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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Special Topics > Neuro-Linguistic Programming
      Category : Health Centers > Mental Health (Mental Disorders)

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Alternate Names : NLP

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is the study of how people think and experience life. The goal of NLP is to aid in problem solving. NLP tries to help people solve problems by looking at how the person defines a problem.

NLP takes into account a person's beliefs, attitudes, and strategies used in decision making. It also looks at how a person will respond to situations and problems. By looking at these aspects of human behavior, practitioners of NLP can help a person figure out new ways to approach problems, in order to solve them. An NLP practitioner works with people to study the structure of their personal experience.

What is the information for this topic?

NLP grew out of research in cognition, or the quality of knowing, as well as research in the areas of language, psychology, computer science, and anthropology. NLP was first developed in Santa Cruz, California, in the early 1970s. It has expanded and been redefined many times since then. NLP studies how the brain processes language. It also looks at how people use systems and language to deal with life's problems.

NLP makes these basic assumptions:

  • The mind and the body are part of the same system.
  • Every behavior has a positive intention.
  • All behavior is useful in some context.
  • All the resources we need are available in our own psychology.
  • Human interaction is always systematic.
  • The meaning of one person's communication to another is reflected in the response of the other person.
  • There is no failure, only feedback.
  • "If it is possible for someone, it is possible for me."
  • "I am responsible for creating my own experience, and I am responsible for what happens to me."
  • NLP has studied people who do things well and developed concepts by looking at:

  • the structure and processes they used to achieve a given task
  • their beliefs and attitudes
  • their use of resources
  • how they handled difficulties
  • NLP then built a model to help people think through the way they do things. The model also helps people apply new solutions to problems they may have. NLP assumes that if one person can do something well, then others can also be taught to do something well.

    NLP seems to work well for people who suffer from phobias or fears. By studying people who do not have a certain fear, the person with a phobia can learn from them. The person's responses, beliefs, and values can be changed to reduce or remove the impact of the phobia.

    A variety of models are used to help people adjust to situations. These models help people examine what they do now and what they might do differently. The following 5 senses are closely examined:

  • visual, or sight
  • auditory, which processes sound
  • kinesthetic, responsible for touch and feelings
  • gustatory, or taste
  • olfactory, or smell
  • NLP considers the whole sensory experience to help the person make changes. The more real the memory or the representation, the greater the person's ability to understand and change. Practitioners use a variety of models that help them assist others in making changes. The models help the practitioner ask the right questions. They also help practitioners gauge physical feedback to a stimulus or experience. People are guided through experiences without interfering with their memory or process. A number of different models can be used. Some use talking or hypnotherapy, and some are assisted with computer programs.

    NLP techniques have been used:

  • as therapy
  • as a self-help program
  • as a method to improve learning, athletics, or sales techniques
  • as a way of questioning to recognize and improve communication and problem solving
  • NLP continues to be developed and aligned with other fields. In NLP, the workings of the brain are studied in order to see what can be learned. The goal of NLP is to imitate human excellence in order to improve behavior.

    Author: Terry Mason, MPH
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 06/07/01

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