Neuro-linguistic programming

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This article is about the personal development model. For the neuroscience, see neurolinguistics.
The neutrality and factual accuracy of this article are disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

One of a series of articles on
Neuro-linguistic programming

Main articles
NLP · Principles · Topics · History
NLP and science · Bibliography

Concepts and methods
Modeling · Meta model · Milton model
Perceptual positions · Rapport · Reframing
Representation systems · Submodalities
Positive intention · Well-formed outcome
Meta program · Neurological levels
Anchoring · Map-territory relation

Related principles
Empiricism · Subject-object problem
Subjective character of experience
Philosophy of perception
Cognitive linguistics · Metacognition

Richard Bandler · John Grinder
Gregory Bateson · Robert Dilts
Judith DeLozier · Milton Erickson
Virginia Satir · Fritz Perls
Connirae Andreas · Steve Andreas
Genie Z. Laborde · Frank Pucelik
Charles Faulkner · Tony Robbins

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Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a set of techniques, axioms and beliefs, that adherents use primarily as an approach to personal development. NLP was influenced by the ideas of the New Age era as well as beliefs in human potential. The initial ideas of NLP were developed around 1973 by Richard Bandler, a student, and John Grinder, a professor of linguistics, in association with the social scientist Gregory Bateson. The term "Neuro-linguistic programming" denotes a set of models and principles meant to explore how mind and neurology (neuro), language patterns (linguistic), and the organization of human perception and cognition into systemic patterns (programming) interact to create subjective reality and human behaviors.

NLP is predicated on the idea that our subjective reality drives beliefs, perceptions and behaviors, and that therefore behavior change, transforming beliefs, and treatment of traumas is possible.<ref name="frogs" /><ref name="reframing">Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1983). Reframing: Neurolinguistic programming and the transformation of meaning. Moab, UT: Real People Press., appendix II, p.171.</ref><ref name="structure1" /> Techniques based upon language patterns and body language cues derived from the observations of several therapists<ref name="frogs">Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press, 15,24,30,45,52..</ref> were described by the original developers as "therapeutic magic," with NLP itself described as 'the study of the structure of subjective experience".<ref name="sharpley87">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="nlpvol1">Dilts, Robert B, Grinder, John, Bandler, Richard & DeLozier, Judith A. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I - The Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience. Meta Publications, 3-4,6,14,17.</ref> They are predicated upon the principle that all behaviors (whether functional or dysfunctional) are not random, but have a structure which can be understood.<ref name="structure1">Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.</ref><ref name=purenlp>What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming.</ref>

Though NLP is currently promoted within psychotherapy associations,<ref name="lilienfeld">Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, Jeffrey M. Lohr (eds) (2004) Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology</ref><ref name="eisner" /> it is at times criticized as pseudoscientific<ref>Was Derren Brown really playing Russian roulette - or was it just a trick? by Alok Jha, October 9, 2003, The Guardian</ref> and for involving exaggerated claims, unethical practices,<ref>The Skeptic's Dictionary - neuro-linguistic programming</ref> and mass-marketed psychobabble.<ref name="williams">Williams, W F. general editor. (2000) Encyclopedia of pseudoscience: From alien abductions to Zone Therapy, Publisher: Facts On File, New York.</ref> NLP is considered by some psychology academics as fraudulent.<ref name="dylan">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="dryden">Dryden. W. 2001 Reason to Change: Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) Brunner-Routledge 0415229804</ref> Beyerstein, Lilienfeld<ref name="lilienfeld">(2003 p.133)</ref> and Eisner report that there is concern about NLP contributing to the spread of misconceptions about the mind and brain and NLP techniques being potentially harmful, and are concerned over government and business organizations and the public being duped into adopting NLP.


[edit] History and development

[edit] 1970s: Founding and early development, origins of the name

"Neuro-linguistic programming" denotes an interconnected relationship between mind and body (neuro), language patterns (linguistic), and the organization of those parts into systemic patterns (programming). Despite the possible different meanings of the words, it has no connection to programming, or neuroscience.<ref name="Tosey Mathison 2003"/>. It was co-founded and developed jointly by Richard Bandler and John Grinder under the tutelage of noted anthropologist Gregory Bateson, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during the 1960s and 1970s. Although NLP has interest in these areas, and Grinder was a linguist at the time when it was created. At that time the Californian human potential seminars were developing into a viable industry. Alfred Korzybski had influenced Gregory Bateson and several schools of thought, including those at Esalen in California, most notably, the map is not the territory and ideas about human modeling that were adopted by Bandler and Grinder<ref name="structure1"/>. Starting in 1972, the co-founders of NLP had an interest the exceptional communications skills of gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, family therapist Virginia Satir and founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, Milton H. Erickson. Subsequently Structure of Magic Series (1975) and Patterns of Milton H. Erickson (1976, 1977) were published using those therapists as models. In the late 1970s, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Robert Dilts, and David Gordon worked with the co-founders and separately to contribute to the development of NLP.

