Understand The Basics Of NLP

By Juan Reed

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the subconscious reasons for a patient's disorders - from depression to habit disorders and phobias. It was developed in the early 1970s based on the idea that there is a strong connection between internal thoughts and dialogue - beliefs and values - and external behavior and the general quality of a person's life.

To really understand the basics of NLP, one need look no further than the title - Neuro, of the brain, Linguistic, pertaining to language and speech, and programming, trained thoughts or behaviors programmed into our minds. These programs affect every part of our life and we need to correct those programs to make positive changes in our lives.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming began with the belief that there are certain trigger words and phrases a therapist can recognize in a patients speech to help effect change in a patients behavior. NLP practitioners believe that by helping to identify these words and phrases, they can help 'deprogram' patients by testing the deletions, distortions and generalizations in a patients responses. When a patient gives an NLP practitioner an answer that relies on generalizations - such as, "I feel depressed" - instead of a full answer - "I feel depressed because" - the practitioner recognized this and challenges it with targeted questioning - "Why specifically do you feel depressed?" "What happened to make you feel depressed?" "When did you start feeling depressed?" These target questions are designed to break through the patients' mental blocks and allow them to see the real problem clearly - to realize it, and then change it. These mental blocks are at the core of the NLP methodology.

By breaking through those self-imposed mental blocks, NLP helps both the practitioner and the patient have a deeper understanding of the root cause of the problem - in this case, depression. People naturally build these mental blocks through past experiences, beliefs and values that have developed over time. For this reason, it can be difficult to get through them as they mind seeks to protect them using the language we use and the words we use to respond to challenging questions. That is the reason we are more likely to say "I feel depressed" or "I am depressed" as opposed to choosing an answer that tells the listener why we are feeling that way.

NLP practitioners can identify the problem with the targeted questions we discussed earlier and isolate the program that is causing the feeling. Sometimes there is a specific trigger. What that trigger is will be different for different people. The goal in NLP is to uncover that trigger and use anchoring, perceptual positions, reframing, representational systems or sub-modalities to change the way the patient reacts to that trigger. - 32509

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