Sometimes termed an "instruction manual for your mind", neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is interested in the way in which we think and process our thoughts (neuro), the language patterns we use (linguistic) and our behaviours (programming). It is also concerned with how these interact on us as individuals so as to produce either a positive or a negative effect.
Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed NLP in the 1970s. It includes a central methodology called ‘modeling’ as well as a huge and diverse set of other mental techniques. In fact, many of these techniques were themselves derived from the modeling of the work of three successful and celebrated psychotherapists of the time – Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls. It was in many ways an attempt to codify their individual methodologies.
Over the years, NLP has not always enjoyed a completely uncritical press. For one reason or another, some of its techniques have not always stood up to the riggers of intense academic scrutiny. Also, not all its practitioners have always displayed the originally positive intentions of its founders. For the purpose of their own personal gain, some have instead attempted to distort and alter NLP into something more negative.
Practiced ethically and within the strict codes of conduct as laid down by both NLP and Hypnotherapy professional bodies, its methodologies can be a safe and effective adjunct to many of the other techniques and practices in a hypnotherapist’s already diverse toolbox. They can be employed to good effect in conjunction with the practice of more traditional hypnotherapy, even at times producing an almost magical outcome for a client struggling with a particularly tricky situation.