[edit] 1980s: Growth, spread, new developers, alternate styles, scientific assessment

With the 1980s, shortly after publishing Neuro-linguistic Programming Volume 1 with Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier, Grinder and Bandler fell out. Amidst acrimony and intellectual property lawsuits, NLP started to be developed haphazardly by many individuals, some ethically, and some opportunistically, often under multiple confusing brand names. There had even been some disagreement over who originally named the field, for example, critic Margaret Singer quotes Bandler as saying that NLP was "phrased on the fly from several book titles on the floor of his car one night when a policeman asked his occupation."<ref name="singer97">Singer, Margaret & Janja Lalich (1997). Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work?. Jossey Bass. 0787902780.</ref>. During the 1980s John Grinder developed a form of NLP called the New Code of NLP which attempted restore a whole body systemic approach to NLP. Richard Bandler also published new processes with submodalities as published in Using Your Brain: For a Change (1984). Meanwhile Anthony Robbins who taught NLP in the late 1970s began mass marketing products incorpoating aspects of NLP (renamed as Neuro Associative Conditioning). Other practitioners and trainers modified, renamed and developed their own variations of NLP, for example, Michael Hall offers NLP with Neurosemantics and Tad James with Time Line TherapyTM. While Tad James and Michael Hall are certainly well-known in the field of NLP, people like Judith DeLozier and Connirae and Stephen Andreas have been much more influential in its development. [citation needed] Given the multiplicity of developers and trainers, there was to be no single definitive system of NLP.<ref name="druckman">Druckman and Swets (eds) (l988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques, National Academy Press.</ref>

In the late 1980s research reviews by Sharpley (1984, 1987) and by the United States National Research Council gave NLP an overall negative assessment, following this, except for sporadic articles on NLP in different fields, there was a marked decrease in NLP research. Despite this, the use of NLP continued to grow.

[edit] 1990s: divisions, controversy, marketing, etc

[edit] 2000s: new fields, government regulation, legal actions, core techniques

While the NLP community has become splintered most NLP material acknowledges the early work of the co-founders, Bandler and Grinder, and the development group that surrounded them in the 1970s. Around 2001, the law suits finally became settled. During the 1990s, tentative attempts were made to put NLP on a more formal and better regulated footing, in countries such as the UK. With different authors, individual trainers practitioners having developed their own methods, concepts and labels, often branding them as "NLP":<ref name="skepdic">Template:Cite web</ref>, the training standards and quality differed greatly. Around 1978, NLP practitioner certification was set up as a 20 day program with the aim of training therapists to apply NLP as an adjunct to their professional qualifications. In Europe, the European NLP therapy association has been promoting their training in line with European therapy standards. The length of training varies from short hobby course, to 20 day course, to longer courses for trainers and professionals. Moreover the multiplicity and general lack of quality controls has also led to NLP labelled in unfavourable ways politically, for example in Germany, and confusing for consumers.<ref name="schutz">Peter Schütz () A consumer guide through the multiplicity of NLP certification training: A European perspective</ref>

[edit] Concepts and methods

Neuro-linguistic Programming is an eclectic field, and covers a wide array of aspects of personal development. There is less empirical or experimental support for these methods than comparable approaches, relying on anecdotal evidence for its efficacy [citation needed]. Its methods deal with issues ranging from reframing negative beliefs, to dealing with stage fright by reducing simple phobias, and more generally to communications, and motivational products. Some trainers offer techiques for psychotherapy or self-help that promise to reframe negative beliefs, depression, or addiction, at the same time model those who excel in performing business, sports, meditation or in rare cases even ESP.citation NLP as an approach to therapy has been frequently de-emphasized as the primary purpose for NLP. At the same time, others within the NLP community, consider therapy to be a core application, and advocate its importance. NLP and its techniques have been widely adopted for use in motivational seminars, adult education, and management and sales training, often being mixed with pop psychology, as well as other applications outside of mainstream.

