NLP was developed in the early 1970s by an associate professor of linguistics, John Grinder and a psychology student, Richard Bandler at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
They had observed that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre.
They wanted to know the secrets of effective people. What makes them perform and accomplish things? They were especially interested in the possibility of being able to duplicate or model the behavior, and therefore the competence, of these highly effective individuals.
It was the golden era of modeling and simulation. They decided to model human excellence. They looked at factors such as education, business and therapy.
They then focused in on the communication aspect. They started studying how the successful people communicated (verbal language, body language, eye movements, and others). It was during this period of modeling the behavioural activity of Virginia Satir, the founder of Family Therapy, Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy and Milton H Erickson, a renowned Hypnotherapist that NLP was truly born.
By modeling their behavior, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were able to make out patterns of thinking that assisted in the subject’s success. The two theorised that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors and that this would bring about positive physical and emotional effects. What emerged from their work came to be known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
The basic premise of NLP is that the words we use reflect an inner, unconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, they will create an underlying problem as long as we continue to use and to think them. Our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
NLP is a therapy that utilises the analysis of words, phrases and non-verbal language such as facial expressions, eye movements, and body movements to gain insights into the physical and emotional state of an individual.
After identifying issues and disorders with the individual’s perception and inner unconscious processing patterns, an experienced NLP therapist will be able to help them understand the root cause. The therapist will then help the individual to remodel their thoughts and mental associations in order to fix their preconceived notions. These preconceived notions may be keeping the individual from achieving the success and results they deserve.
NLP will help them to get out of these unhealthy traits and replace them with positive thoughts, and patterns that promote wholeness and wellbeing.