The history of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, begins in the 1970s, with the work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder.

Who is Richard Bandler?

Richard Wayne Bandler, born February 24, 1950, is an American author and co-inventor (with John Grinder) of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Creator of Conceptual Engineering of Human Engineering (ICGH) (Design Human Engineering (DHE)) and Neuro Hypnotic Repatterning (NHR).

Bandler has a Bachelor of Arts (1973) in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and a Master of Arts (1975) in Psychology from Lone Mountain College, San Francisco. To learn more about Richard Bandler, please click on this link: Richard Bandler

Who is John Grinder?

John Grinder is an American linguist born January 10, 1940. He is the co-founder with Richard Bandler of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the 1970s.

Doctor in linguistics, a professor at the University of Santa Cruz. He gained scientific experience at George Miller’s cognitive psychology laboratory where he was a research master at Rockefeller University in New York.

Author of 14 books, he just co-wrote with Carmen Bostic St Clair Whispering in the Wind. To learn more about John Grinder, please click on this link: John Grinder

I – History of Neuro-Linguistic ProgrammingNLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming


These two psychologists met at the University of Santa Cruz, California. Bandler, who was also a mathematician and computer scientist, was in training to get his doctorate in psychology, and Grinder was a professor of linguistics.

They study the procedures of Milton Erickson (psychiatrist), Virginia Satir (family therapist) and Fritz Perls (psychotherapist), three great therapists of international fame. They identify, describe and decipher the techniques of the therapists who have worked, and make it a model usable by all. It is Richard Bandler who is behind the modeling of successful behaviors. It is from this research that they found a new discipline. They believe that men can all achieve the same results by learning the proper process.

Shortly after, they publish together two volumes of “Structure Of Magic”, which present a process to determine how a person represents the world. This linguistic technique, called the meta-model, accesses the deep structure of the person. It is largely based on John Grinder’s work on transformational grammar. Initially, the models are based on linguistics, but soon other tools are emerging.

In 1976, when Richard Bandler, then a student, and the linguist John Grinder invented the term “NLP”, their approach was only in the field of psychotherapy, drawing inspiration from the work of other psychotherapists, including Fritz Perls, Milton Erickson, and Virginia Satir. Around 1980, these designers are exploring other skills specific to other areas such as creativity, sports, management, pedagogy, and communication. If the first models described in NLP, such as the metamodel, are linguistic, they are followed by other imaginative techniques that would make it possible to identify and change the sensory mental representations of a subject. According to Monique Esser, Robert Dilts’ model of logical levels offers the possibility of a more global analysis of problems and a coordinated organization of NLP techniques. The third generation of developments tends to emerge and corresponds to changes in human groups.

The term “programming” corresponds to the various mental programs, conscious and subconscious. “Neuro-linguistics” combines the brain, the nervous system, and verbal and non-verbal language. NLP seeks to relate sensory perception and the internal state of a person to the linguistic approach.

Richard Bandler defines NLP as: “a brain education, a kind of user guide”.

NLP is primarily concerned with the functioning of a process, the “how”, unlike other disciplines that focus on the content, the “why” and are explanatory. It is based first of all on the experience of the person and considers that the failure does not exist, that there is only the “feedback of experience”: the failure during a situation makes it possible to have experience, and the experience will allow you to react better the next time the situation arises. This is the principle of feedback. NLP helps to improve a person’s way of communicating with others and allows them to get to know each other better and to assert themselves.

It was through the observation of people considered as a model of excellent interpersonal communication, learning, and change that they were able to develop models that gave birth to NLP. Certainly, we are curious to ask ourselves such a question: How is NLP defined?

II – Definition and Role of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Definition of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming

NLP or Neuro-linguistic programming is a methodology that claims to “act on behaviors through language,” developed by Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder in the 1970s in the United States. More precisely, it is “a practice and a psychotherapeutic model that finds its origin in the formalization of communication and clinical practices of some exceptional therapists”, because NLP tries to model the success strategies of recognized experts in order to transfer them to other people.

In other words, NLP is one of the behavioral techniques of the human sciences based on the basic premise that “there is a structure in every behavior of people that we can model, learn or change”.

It apprehends communication in the broadest sense, it is interested because it allows to grasp and modify the way individuals learn, change and develop. In its decomposition, the concept can be defined as follows:

• The notion of programming refers to the internal process:

Our thoughts influence our identity and shape our behaviors. What the majority of people are or are not able to do is directly related to this internal program. NLP decorates these partially unconscious mental programs in order to improve or modify them. It thus releases new capabilities, new resources that allow us to achieve our goals.

• The notion of Neuro refers to the brain:

This programming is based on our neurological activity. Thinking is based on perceptions. What we have in our minds passes first through the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell; and our internal feelings. All the information in this sensory system is then encoded by brain neurons.

NLP uses our sensoriality to implement new strategies, highlighting the constant interaction with mind and body.

The notion of Linguistics refers to language:

Language (which includes body language) reflects and structures the way we perceive, feel and think. Language allows us to communicate but also to perceive the world. It influences our thoughts, determines our moods, our behaviors and the results we get. NLP observes how with the language the person builds his experience of the world.

In view of the definition of NLP, its role is, therefore, from this hypothesis, to observe skills and to decode them, to experiment them to create efficient models. It is based on the description of external sensory perceptions, internal sensory representations and the modeling of these mental and physical strategies.

Role of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming

NLP seeks to describe and then reproduce effective behaviors, a method called modeling. To the first models discovered by Bandler and Grinder are added protocols observed in other therapists. NLP is also based on assumptions and a set of techniques for describing and acting on subjective experience.