[edit] Presuppositons

Main article: Principles of NLP

The philosophy of NLP can be summarised in the idea of Korzybski and Bateson that the map is not the territory. That is, rather than acting directly upon the world, we act based on our maps of the world. Because these maps are limited and do not always serve us, the job of an NLP practitioner is to increase choice and flexibility with these maps; and then in the world.<ref name="structure1"/> There are a number of aphoristic expressions, that is, expressions which serve to construct practical models for learning and communication. An example is that all human action has a positive intention; at some level even the most negative behavior is attempting to express some positive intention. While this may not be necessarily true rather it is useful to act as if it were true to arrive at what works based on feedback during interactions.<ref name="as if">Template:Cite web</ref>. This stance could be seen as anti-theoretical; at the same time, it encourages the individual to be responsible for their own learning by way of personal resources and by freeing up their impoverished maps of the world.<ref name="Tosey Mathison 2003"/> There are a number of these aphoristic expressions that encourage people to be responsive to feedback in communication, such as there is no failure, only feedback and the meaning of your communication is in the response.

Several expressions can be traced to specific models in NLP, such as Milton Erickson. Bandler and Grinder (1976) state that Erickson was able to build rapport his client by mirroring physical and verbal patterns; to model this requires that attention is placed primarly on the client's responses. They also borrow Erickson's notion of conscious and unconscious mind.<ref name="structure1" /> Bateson's influence can be found in map-territory, as well as systemic ideas that life mind and body are highly interconnected systems.<ref name="turtles">Grinder, John & Judith DeLozier (1987). Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius. Scots Valley, CA: Grinder & Associates. ISBN 1-55552-022-7.</ref><ref name="whispering">Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001.). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises, 127, 171, 222, ch.3, Appendix. -.</ref> and that multiple descriptions are better than one. The belief that behavior of exceptional people can also be modelled and learned has been extended from these notions.<ref name="nlpvol1" />

[edit] Core techniques

Though techniques vary between schools there are some core NLP techniques that are shared. In order to communicate more influentially, physical mirroring of posture, breathing or verbal mirroring of keywords, and sensory specific language (predicates) is used to facilitate and maintain rapport during a conversation.<ref name="Clabby 2005">John Clabby, PhD; Robert O’Connor, MD (2005) "Teaching Learners to Use Mirroring: Rapport" Journal of Family Medicine Vol. 36, No. 8 p.541</ref> Furthermore, language pattern techniques from the meta model, such as how specifically and what specifically are used to elicit information or define outcomes for a client in psychotherapy, or more generally for information gathering in conversation. The meta model question may be combined with general language and use of metaphor, to induce trance, pace belief, and make interventions.

Numerous techniques have been designed for refining goals, elliciting resource states, or reframing negative beliefs. Most of these techniques rely on manipulating thinking processes or sequences of representational systems. One such technique called anchor involves associating a resourceful state to a certain touch. This resourceful state is then attached to a problem context by thinking about the problem context as the resourceful state is triggered by that same touch. <ref name="Krugman 1985">Krugman, Martin, et al., (1985): "Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth?." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Aug, Vol. 53(4) pp. 526-530.</ref> Other techniques encourage thinking about different aspects of goals and objectives, for example in Robert Dilts' Neurological levels, strategic vision, spiritual aspects or other beliefs, as well as effects the proposed changes may have in the environmental context may be considered. <ref name="Craft 2001">Craft, A. (2001) The Ciriculum Journal Vol.12(1) pp.125-136</ref> Whereas John Grinder, in New Code of NLP prefers to use the more general pattern of perceptual positions which temporily engages the points of view of others in a relationship by stepping into the shoes of the others involved<ref name="turtles" />.

[edit] Representational systems

When people are involved in tasks, internal representations are being engaged at the same time. You may be making conversation, kicking a ball or riding a horse, visual, auditory, kinesthetic (and possibly olfactory and gustatory), sequences of representations are being activated to different degrees. These representations are either recalled or constructed. <ref name="druckman" /> A person will also give away cues by way of eye gaze, breathing patterns or verbal predicates, as to what representational system is currently being used predominately. Robert Dilts<ref name="diltsdelozier2000" /> summarises the cues as to what representational systems is being used in the BAGEL model:

  • Body posture (Head position, and lean)
  • Accessing cues (Changes in tone and tempo of voice)
  • Gestures (Timing, and position of gestures)
  • Eye movements (The direction of and movement of eyes)
  • Language patterns (Sensory specific language, for example, Visual: "to clearly understand" or Kinesthetic: "to grasp a concept")

