The Importance of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Self Help

The Importance of Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Brain in hand

Communication among humans is based on language. Language is the medium through which people can express their feelings and emotions. Communication can be verbal and non-verbal. Sometimes people are unaware of how lasting impact language can create in people’s lives. The way people talk to themselves and others decides their perceptions and actions. Change in language can change the entire perspective of person’s life. In addition, for doing this Neuro-linguistics can work. Neuro-linguistic programming was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who believed it was possible to change behavior through working on language.

Let’s first discuss why it is important:

Why to use Neuro-Linguistic Programming:

  • Those who practice NLP analyze their own and other perspective to create a systematic overview of one situation. By understanding a range of perspectives, the NLP user gains information.
  • It helps in finding and strengthening skills that serve you best and in developing new strategies to replace unproductive ones.
  • NLP involves analyzing strategies used by successful individuals and applying them to reach a personal goal.
  • Produces fast, lasting results and improves understanding of cognitive and behavioral patterns.
  • NLP also seeks to build effective communication between conscious and unconscious mental processes to help people increase creativity.
  • Helps you to stay resourceful during stressful situations and find better ways or choices (behavioral flexibility) hence improving problem-solving skills.
  • Enables you to manage your internal emotional state.
  • Helps you to overcome blaming tendencies.
  • Helps you become a more influential member of your team or family.
  • Helps you heal the source of the problem and has less chance of relapse.
  • Gives a positive outlook toward life. NLP assumes all human action is positive. Therefore, if a plan fails or the unexpected happens, the experience is neither good nor bad- it simply presents more useful information.

Why Some Highly Successful Therapists Were Able To Consistently Achieve That Success?

When people look back into the history of mental health treatment (counseling and therapy) they will realize that some of the therapists were very successful in their therapy sessions. Names of such therapists are:

  • Fritz Pearls (Gestalt therapist)
  • Virginia Stair (Family therapist)
  • Milton Erikson (Hypnotherapist)
They were successful because they identified:
  • The words they used
  • What questions they asked
  • Changes in voice tone
  • Changes in body posture and physiology
  • What do they listen out for when talking to someone?
  • How they structured their language

All these elements plays an important role in therapy. They were practicing these elements which were known to lesser people. They were also aware about a deeper level of Information processing in the human mind.

What Is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

  • Neuro: the nerve communication network in the human body.
  • Linguistic: the language you use to speak to yourself or others represents our MAP of the world.
  • Programming: the operating instructions that create an outcome/ create a new process to change how we think and act.

This methodology was developed from studying and understanding the connection of HOW the nerve communication network in our body (Neuro), is connected and reflected in the language we use (linguistic) and HOW this affects the way we behave (programming).

This programming can be affected by
  • Modeling: When we understand the process of how we do something we can repeat that process to achieve the same results.
  • Behavior Change: changing the process of how someone does something is known as creating behavior change.

In simple words, Neuro-Linguistic Programming is used for understanding and changing human behavior pattern.

How NLP works?

People perceive the world through senses and collect those experiences as data in their mind. These data guides their perception two the world. People are exposed to 2 million bits data per second. The human mind cannot process this much data at once so it uses few ways to reduce the amount of data. These methods are Generalization, deletion, and distortion. By doing this the amount of data comes to 134000 collages. This leads to the creation of a library of information in mind. Whenever people experience any situation they compare the experience with the existing data and create meaning of the experience accordingly. Meaning of experience create emotions and leads to action or response.

In Neuro-linguistic programming Therapist target the Reduction process of information (Generalization, Deletion and Distortion) and this changes the person’s ways of perceiving the information and behavior pattern. Therapists can do this process with the help of presuppositions.


Presuppositions are Attitudes, we carry for excellent results.

