Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) recognises that the way in which we receive, process and respond to situations can affect the outcome. By utilising our ability to programme our communication and neurological responses in particular ways, we can achieve (or improve the chance of achieving) the outcomes we desire. So, as long as you know what you want, and can verbalise what you want, NLP allows you to move towards that goal.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It has been around since the 1970’s when Professor John Grinder and Richard Bandler PhD noticed that the best communicators exhibited similar unconscious traits both internally and externally. By analysing these traits, deciphering their structure and teaching them to others who did not exhibit them, their communications improved – as did their outcomes. NLP has often been called the ‘study of human excellence’ as it enables everyone to employ strategies to improve their abilities to achieve positive outcomes.

NLP is so-called because it involves the nervous system which receives information through our senses. Different people analyse the same signals differently, depending on which of our senses dominate our learning patterns and whether the response is positive or negative, but NLP allows you to learn the best ways to respond to signals. Language is a key way in which we respond to experiences, allowing us to give them meaning and programming is the human ability to organise our lives to achieve goals and results. Humans do not do anything unintentionally although actions may be mediated by the unconscious so we are unaware we are doing them.

By consciously moving ‘towards’ something you do want there is positive intent. NLP allows you to check that the journey towards that goal and the goal itself is something which will make you happy. And that you see a series of positive benefits along the way.

NLP recognises that the mind can exhibit different emotional states, depending on the situation and stimulation received. For example, we can be calm, energised, angry, curious, encouraging or disapproving. We also respond to the mental states and behaviours of others, and, because we are all interconnected as spiritual beings, we can influence other people’s mental states. Like hypnotherapy, NLP recognises that we respond to particular situations (known as ‘anchors’ in ‘NLP-speak’) in specific ways – not always positive ways, either! For example, you might be someone who gets irritated by the top being left off the tooth-paste; it’s totally irrational to most people, but to you it’s very important, because it is the way your mind thinks. But NLP enables the mind to change its state and therefore to change attitudes.

Even though the most dreadful things can happen, some people are able to disassociate themselves from them as if they were just watching themselves from a distance, so the negative emotions stirred up by the event doesn’t affect them. But with others, they can practically relive awful occurrences with all the associated feelings flooding back to them. NLP allows you to disassociate from things you don’t want to remember (e.g. painful events) and get a true perspective on things and to associate with things you do want to remember (e.g. happy events) and therefore live life in the here and now. Used under hypnosis, NLP is a very powerful tool in helping you rid yourself of unwanted behaviours and habits caused by negative events and replacing them with good, positive emotions.