Additionally, hemispheric differences (Lateralization of brain function) have been used to support representational systems in NLP. For instance, Robert Dilts proposed that eye movements (and sometimes gestures) correspond to visual/auditory/kinesthetic representations and thus to sides of the brain. It is claimed that eye movements to the left correspond with recalled memory, while eye movements to the right indicate construction. Representational systems are then connected to logic, analysis, and creative, imaginative duality.<ref name="patterns2">Bandler, Richard, John Grinder, Judith Delozier (1977). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume II. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications., p.10,81,87.</ref> Modern neuroscience indicates that early NLP's notions of neurology were overly simplictic in regards to these left/right brain hemispheric differences.<ref name="sala" /><ref name="diltsdelozier2000" /><ref name="drenth" /> The idea that people have visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles has little substantive evidence.<ref name="hines">Hines, Terence (1987). Left Brain/Right Brain Mythology and Implications for Management and Training. The Academy of Management Review, 12:4, 600-606.</ref>

Related presuppositions
  • Belief, objectives, internal state and strategies can be described in terms of the organization and sequences of internal representations; they then have a discernible and communicable structure.<ref name="nlpvol1" /><ref name="diltsdelozier2000" />
  • Since behavior and its substrates — internal state and strategy — can be imitated and then codified, a person's skill can be learned by others.<ref name="nlpvol1" />

[edit] Milton model

Main article: Milton model

NLP was in part derived from the work of Milton H. Erickson<ref>Gorton, Gregg E (2005). Milton Hyland Erickson The American Journal of Psychiatry. Washington. Vol.162, Iss. 7; pg. 1255, 1 pgs</ref> and subsquently, those who emphasise the therapeutic application often use terminology borrowed from Erickson. They focus on hypnotic phenomena, such as, the use of unconscious communications, therapeutic metaphor, post-hypnotic suggestion, pain control, age regression, and enhanced sensory perception.

[edit] Submodalities

Main article: Submodalities

A fundamental idea in NLP is that rather than responding to the world directly, we respond to our maps of the world. Internal imagery is a common theme in personal development, psychotherapy and sports; NLP adds to this the idea of submodalities<ref name="Tosey Mathison 2003">Tosey, P. Jane Mathison (2003) Neuro-linguistic Programming and learning theory: a response The Ciriculum Journal Vol.14 No.3 p.371-388</ref>, that is, the subjective size, location, brightness of internal imagery, the volume and location of internal sounds, and location and intensity of other sensations. A change in the submodalities will change the maps and then the way we respond in the world.<ref name="brain">Bandler, Richard (1985). [- Using your brain - for a change]. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books, -. -.</ref>. For example, the swish pattern is a visualization technique designed to change behaviors by switching (or swishing) the cue stimulus for an unwanted with the self-image doing a desired alternate behavior. <ref name="swishpattern">Masters, B Rawlins, M, Rawlins, L, Weidner, J. (1991) "The NLP swish pattern: An innovative visualizing technique. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Vol 13(1) Jan 1991, 79-90. " </ref> As with most techniques, the imagined consequences of any proposed changes are also normally considered within a framework of ecology.<ref name="swishpattern">Masters, B Rawlins, M, Rawlins, L, Weidner, J. (1991) "The NLP swish pattern: An innovative visualizing technique. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Vol 13(1) Jan 1991, 79-90. " </ref>

[edit] Cinema technique

Another well-known visualization known as the cinema technqiue (also know as, visual / kinesthetic dissociation or VK/D) whereby negative states associated to phobias are separated by playing the memory of the phobia backwards very fast<ref name="frogs" />. It has been promoted for treating trauma and phobias<ref>Williamson, Dr Anne (2004) "A Case of Driving Phobia Treated with Dissociative imagery." Contemporary Hypnosis Vol. 21, No. 2, 2004, pp. 86–92 </ref>. Professor Charles Figley, Director of the Florida State University Traumatology Institute, has included the cinema technique or VK/D as a "promising treatment approach"<ref name="figley99promising">Figley, CR, Carbonel J. (1999) Promising treatment approaches. Electronic Journal of Traumatology. Available online at</ref>. VK/D has had less support from Lilienfeld et al (1999) who maintains that VK/D are unvalidated.<ref name="lohr">Lohr, J.M., Lilienfeld, S.O., Tolin, D.F., & Herbert, J.D. (1999). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: An analysis of specific versus nonspecific treatment factors. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 13, 185–207.</ref>. Generally the techniques have little support in the psychological and experimental literature.

