NLP began when Richard Bandler and Michael Grinder adapted
therapeutic tools and communication patterns used by Fritz Perls,
Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and others, to provide a toolkit
of methods for rapid personal change.
Ecology of NLP Strategies . Ecology of NLP
The founders of NLP described it as "the study of
the structure of subjective behavior", which assumes that
subjective behavior (behavior which cannot be directly observed, e.g.
thinking, planning and remembering) has strategies and structures which can
be studied and modeled.
The primary developers, Bandler and Grinder, did not define the
theoretical aspects of NLP. This allowed other people to introduce a
huge amount of unnecessary ideas and/or irrelevant concepts into the
NLP toolkit. I have seen NLP trainings advertised for
increasing sales, seduction, hypnotic marketing, magic, intuition,
better sex and more.
Students may say a NLP course was wonderful - until they gain enough
experience and competence to evaluate its consequences and compare it with others.
Martyn's first NLP course
was with Greg Cheatwood, a Tony Robbins fire-walk wannabe. Martyn told me that
he enjoyed that course - but that when he met higher quality trainers, he
identified and kicked out a lot of ideas that had been installed as
post-hypnotic suggestions during that first course. Since then Martyn has been
allergic to trainings which hypnotically install obsessions and compulsions.
Advertisements for NLP training are usually well written and can
be alluring. Yet NLP training can be extraordinarily manipulative.
In a world of illusions, NLP trainers can claim high positions
for exploitation ... and for manipulating themselves as much as they manipulate
Somebody once asked me, they said,
"Isn't NLP manipulative?" and I said,
of course it is." Richard Bandler (from
NLP Practitioner Certification
In case you're wondering, I was certified as a NLP practitioner.
But NLP certification does not imply competence in any skill.
On graduation, some of my certified NLP classmates still lacked even basic communication skills. The only meaningful tests I
encountered were my ability to pay and whether I had paid.
Check the training of a NLP trainer! Was the trainer
certified by email or by some audio program? Was it in a short
"accelerated hypnotic learning" course? Check
who certified the trainer. Check who certified the certifying
agency. You probably won't like what you discover.
Check the NLP trainer's experience. Many trainers' entire
experience seems to be assisting other NLP trainers ... with
no practical experience in the 'real' world. It is worthwhile
enquiring - who has paid this person to work for them
... for doing what?
Check the NLP trainer's beliefs and values. Read whatever he
or she has written ... is it easy to understand? ... is it
tedious repetition of the obvious? ... or is any meaning
buried within psychobabble or systemic voodoo?
There is no central organizing body for NLP. Many
advertisements for NLP include statements like, "Trainer Registered with
the Association of NLP (ANLP)" or "Certified by the British Board of NLP
(BBNLP)". But registering with these or similar bodies has little or
no meaning. There are only two genuine NLP training organizations - the
Society of NLP and International NLP Training.
Hence NLP is difficult or even impossible to regulate. While
organizations try to play leapfrog to gain credibility as
professional bodies for NLP practitioners, few
certificates do more than please students and impress potential clients.
NLP training seems to attract
people. A question in a NLP Master Practitioner exam was,
"Describe how you covertly used a NLP technique
in a social setting."
Do you want to manipulate people? Are you passive aggressive?
On top of this, many new NLP skills are older techniques
relabeled and repackaged. Many more are copied and pasted from other disciplines
and called great NLP discoveries. Caveat emptor!
Many NLP Practitioners who have attended our master
level trainings have told us that their practitioner level trainings were
inadequate. They did not know how to coach people to define goals and could not check
relationship ecology (the consequences of a specified change on important relationships!)
But relax, in most places, students get certified
no matter their competence. It's too expensive and time consuming for NLP trainers
not to certify paying students. Most certificates indicate at best that a
person kept a chair warm for a requisite number of hours. A NLP certificate does
not indicate a person's knowledge or competence.
