind of someone they create a "software application" which acts as a new perception installation. The process of installing this perception utilizes a new set of actions, which are introduced as the "next step" for an "install wizard" of that perception.

    Speaking in literal terms, the NLP programmer simply creates perceptions in a person's mind by asking questions, fishing for the right answer. They have their "install wizard" preplanned according to how the person already thinks. You can't install certain software on certain operating systems. The same goes for the human mind.

    They understand that, therefore each "install wizard" will take different people through perceptions differently, according to their previous belief system.

    Now the goal of the NLP programmer is to get commitment on a consistent basis. With each part of the "install wizard" of this new perception answered according to how they have preplanned, the individual is building up a commitment to stay consistent with the previous steps.

    The end goal is to "finish the installation" which in essence is your last request, or "call to action" of the person you are influencing for whatever reason.

    The whole process is done through the creation of perceptions that drive people from one point of agreeing to the next, and the next, until they are beginning to see a benefit in this new perception. Using consistency and a commitment to that consistency for following through every "next step" question set up for leading a person on, they get that much closer to being fully influenced.

    If they end up not following through with the final action, the NLP programmer will revert back to a previous step and re frame the perception until one is created that works with the final follow through "finish installation" step.

    Thats my theory / analogy for explaining how NLP works.
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  • Profile picture of the author tk226
    Eric, Initially I was about to miss the reading because NLP doesn't go well with me, but when I read you've spent 4 years to know it - I thought, wisdom must be coming from you in a filtered manner and indeed it served my purpose. Thanks for making us understand that The map is not the territory by Alfred Korzybski
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      @ChrisKahler, really helpful post. Thank you for posting. This posting is fascinating for its ramifications.

      I've been a tad overwhelmed w/ the current discussions regarding NLP, the students who claim Bandler as the founder, and the unhappiness by the Bandler students with NLP, as it's currently being taught.

      I looked into the founding of NLP, and here's what I found (this is copied from

      NLP Co-founders

      NLP was started by John Grinder, a linguistic professor, and Richard Bandler, a mathematician, at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), around 1975.

      At the time, Grinder and Bandler were students of Gregory Bateson, a British born psychologist and anthropologist teaching at UCSC. Bateson and Milton H. Erickson, the most important hypnotherapist, are the two figures who gave the biggest influence to the birth of NLP.

      Bandler was then deeply involved in Gestalt Therapy, and modelled Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt. NLP was born when Grinder and Bandler published, in 1975, their first book entitled "The Structure of Magic, I", in which they presented a set of explicit tools, by means of which one can achieve the excellent performance level of such therapeutic wizards as Perls, as well as Erickson and Virginia Satir, an authority of family therapy.

      Since then, Bandler has invented "brief therapy" type techniques which cure severe phobias and/or get schizophrenics back to social life. His main contribution is the invention (or rather discovery) of "submodalities techniques", and his recent work is based on the combination of these techniques and hypnosis. When Guhen Kitaoka was trained and trained as NLP trainer by Richard Bandler in Munich in 1995, his personal discussions with Bandler revealed that his "submodalities techniques" are based on his own long study of holography, and its application to how our brain functions.

      John Grinder was a transformational linguist, and, in Guhen's opinion, considerably contributed to the theoretical development of NLP. This orientation of his was made particularly clear when Grinder and Judith DeLozier held a series of their joint workshops entitled "Prerequisites to Personal Genius" at the end of the 80's. (A transcript of part of this series is found in "Turtles all the Way Down".) In their workshops, Grinder presented a series of "Personal Editing" techniques which are extremely powerful tools for changing our mental patterns, enabling us to achieve what we really want.

      So to the folks here who are knowledgeable about NLP, is the above info, an accurate history of the founders of NLP and its early history?
      > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
      Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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  • Profile picture of the author umairsheikh2002
    Very nice articles. Enjoyed reading, also saw alot of my reflection in it
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