[edit] Techniques

The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.
  • Circle of Excellence: Standing in an imaginary magic circle, filling it with symbols and archetypes of choice, in order to banish negativity and enhance positive thinking for use in any NLP situation<ref name="dummy">Ready.R. and Burton.K (2004) NLP for Dummies John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0764570285 p.250</ref><ref name="hall2001">The Spirit of NLP, Hall, M. Crown House Publishing, 2001. pp.93-95</ref>
  • Perceptual positions: A situation is considered from different points of view of those involved, typically 1.self, 2.other, 3.a neutral observer, 4. a theoretical god's eye view.<ref name="turtles" /><ref name="diltsdelozier2000" />
  • The Swish Pattern: Repetitively interchanging negative mental imagery and positive imagery, often saying or imagining a "SWISSSHHH" sound in order to affect a behavior change<ref name="hall2001" /><ref name="brain">Bandler, Richard (1985). Using your brain - for a change. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.</ref><ref name="whispering" />
  • Visual / Kinesthetic dissociation: Imagining floating back and out of the body in order to diss-associate with a negative experience.<ref name="frogs" /><ref name=cancer>American Cancer Society</ref>
  • Rapport: Mirroring or copying somebody's body language, and representational language (VAK) in an attempt to gain trust and directly influence their subconscious mind (Bandler et al 1977p10).
  • Submodality modification: Deliberately changing the size, brightness, movement of internal images in an attempt to alter the impact of those images<ref name="brain" /><ref name=andreas1987>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Ecology

Particular awareness is given to what is termed 'ecology' which, in NLP, means the state of affairs surrounding any specific intervention. As a "client-oriented" methodology, the client's subjective perception is treated with respect, and to a large degree the client's developing perception of a problem or situation which provides the feedback and basis for guidance within NLP intervention. An essential principle in some NLP training, ecology involves showing an appreciation for other people's point of view. By being attentive to the requirements and requests of the people effected by proposed change and to take into consideration the other's position and circumstances in addition to one's own objectives, beliefs and desires about what is wanted. Explicit ecological checks feature in some NLP techniques, for example, the six step reframe specifically asks if there are any objection to proposed changes before continuing with the process. More generally, ecological thinking encourages the exploration of behavior and how changes in behavior might have flow on consequences in the environment or with other people involved. If there are any objections, alternatives may be found to to resolve the issues in some way.<ref name="frogs"/> The same process has been applied to business or business or conflict resolution and in this case could also be seen as a win-win philosophy. The term "ecology" (borrowed in the sense of "how disparate things co-exist in balance") is used to signify the careful checking needed to ensure that all aspects of a situation are taken into account, such as the well-being of others involved, the ethics of the work done, the beneficial nature of goals sought, any secondary gains affected, and so on.<ref> This usage can also be seen in Gregory Bateson's 1972 collection Steps to an Ecology of Mind, published around the same time NLP was being developed.</ref>

[edit] Modeling

Main article: Modeling (NLP)

Neuro-linguistic Programming has developed progressively since its early development by Bandler and Grinder (1979) to include the modeling of successful approaches of exceptional people in any field, together with a set of useful strategies for setting and achieving desired goals. As Bandler and Grinder state "the function of NLP modeling is to arrive at descriptions which are useful."<ref name="frogs"/> The purpose of modeling is to assimilate, through imitation, the behaviors of successful people, before transferring the skills to others or otherwise describing them. The aim of NLP modeling is to discover the elements of what the expert is doing that the expert is not aware of. <ref name="Jacobson 1994">Jacobson, S. (1994) "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" INFO-LINE, American Society For Training and Development, . Adapted from [1]</ref>

[edit] Reception of NLP

NLP has received mixed responses from the fields it encompasses and purports to help. NLP is becoming more established in business, self-help, psychology and counselling associations and has been encouraged and adopted by various governments and international agencies. The popularity of NLP has grown through it's public reception, and is said to have achieved a "cult status" in modern society <ref name="elich">Elich, M., Thompson, R. W., & Miller, L. (1985). Mental imagery as revealed by eye movements and spoken predicates: A test of neurolinguistic programming. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 622-625. </ref> (p.625).

