Neuro Linguistic Programming

NLP, derived from cognitive science, is a study of structure of subjective experience, which explains how we make sense of information incoming from our environment.

  • It informs us how we combine what we see, hear and feel with our pre-existing internal knowledge.
  • It also predicts our emotional responses and behaviours in certain situations.
  • It instructs us how to modify or completely change them.

NLP Image, neuro linguistic programming

As thinking and speaking is our conscious self-programming, our unconscious mind runs these reinforced or newly acquired programs for us unconsciously. Mistakes made on the way are only the signals telling us that it’s time to change the thinking and speaking that generates doing, because doing more of the same produces more of what we do not want and this would not be intelligent thinking.

NLP technology can help you to reprogram your nervous system thus giving you control over it. You could enable yourself to influence your autonomic and immune systems. Taking control of your thinking and thinking on purpose, controlling your emotions at the same time produces intelligent decisions.

NLP Meta Programs, by John David Hoag, determine which of our perceptions are selected for attention. Meta Programs are mental processes which manage, guide and direct other mental processes.

In other words, they are processes about or at a higher level than (meta to) the mental processes they affect.

Here are some of the basic NLP Meta-Programs

  • 1. Being motivated Towards the pleasure or Away from pain
  • 2. Having External or Internal Frame of Reference
  • 3. Matched or Mismatched Response to the Speaker
  • 4. Immediate or Repetitive Convincer Strategy in Sensory Sub-Modalities of VAKOG Modalities
  • 5. Acting from a Perception of Possibility vs. Necessity
  • 6. Having Independent, Cooperative and Proximity Working Styles

Every mental habit, fixed idea, state of mind, intended or automatic behaviour have their own strategy/program, which is stored within the Whole Mind-Body System.

Each program, has been coded in a specific sequence, thus forming a strategy, using modalities/elements of vision, hearing, feeling, self-talk, smelling and tasting, with emotions attached to them, all operating automatically and unconsciously.

NLP Practitioner is able to extract the sequence of each strategy by observing the eye movements and listening to the speaker’s language patterns uttered during consultation. This information would be used to modify our thinking process, that in turn would change our emotion, which subsequently would influence our action or behaviour.

NLP Image 2, programs, strategies, eye movement, representational systems, neural drivers

Each Representational System for Seeing/Visual, Hearing/Auditory, Feeling/Kinaesthetic, Smell/Olfactory and Taste/Gustatory has distinctions or consists of sub-sets as building blocks to encode, structure and give meaning to our experiences.

These sub-sets are called sub-modalities and are used to create different meanings for us, e.g. different kinds of beliefs or likes and dislikes. For example, sub-modalities of Seeing/Visual Representation System include colours, shades, contrast, size, shapes, structures, forms, brightness, contours, texture, location, distance, speed of motion, etc. Sub-modalities for Hearing/Auditory System include range of distinct sounds, their tonalities, pitch, amplitude, etc... and so on.

They are also called neural drivers that profoundly affect us on physiological level. They are powerful and effective means of changing the meaning of our experiences. We can use them to modify or change old strategies to make them more effective, or to redefine our goals to make them achievable.

The more attention we pay to these sub-modalities, the more specifically refined meaning of our experience becomes. The finer our distinctions, the more clearly and creatively we can design our future.

Another way for NLP Change Work involves so called Anchoring. Anchor is a “Stimulus - Response”. This means associating an internal response with some external or internal trigger so that the response may be quickly re-accessed. For example, auditory anchor indicates that the unconscious mind learned to equate the specific tone of voice and the specific locus with that specific mental state.

Collapsing Anchors is the process in which one dissociates him-/herself from the negative mental state and associates to the empowering positive and resourceful internal state of mind, and then collapses the negative emotion of the initial mental state with the accessed resource that blasts through it. And there is more to it…

NLP Image 3, anchoring dissociation association and conditioning

Supporting the Methodology of NLP Change Work is the NLP Meta Model, which has been derived from the work of Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski who developed a model of communication based on the premise that the map is not the territory.

