Consultation Skills

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

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What is NLP

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Neuro refers to your neural networks; Linguistic refers to language; programming refers to how that neural language functions. In other words, learning NLP is like learning the language of your mind!  It’s an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. NLP’s creators claim there is a connection between neurological processes (neuro-), language (linguistic) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming), and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.

Is there any evidence that NLP works?

According to Wikipedia:  There is no scientific evidence supporting the claims made by NLP advocates and it has been discredited as a pseudoscience.  Scientific reviews state that NLP is based on outdated metaphors of how the brain works that are inconsistent with current neurological theory and contain numerous factual errors.   Reviews also found that all of the supportive research on NLP contained significant methodological flaws and that there were three times as many studies of a much higher quality that failed to reproduce the “extraordinary claims” made by Bandler, Grinder, and other NLP practitioners.

But as many of you will know, when anything possibly good and new is discovered, it is then transmorphed into 101 applications and is then hailed as the miracle cure for everything!   And this is what many feel has happened to NLP.   Yes, there are NLP techniques which help with specific situations in the GP consultation – primarily because they overlap and concur with other psychological theories/therapies – such as helping someone to visualise success or good performance.  But other bits seem a bit far fetched!  Bandler and Grinder claim that NLP methodology can “model” the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire those skills.  They also claim as well that, often in a single session, NLP can treat problems such as phobias, depression, tic disorders, and psychosomatic illnesses.

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