Notwithstanding the large growth and spread of NLP, it has equally been criticized by some clinical psychologists, management scholars, linguists, and psychotherapists, concerning ineffectiveness, pseudoscientific explanation of linguistics and neurology, ethically questionable practices, promotion by exaggerated claims, and promises of extraordinary therapeutic results. Some reviews have characterized NLP as mass-marketed psychobabble.<ref name="drenth">Drenth, J.D. (2003). [Pieter J.D. Drenth (2003) Growing anti-intellectualism in Europe; a menace to science in ALLEA Annual Report pp.60-72</ref><ref name="williams">Williams, W F. general editor. (2000) Encyclopedia of pseudoscience: From alien abductions to Zone Therapy, Publisher: Facts On File, New York.</ref> Sanghera, a columnist for Financial Times (London, 2005) writes, "critics say NLP is simply a half-baked conflation of pop psychology and pseudoscience that uses jargon to disguise the fact that it is based on a set of banal, if not incorrect, presuppositions"<ref name="sanghera">Look into my eyes and tell me I'm learning not to be a loser, Financial Times, London (UK), Sanghera. [url=]</ref>

[edit] Research reviews

Some information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable.
Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.

Early research reviews have generally concluded that NLP has failed to demonstrate its claimed efficacy in controlled studies. Sharpley (1984) found no support for NLP techniques and models, for example, preferred representational system (PRS) and predicate matching.

However, Einspruch and Forman (1985) contended that Sharpley (1984) made a number of methodological errors in "a review of research on the preferred representational system".<ref name="sharpley84">Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.</ref> Firstly, researcher’s lack of full understanding of pattern recognition in an experienced NLP context. Secondly, there was an inadequate control of context. Thirdly, researchers were unfamiliar with NLP as an approach to therapy. In addition, there were inadequate definitions of rapport and numerous "logical mistakes" in the research methodology. Sharpley (1987) rebutted with additional experimental evidence.<ref name="sharpley87" />

This was followed by a report by United States National Research Council (a board of 14 prepared scientific experts), which found "individually, and as a group, these studies fail to provide an empirical base of support for NLP assumptions...or NLP effectiveness. The committee cannot recommend the employment of such an unvalidated technique"; they assert that "instead of being grounded in contemporary, scientifically derived neurological theory, NLP is based on outdated metaphors of brain functioning and is laced with numerous factual errors"<ref name="druckman" />

[edit] Mental health practice

Clinical psychologists and other professionals have used NLP techniques in applications to relieve mental distress in a health and social care context. There has been little scientific research conducted to evaluate these NLP techniques for use in psychological care and interventions (psychotherapy). According to Lilienfeld (2002) the majority of interventions in the psychotherapy and mental health context are unvalidated or scientifically unsupported which threatens to undermine the reliability of mental health practice; this criticism can also be extended to the use of NLP in the psychotherapy and mental health context.<ref name="Lilienfeld 2002"> (Lilienfeld 2002)Our Raison d’etre 2002 Vol 1(1) </ref>. A notable example is V/KD or the cinema technique which has been taught alongside other promising treatments in trauma workshops. Other so called "power therapies" led by Professor Charles Figley include Thought Field Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Emotional Freedom Technique and Traumatic Incident Reduction. These "power therapies" have been criticised for lacking substantive clinical support.<ref name="lilienfeld"/>. Devilly (2005) raised similar concerns for psychology and psychiatry.<ref name="devilly">Grant J. Devilly (2005) Power Therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry Vol.39 p.437</ref> Nonetheless NLP is used or suggested as an approach by some mental health bodies, including the National Phobics Society of Great Britain.<ref name="phobics">Cite web: National Phobics Society of Great Britain: List of treatments and help</ref> MIND,<ref name="assert">Cite Web:Mental Health Promotions: How to Assert Yourself(PDF)</ref> USU: Student Health and Wellness Center,<ref name="eating">Cite Web: USU The Student Health and Wellness Center: What are Eating Disorders?</ref> the British Stammering Association, the Center for Development & Disability at the University of New Mexico Center for autism,<ref name="autism">Cite Web: Center for Development & Disability at the University of New Mexico Center for autism</ref> and Advocates of Child Abuse Survivors<ref name="asca">Cite Web: Advocates of Child Abuse Survivors: Counselling and therapy</ref>.