Korzybski elaborated on the concept of language operating on two levels of surface structure where everything we say to ourselves and other people, and deep structure containing all that has neither been expressed nor consciously known to us.

NLP Meta Model is a set of language patterns that reconnects the deletions, distortions and generalisations that occur in everyday language use on the level of Surface structure with the Deep structure experience that generated them.

In other words, the Meta Model is a systematic way to increase choice in people’s lives. Each person experiences reality and codes it with the use of language. Language exists on two levels:

- The Deep Structure – the full linguistic representation of the experience within the person and

- The Surface Structure – the way a person represents the experience to others.

If the Surface and Deep Structures match they are said to be synonymous, if they don’t they are ambiguous. The purpose of the Meta Model is to retrieve information from the source of ambiguity, so that Surface and Deep Structures match one another.

It started as a therapeutic technique for recognising how a person's thinking was causing difficulties in their lives. For example, what a person is saying is probably based on a belief which they may have had for a long time. Being able to guide a person in gently examining such beliefs can have a quite significant impact on their lives.

Examples of NLP Meta Model usefulness are:

  • Gathering information
  • Clarifying meaning
  • Identifying limitations
  • Giving choices
  • Bringing someone out of trance

Milton Model, based on work of late Dr Milton Erickson, is the Inversion of the Metamodel very useful in influencing people in the process of creating a therapeutic change. It uses the same psycholinguistic processes that Meta Model does, but for a purpose of creating a trance state, thus opening the door to positive suggestions being accepted by the unconscious mind while bypassing critical factor. Generalising, Deleting and Distorting debunked by Meta Model can be used to divert one from a specific fixed negative state and generate other more useful interpretations for it. The Milton Model also uses synonymy, homonymy and metonymy, presuppositions which are linguistic assumptions and logical arguments, slights of mouth, reframes and various other grammatical functions. For example, “Your unconscious mind is a store house of all your memories, skills and resources, so your unconscious mind knows more than your conscious mind does and if your unconscious knows more than your conscious knows about, then you really know more than you think you do.” In another example, you could be told: “You can pretend anything and master it, because you can pretend anything and you can pretend that others believe it too, but don’t be fooled by that…”
Dr Milton Ericksonn

There are also four basic Perceptual Positions in NLP tool box.

- First Position is your own fully associated Perceptual Position as you, yourself, experience it.

- Second Position is the Perceptual Position of an 'other' to enable oneself to understand how the ‘other’ perceives the situation in consideration.

- Third Position is that of a fully dissociated neutral observer, who evaluates the situation involving you and the ‘other’.

- Fourth Position is a ‘non-position’ when one allows oneself to quit conscious thinking and feeling for the sake of being nowhere in particular and everywhere at the same time.

The 4th position entails being everywhere and nowhere beyond the time… in the state of mind which allows bi-directional flow of information between you as a point of attention and the outside of you, and gives a chance to your unconscious mind to process information without conscious interference and come up with something new

enriching your existence as the point of attention manifested in the physical plane within the matrix of quantum field.

Perceptual positions, observer, self, other and non-position

Assuming each of four positions in turn allows us to resolve the intra- and inter-personal issues through expanding our current awareness of Surface structure and allowing the Deep structure to reorganise itself and come out with the resolution.

We can also use the NLP technique to alter the relationship to time to change the way we think about the past or future experience. We can remain in the time or outside of the time line, we can access the experience from its end instead of the beginning and this would permanently change the way of experiencing the memory of it.

This would generate new feelings and behaviours as the result. We can re-write our personal history using Time Line technique invented by Tad James……

We can stop re-creating what we don’t want to feel, or what we don’t want to do over and over again, if we modify the strategies that outlived their usefulness. We can actually change our reality and our experience of it simply and easily by replacing dysfunctional programs with new ones. Doing that would enable you to overcome many obstacles and help you to get what you want, because when we change the way we think we can change our whole life by opening the doors to many new possibilities for your experience changing.

(Michael Hall NLP UK, John Overdurf, CAC, Julie Silverthorn, MS, Neuro - Energetics, PA)

Doors to opportunities, choices, decisions

And there is much more to NLP Methodology and Techniques than that …