Neuro Linguistic Programming
Have you ever felt that bringing about a change in behaviour is extremely difficult and one that you can not do? There are a lot of instances in life when one seems to be stuck in old patterns of behaviour, and the options to change don’t seem to work.
Neuro – Linguistic - Programming (NLP) is a method that aims to provide options for change in behaviour.
The word ‘neuro’ refers to the fact that all our habitual responses have been ingrained in the neurons of the brain. While ‘linguistic’ refers to those words that trigger the neurons, thus producing the resulting behaviour. ‘Programming’ refers to the restructuring of the existing patterns in the brain with healthier ones. In other words, it helps us understand how we can interpret our subjective experiences such that the outcome is positive.
Who started it?
It was started by Richard Bandler, an information science and math graduate and Dr. John Grindler, a linguistics graduate. They started it as an attempt to study the communication skills and methods adopted by people who were considered great communicators and agents of change. They studied famous people like Virginia Satir (developer of conjoint family therapy), Milton Erickson (worked for the advancement of clinical hypnotherapy) and Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt school). NLP has come a long way since then.
What does it focus on?
NLP focuses highly on the development of the right brain, a part responsible for abstract thinking, emotions and spirituality. This side has been largely ignored in favour of the left brain activities like analytical thinking, logic, organisation, control and rationality.
Universal Modelling Processes
According to cognitive psychology, we are constantly attempting to select, generalize, delete, distort and change reality by interpreting reality through our past experiences.
- Generalization is a process by which we believe that something that happened once will always happen again.
- Deletion is when we pay attention to only specific aspects of the experience more than the rest.
- Distortion is a process that enables us to create our own image of the reality in our mind like fantasy, dreams etc. these 3 are known as the universal modelling processes which result in the inaccurate subjective experiences.
Image 1.1: This image gives a clear idea of how one perceives reality
What are the advantages of NLP?
- It helps establish a better rapport with others.
- It provides a sense of heightened sensory acuteness i.e. we are more aware of the information that all our senses seem to be acquiring about something.
- It enables improved focus on the final outcome and not on factors that did not go as per plan.
- It provides us with the creativity to deal with the challenges of everyday life i.e. to quickly try something else when your current method is not working.
An understanding of how we perceive the world helps us reorganise our experiences and accurately understand reality. According to NLP if one finds someone very inspiring, then one can model oneself on that person and learn the desired qualities.
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