Clinical psychologists have identified characteristics that help to separate unvalidated or scientifically unsupported approaches to psychotherapy from those based on the scientific method. NLP is an eclectic field and claims to be interested more in what works rather than what is true which in itself is a statement opposed to the scientific method. Proponents of NLP have used scientific sounding language, make exaggerated claims, and there has been a lack of peer reviewed literature, while relying on testimonial and anecdotal evidence.<ref name="krugman">Krugman, Kirsch, Wickless, Milling, Golicz, & Toth (1985). Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth? Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. Vol 53(4), 526-530.</ref> Furthermore, there has even been suggestions that NLP may be an untestable theory<ref name="sharpley87" />. NLP is also based on some of Freud's most flawed and pseudoscientific thinking that has been rejected by the mainstream psychology community for decades<ref name="eisner" />

[edit] Commercialization

NLP has also continued to be marketed as a science. This is especially evident in the popular titles such as NLP: The New Technology of Achievement. It is also evident in some marketing and advertising of NLP.<ref name="cap">Stop smoking claims by hypnotherapists</ref> Clinical psychologist Margaret Singer criticises NLP for appealing to science to raise its profile, stating that "none of the NLP developers have not done any research to prove their models correct though NLP promoters and advertisers continue to call the originators scientists and use such terms as science, technology and hi-tech psychology in describing NLP"(p.172). Steve Salerno is more critical of NLP, portraying NLP as simply part of the self-help movement. Salerno uses the acronym "SHAM": the Self-Help and Actualization Movement and describes self-help as ineffective and potentially socially harmful.<ref name="salerno">Steve Salerno (2005) Sham: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, ISBN 1-4000-5409-5</ref>

Corballis argues that "NLP is a thoroughly fake title, designed to give the impression of scientific respectability. NLP has little to do with neurology, linguistics, or even the respectable subdiscipline of neurolinguistics".<ref name="sala">Corballis, M. in Sala (ed) (1999) Mind Myths. Exploring Popular Assumptions About the Mind and Brain Author: Sergio Della Sala Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons ISBN 0-471-98303-9 p.41</ref> Psycholinguist Willem Levelt states that (translated into English by Pieter Drenth) "NLP is not informed about linguistics literature, it is based on vague insights that were out of date long ago, their linguistics concepts are not properly construed or are mere fabrications, and conclusions are based upon the wrong premises. NLP theory and practice has nothing to do with neuroscientific insights or linguistics, nor with informatics or theories of programming".<ref name="drenth" /><ref name=levelt>Willem Levelt (1996) Hoedt u voor Neuro-Linguïstisch Programmeren! Skepter Vol.9(3)</ref> In the skeptics dictionary, Robert Carroll states that it is impossible to determine a "correct" NLP model.<ref name="skepdic" />

[edit] Implied religiosity and spirituality

Of NLP, Sociologist and Christian scholar, Stephen J Hunt says "it is a technique rather than an organised religion and is used by several different human potential movements" yet that it has an "implied religiosity".(p.195).<ref name="hunt">Hunt, Stephen J. (2003) Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction ISBN 0-7546-3410-8</ref> Skeptics have described NLP as simply a "New Age" development, especially given its apparent lack of empirical evidence, but this also has religious connotations.<ref name="Beyerstein 1990">Template:Cite journal</ref><ref name="Lilienfeld 2002">Template:Cite journal</ref> For instance, NLP practitioners have attempted to model spiritual experiences, which are inherently subjective, lacking in scientific support. Regarding spiritual practices, Dilts states that John Grinder was influenced by Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan<ref name="diltsdelozier2000">Dilts & Delozier (2000) The Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP </ref> in developing the "double hypnotic induction, perceptual positions", and "moving energies into other realities" (p.143). At the same time Grinder contends that any venture into personal beliefs of "spirituality" in psychotherapy or NLP would be an ethical violation. <ref name="whispering"/> Dilts' 'Neurological Levels of Learning' are sometimes associated with the chakras with spirit linked to the crown chakra. David V. Barrett (2001) states that "the brief biographies of NLP Trainers usually give the names of the people they have trained under, this could be seen as similar to new Eastern origin religions tracing themselves back through a progression of gurus"<ref name="barrett">David V. Barrett (2001) The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions Available online from Google Books.</ref>(p.434), he states in his work The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions, NLP is not included as a religion; it is described as a technique or series of techniques, or a process. It is used by some religions, and NLP as a philosophy does exhibit some characteristics which are sometimes found in some religions, but "overall the balance comes down against it being labelled as a religion."(p.26)<ref name=barrett/>

