Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior”. The co-founders Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder claimed it would be instrumental in “finding ways to help people have better, fuller and richer lives”. They coined the title to denote a supposed theoretical connection between neurological processes (‘neuro’), language (‘linguistic’) and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (‘programming’) and that can be organized to achieve specific goals in life.

NLP was originally promoted by founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s as an extraordinarily effective and rapid form of psychological therapy capable of addressing the full range of problems which psychologists are likely to encounter, such as phobias, depression, habit disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, and learning disorders. It also espoused the potential for self-determination through overcoming learned limitations and emphasized well-being and healthy functioning. Later, it was promoted as a ‘science of excellence’, derived from the study or ‘modeling’ of how successful or outstanding people in different fields obtain their results. It was claimed that these skills can be learned by anyone to improve their effectiveness both personally and professionally

NLP has influenced private psychotherapists, including hypnotherapists, to the extent that they claim to be trained in NLP and apply it to their work. It has also created an impact in management training, life coaching, and the self-help industry.

NLP can be applied in the following areas:

  • Counseling, coaching, and therapy to accelerate changes with clients by looking at the process that underlies a particular pattern of emotion or habit
  • Education and training to promote and accelerate learning and memory. NLP is also a valuable tool when it comes to training and teaching design methods
  • Personal development to remove negative emotions and patterns and promote confidence and self-esteem. NLP also has tremendous application in goal setting.
  • Business to promote good communication and negotiation strategies including sales and management skills.
  • Sport to enhance performance.
  • Parenting, learning how to foster good, clear communication with your children right from the start.
  • Communication, to acquire excellent communication skills.


Internationally there are four recognized levels of NLP

  1. Practitioner of NLP
  2. Master Practitioner of NLP
  3. Trainer of NLP and
  4. Master Trainer of NLP

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