Blog post - What is NLP Really?

What is NLP Really?

Welcome to Freeborn Academy and an explanation of how to understand NLP.

What does NLP stand for?

It stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which can be something of a mouthful, so let’s start by breaking it down.

Neuro means your mind.

Linguistic is the language you use (in your head as well as out loud).

Programming is about the workings of your mind and how your language can impact that.

(Seems simple when you say it like that!)

Where did it come from?

It came from two guys in the States called Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who probably wanted to sound extra impressive by putting fancy words together to express their concept.

They had backgrounds in linguistics and computer programming and they came together to research human behaviour and different branches of psychology.

This was back in the 1970s when there was a big surge of excitement about the Human Potential Movement, which was basically people saying, ‘You know what? I think humans can do absolutely anything they put their mind to.’

And they weren’t wrong, but they didn’t know where to begin with figuring out HOW they could essentially ‘program’ their minds to be the best they could be.

So, Bandler and Grinder worked with different types of psychologists and therapists and saw how they got the results they did.

It turned out that even though there were lots of common approaches, there were therapists getting really great results by doing very different things.

It made them wonder if they could pull a bunch of various techniques under one umbrella and call it a new thing.

And so they did.

NLP was born.

When you come on your course, you’ll hear LOTS of names you might recognise, like Pavlov and Jung, and maybe some you’re not so familiar with…

But the one thing that brought all these approaches together was how useful it would be for changing thinking and behaviour and making people happier and more able to live up to their potential.

Is it the same as CBT?

CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is about recognising the negative thought patterns you’re having in the moment and implementing techniques you’ve learned to not let those thoughts take hold of you.

NLP is a little different – same result in that it deals with the negative thoughts and feelings you have, it just uses different processes to get there.

The point of it is to get to the root of the problem so that instead of dealing with bad thoughts in the moment, you nip it in the bud and stop it before it happens.

Okay, but what does it do?

NLP teaches you a few things: concepts, tips, and techniques.

When it comes to the concepts, this is theory work about how your mind functions, how emotions and fears or beliefs are created, and how that applies to you, your life, and your behaviour (as well as other people’s behaviour).

The tips are things to be aware of – if someone says a particular word or phrase, what does it really mean, and how can you respond better than you might have done in the past? What’s a way of telling if someone might be mad at you without having to ask them?

Techniques are really specific processes that you learn, which put the theory into practice and show you how to change problems that you might have: if you have a belief that makes you feel bad about yourself, if you want to stop feeling anxious before a presentation, or stop feeling afraid of flying or spiders, you learn specific techniques that help get rid of those problems.

Put all those things together, and you have an overall idea of what NLP is – it’s a bunch of useful stuff brought together that helps you think, talk, and act more positively and effectively.

For the most part, that means you can let go of the past you don’t need anymore, be more chilled and happy, understand the people you work and live with better, and believe in yourself more often.

I have more questions…

No problem! Get in touch and I’ll answer whatever you need to know!