The objective of using presupposition:
  • Counselors adopt this NLP presupposition into their thinking to gain empowerment and also to enable them to work with the client in the best possible way to achieve their objective.
  • It helps us to work on our subjective representation of mental world and in creating necessary change to reach the goal that, we want to achieve e.g. Improving relationships, “Helps in reframing subjective experience”.
  • Behind every behavior is a positive intention. (destruction/smoking)
  • There is no failure, only feedback. (curiosity/judgment)
  • People work perfectly to produce the results they are getting e.g. depressing internal state. (Change in strategy and content leads to different or new results)
  • The meaning of your communication is the response that you get.
  • We have all the resources we need. (we can produce the result we want)
  • People respond to their MAP of reality, not reality itself. (MAP is not the territory)
  • To change your response, you have to change your MAP.
  • The choice is better than no choice. (Energy flows where your attention goes)

META Model

A Set of questions designed to specify information, and challenges and expand the limit to a person’s model of the world. This Model explains, how people create faulty mental maps of reality and works on the distortion, generalization, and deletions in the speaker’s language.
The meta-model draws on the transformational grammar and general semantics, the idea that language is a transformation of the mental state into words and that in this translation, there is an unconscious process of deletion ( not every thought is said), distortion (assumption and structural inaccuracies), and generalization ( a shift towards absolute statement).


Mind Reading: Mind reading violation occurs when someone claims to think they know what another is thinking without verification.


  • You don’t like me.
    Challenge: how do you know I don’t like you?
  • I know you consider me an indecent guy.
    Challenge: how do you know I consider you an indecent guy?

Complex equivalence: complex equivalence draws an unrelated conclusion from an event to create a logic that does not follow. Where two experiences are interpreted as being synonymous.


  • She always shouting at me, she does not like me.
    Challenge: have you ever shouted at someone you liked?

How does her yelling mean that she?

  • My secretary left the job, I’ll be bankrupt by the end of this year.
  • Challenge: how does she leave their job?

Lost performance: make reference to an action, but the person who performed the action is unspecified.


  • It’s bad to get angry
    Challenge: who said this?

How do you know that?

  • It’s bad to be inconsistent.
    Challenge: who says it’s bad?

By gathering evidence one can recover the source of belief, the performance strategy for the belief.


Universal quantifiers: Occurs when someone attempts to characterize an entire set such as all, every, never, everyone, no one, etc. This NLP Meta model question can be used when someone is generalizing too broadly,


  • She never listens to me.
    Challenge: Never? What would happen if she did?
  • All people with brown eyes are cleaver.
  • No one loves me.
  • Everyone in the waiting room had at least one complaint against the doctor.
  • This process recovers counter-examples, effects, and outcomes.

Model operator

Model operators of necessary: As in should, should not, must, must not, have to, need to it is necessary.


  • I have to take care of her.
    Challenge: What would happen if you did /didn’t?
  • I must put myself together.
    Challenge: what would happen if you didn’t?

Model operation of possibility (or impossibility): As in can, can’t, will, may/may not, possible/impossible.


  • I can’t tell him the truth.
  • What would people if you did? (what would happen if you didn’t not?)
  • What prevents you (what would happen if you did)


Simple deletion-some information is missing in a statement.


  • I am not comfortable with this.
    Challenge: Not comfortable about what?
  • That guy is an idiot.
    Challenge: What do you mean by an idiot? Why is he an idiot?
  • You just don’t understand.
  • What specifically I don’t understand.
  • We are getting close.
  • Getting closer to where?

Comparative deletion: what is being compared is not specified. Words such as better, best, less, least, worst, more, bigger, lighter, smaller, very,and even.

  • Meta model challenge
  • Better than who or what specifically?
  • Compared to whom or what specifically?
  • Do you believe in equality?
  • Equality about what? What type of equality? In what context?

Unspecified referential index: Unspecified referential index refers to the use of personal pronouns when the context is based on a proceeding sentence.


  • They say I should go into business, but I don’t know if I have the confidence.
    Challenge: who is it that says you should go into business and or/ what do you mean by confidence?
  • Yeah, I have tried alcohol before. It makes you say foolish things.
  • Does it make everyone say foolish things?

Language declares the idea of the world and idea of the world declares the language we use. By using language therapists can bring change in a person’s psychology.

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