Neuro Linguistic Programming is a change process that focuses on results, using the power of full communication. In order to explain the whole of NLP we need to first define what each of the parts mean.
Neuro means neurology, but it also goes beyond that. We incorporate the mind (neurology), the body (physiology) and the emotional/spiritual self to communicate with your whole being. This allows us not only to affect the concious part of you, but also the unconcious.
Concious and Unconcious
Our minds have been likened to an elephant and its rider. The rider being the conscious, and the elephant being the unconscious. The rider can guide the elephant and give it commands. Yet if the elephant really wants to do something different can the rider stop it? This works for us as humans too. Our conscious mind can direct us and make the logical decisions. Yet if our unconscious mind doesn’t agree it will do as it feels.
The conscious part of us is the part of us that allows us to stand out within the animal kingdom, the logical side of ourselves. I’m sure you’ve sometime in the past made a “conscious decision” to do, or not to do, something, or “thought about something” before you decide. That is the conscious part of us making a decision and the part we can all communicate with to a certain level. When we start to learn something we use the conscious mind, and have to “think about it”. For instance when you learnt to drive, if you drive, you would have had to think about how to make the car go, how to depress the clutch, how to make the car accelerate. Once you didn’t have to think about changing gear that had transferred to the habitual part of you, your unconscious.
The unconscious is what’s left, our habits, or the part of us that “just does it” without conscious thought. This is by far the biggest part of us, and also the most powerful part. This is where our physiology plays a major role, as our body is programmed to respond in our personal habitual way. As we are now working with the “elephant” here we can make the change at a core unconscious level, and change the habits easily and effortlessly.
Linguistic means using our language. The immediate thought would be that this means the words we say, but again the NLP meaning goes way beyond that. We know, from research that Albert Mehrabian undertook in 1971, that the words we use are only 7% of our total language (so purely talking therapies are only 7% effective), 38% is the tonality of our voice, and 55% is our body language! Therefore when we use NLP to make change we make use of tonality and body language to effect change. No you don’t have to be a genius at maths to realise that by using 100% of our potential for communication is going to be far more effective than using the 7% of just our words. That’s the difference that make a difference!
Think of a computer program, it tells the computer how to respond to user actions that are taken. Basically we are made up of a collection of programs that make us respond in certain ways to external events. They are often set up from childhood, but can be changed at any time during our lives. These include many of our thoughts, habits, reactions and behavioural patterns. Some of these patterns, or programs work well for us, but some of them cause us problems and pain. The great news is that those programs that don’t work so well for us can easily be changed!
So, when we use our entire communication to program our neurology, we can make change with lightning like speed, and make change that can stay with us permanently. In many ways using NLP is like having a personal trainer for the mind. Just as a personal trainer, or coach, helps you to grow your body in the way you want (and get rid of the bad bits you don’t want), we can help you to grow your mind in the way you want (and help you get rid of the bad bits that hold you back).