What's Wrong with NLP training
Your Emotional Health
NLP works ... NLP techniques can change your beliefs and
values. And if you don't like the results, it can be hard to undo the damage.
Many NLP techniques provide ways by which people can dissociate (not feel
/ not experience / dis-integrate ) emotions that support beliefs and
values using a variety of dissociation and hypnotic techniques that are
as self-control and willpower.
If you are considering attend NLP training, ask if the trainer
practices unconscious installation of competence and skills (that is,
hypnosis). If the answer is, “Yes”, consider leaving now.
Unconscious installation means that you will not know what is installed during hypnotic programming. Do you want to feel
compelled to carry
out unknown post-hypnotic commands?
NLP Training & Relationships
The NLP training and so-called NLP therapy that I have witnessed
tended to be egoistic and often passive aggressive. It may harm
or damage student's and client's relationships.
Much NLP training appears to be oriented towards sales,
negotiations and seduction. If winning at all costs fulfils your
ideal of a relationship skill ... then NLP may be for you.
Martyn's Soulwork originated in part as a quest to resolve two
inter-related aspects of NLP coaching: Goal Definition and
Many NLP trainers proclaim competence in these two topics, so it is
worth checking their claims.
I have yet to see a NLP trainer or 'master' demonstrate goal
definition or ecology during Martyn's courses, although Martyn has asked many
NLP trainers and masters (as they like to call themselves) who attend his courses if they
demonstrate their claims or their skills. (See
The core presuppositions of NLP vary from trainer to
trainer. Strangely, the opposites of NLP presuppositions more often seem true. Much depends
on how you define meaning, communication and
- You cannot not communicate.
- There is no failure, only feedback.
- Every behavior is useful in some context.
- Behind every behavior is a positive intention.
- Having choice is better than not having choice.
- People already have all the resources they need.
- If one person can do something, anyone can
- The meaning of a communication is the response
- If you aren’t getting the response you want,
try something different.
- In any system, the element with the most
flexibility controls the system.
In the real world, few people communicate well, many
people behave in weird ways, and many people lack essential resources,
including genetic, educational,
economic and nutritional resources.
NLP & Hypnosis
It seems that most people often use short trances. Most people can intensify these trance states in themselves or in
others, using guided imagery, relaxation, deep breathing, meditation,
self-hypnosis or hypnotic inductions.
the intentional induction, deepening, maintenance and termination of natural
trance states for specific purposes. Medical hypnotherapy is to reduce suffering, to promote healing, or to help the person alter a
People who practice hypnosis, unless they are medical
doctors, cannot claim to treat or to cure medical problems, unless
requested by a medical doctor. Otherwise, they risk legal charges of
practicing medicine without a license.
NLP & Ecology
An ecology check seems to be taught in most NLP
courses - perhaps asking people, "What could go wrong if you make
this change?" Some NLP trainers teach that this eco-check
is supposed to remove the chance of unpleasant consequences and even
the need for long-term follow-up. Not likely!
See NLP Ecology
Redefined by Annegret Hallanzy
Some NLP Trainers
Richard Bandler is a
co-founder of NLP with John Grinder and is known in the NLP community
for his funny, very direct and often offensive teaching methods.
John Grinder has a background in linguistics and
transformational grammar. He studied the language patterns of some successful
therapists - Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Dr Milton Erickson.
Robert Dilts has authored many books and articles about
how to use NLP to enhance leadership, creativity, communication and team
Tad James teaches NLP,
hypnosis and Huna, usually in Hawaii. He is known for his accelerated hypnotic
learning courses and for what he calls Time Line Therapy (although at
least two other well known trainers claim credit for discovering timeline
Heidi B Hottinger teaches NLP in
Schaffhausen, Switzerland, for NLP Foyer (Ausbildung für
Persönlichkeitsentwicklung). Heidi plans to open a NLP seminar center
in Spain specializing in team and managerial training.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright ©
Jan Sikorski 2004 All rights reserved