[edit] Manipulation and ethical concerns

NLP is sometimes referred to by journalists and researchers as a kind of cult or psychocult.<ref name="singer95" /><ref name="novopashin">Novopashin, A (2004) Totalitarian Sects and the Democratic State in International Conference in Novosibirsk: 9-11</ref><ref name="rekaunt" >Michael Sommer (1998) Esoterischer Spuk oder effektive Lehrmethoden? </ref><ref name="langone93">Michael D Langone (Ed). (1993.). Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. New York, NY: W W Norton & Company. -.</ref><ref name="tippet94">Tippet, Gary. "Inside the cults of mind control", Melbourne, Australia: Sunday Age, 3 April 1994.</ref><ref name="eisner" /><ref name="sharpley87" />(dubious) A German educational authority banned the use of NLP in their area and stated that it has a close similarity to Scientology.<ref name="rekaunt" />[citation needed] NLP has also been described by Margaret Singer as a commercial cult, and has been criticised within the business sector for being coercive.<ref name="singer95">Singer, Margaret (1995). Cults in Our Midst : The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace. New York, NY: Jossey Bass. ISBN 0-7879-6741-6.</ref>

Critics say NLP is adopted as a pretext for applying ritual, authority control, dissociation, reduced rationalization, and social pressure to obtain compliance or to induce dependence.<ref name="langone93" /> According to Devilly (2005) it is common for pseudoscientific developments to set up a granfalloon in order to promote in-group rituals and jargon, and to attack critics.<ref name="devilly">(2005 p.441)</ref> Ethical concerns of NLP’s encouragement towards manipulation have been raised by exaggerated book titles such as The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP and NLP the New Art and Science of Getting What You Want. In contrast, therapy and coaching fields require an ethical code of conduct (eg: Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia Ethical Guidelines).

In addition, Beyerstein states that "ethical standards bodies and other professional associations state that unless a technique, process, drug, or surgical procedure can meet requirements of clinical tests, it is ethically questionable to offer it to the public, especially if money is to change hands"[citation needed]. Salerno has criticised NLP for unethically encouraging the belief in non existent maladies and insecurities by otherwise normal individuals [Quote from source requested on talk page to verify interpretation of source]. For example, Salerno highlights a contradiction in Tony Robbins divorce given that Robbins had been a proponent of NLP and had marketed products for the "perfect marriage"; this has disenchanted followers of Robbins.<ref name="salerno">(Salerno 2005)</ref> Drenth (2003) explains that NLP is driven by economic motives and "manipulation of credulity" of clients, and explains that "often pseudoscientific practices are motivated by loathsome pursuit of gain". Drenth clarifies this with reference to the well known "financial exploitation of the victims of scientology, Avatar and similar movements".

[edit] Human resources

Human resource experts such as Von Bergen et al (1997) consider NLP to be inappropriate for management and human resource training <ref name="Von Bergen 1997">[2] Von Bergen et al (1997)</ref>[citation needed]. Druckman and Swets (1988) found NLP (specifically matching representational systems) to be ineffective concerning influence, however the idea of modeling of expertise appeared to have merit<ref name="druckman" />. Within management training there have been complaints concerning pressured adoption of fundamental beliefs tantamount to a forced religious conversion.<ref name="singer95" /> [Quote from source requested on talk page to verify interpretation of source]

[edit] Education

  • Craft (2001) suggests that NLP takes an social constructivist approach to learning theory whereby instructors have to adapt to the role of facilitators and not teachers.<ref name="Craft 2001">Craft, A (2001) Neuro-linguistic Programming and learning theory Curriculum Journal V.12(1) pp.125-136</ref>. In this approach the students take responsibility for their own states, and learning experience.
  • Beyerstein<ref name="Beyerstein 1990"/> states that a method should be supported using controlled studies before it is applied in education.

[edit] Notes and references

<references />

[edit] Further reading

  • Andreas, Steve & Charles Faulkner (Eds.) (1996). NLP: the new technology of achievement. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-688-14619-8.
  • Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books. ISBN 0-8314-0044-7.
  • Grinder, John & Richard Bandler (1975). The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books. ISBN 0-8314-0049-8.
  • Dilts, Robert B & Judith A DeLozier (2000). Encyclopaedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding. NLP University Press. ISBN 0-9701540-0-3.

[edit] See also

[edit] Philosophy relevant to NLP

[edit] Academic subjects relevant to NLP

[edit] Other topics

[edit] External links

[edit] Associations

[edit] Research

[edit] Skeptics

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