NLP aims to improve communication between individuals, to improve personally and tends to become integrative psychotherapy, that is to say, that seeks to integrate in a practical way the contributions of different theories. Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy (NLPT) brings therapeutic practice closer to NLP. What are the fields of application of NLP?

III – The Fields of Application of NLP

NLP is defined as the science that studies human excellence. According to Parrouty: ”

– It decodes what thinks, feels and does by someone who is an expert in his field.

– It draws concrete, simple and effective techniques to reproduce these skills with as much success.

– It teaches them to anyone who wants to improve the efficiency and quality of their lives, in the deep respect of their values and their identity “.

Thus, NLP is a model of personal and professional evolution, it is the approach of excellence, offering the best strategies to build the future, and achieve our goals and desires in a concrete way. An NLP methodology is the “modeling” that identifies the skills of a reference model, in order to replicate them to achieve the same level of excellence.

According to Grinder and Bandler, NLP covers two closely related fields of application: self-realization (personal development) and professional skills. NLP is therefore for anyone who wants to increase their impact on themselves and others, maximize their potential, discover the possibilities of the human being and explore excellence.

NLP addresses different areas. It is useful for any profession because it allows anyone to act in a more efficient and relevant way.

1 – In Terms of Personal Development

We know today that there are 5 axes that we can develop in order to have full self-confidence and that allow us to become Actor of our life.

• The first axis “How to use the brain”

Knowing how I function as a human being, especially at the level of my brain (neurology) and my five senses. Everything that influences my perception of myself, others and life in general.

• The second axis “Management of internal states”

Understand and manage my internal states (feelings, emotions, mood, etc.).

• The third axis “Direction of life”

Identify and take into account what is important to me (values), set goals and life plans in accordance with my values. Give sense!

• The fourth axis “Method and strategy of success

Define and master the processes and strategies that will enable me to achieve my goals and satisfy my values.

• The fifth axis “Communication”

Develop Knowledge, competence and communication and relational quality. This with others as well as with oneself.

In a nutshell, NLP teaches us how to use the language of the brain to achieve our specific expectations or desires in a concrete way. It allows everyone to flourish and achieve in any chosen field, with respect for others and self.

In this regard, I invite you to consider the 5 discoveries of Boyatzis related to personal development in the context of NLP.

The 5 Discoveries of Boyatzis

The personal learning process developed by Richard Boyatzis focuses on the qualities of leadership. It is based on five stages called “the five discoveries”.

The goal of the method is to use each discovery as an instrument of change for the acquisition or development of behavioral skills. The steps do not unfold in an orderly fashion but follow a sequence.

• The first discovery: My ideal self: who do I want to be?

“The individual sees the person he would like to be” (Goleman et al, 2005, p 143). It is about drawing an ideal image of the person one would like to be in the future with his personal and professional aspirations; and try to change the habit to achieve that goal. The act of identifying and delineating one’s “ideal self” requires self-knowledge, enthusiasm, and courage.

• The second discovery: My true self: who am I?

This step is to reveal the reality. In this sense, the person concerned is supposed to know his deepest beliefs, his values, his strengths, and his weaknesses. He must make a serious inventory of his talents and passions, and identify the differences and similarities between his “real self” and his “ideal self.” Similarities can be considered assets. On the other hand, the differences should be changed. According to Boyatzis, when the person concerned is able to admit that he should change certain points and is able to delimit them, this is a real starting point for personal learning.

• The third discovery: My learning program: how can I capitalize on my strengths while reducing my weaknesses?

This step involves defining a learning schedule or program that aims to capitalize on strengths while reducing weaknesses. This program must be detailed in action plans targeted at new skills.

• The fourth discovery: practice and training in new behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

This step consists of experimenting with the new behaviors and practicing them at each opportunity that presents itself in order to master them perfectly. According to Boyatzis, success in learning new skills lies in training and repetition of these new habits to master flawlessly.

• The fifth discovery: developing trusting relationships that help, support and encourage each step of the process.

This step can occur at any point in the learning process, it involves the intervention of interpersonal relationships. Indeed, the acquisition and development of leadership skills cannot occur without the involvement of others. We need others to identify the “ideal self,” discover the “real self,” develop a learning plan and experiment and practice new habits.

2 – At the Professional Level

The abundance of NLP training offers is a definite success for this approach but does not give the uninitiated the ability to distinguish what belongs to the field of professional applications, or to other areas of application ( personal development, well-being, leisure, seduction … etc.)

More specifically, all these models and techniques are aimed at all those who work in a company and who occupy a function in which communication, listening, organization and change play an important role. In short, PNL is for all those who are concerned about their development and the improvement of self-realization and others in a professional context.

In business, NLP techniques are based on communication techniques, nonverbal communication, verbal communication, learning to react positively to behavior that disturbs, nonverbal communication face. Non-verbal communication training is integrated into the NLP curriculum.

By the way, what are the objectives of NLP training in Business?

Objectives of NLP Training

NLP tools applied to the professional environment must improve the communication technique between the actors of the company. NLP must make the difference between who I am and what I do. NLP training sets clear goals, achievable performance and increases the chances of achieving them. It aims to recognize and mobilize its own resources to better manage its internal states and build trust. NLP techniques can eradicate fear, phobia …, program success, change compulsive and unpleasant behavior and encourage the employee to get back into action in the absence of motivation. NLP training or non-verbal communication training must enable the trainee to reveal himself internally, to program himself positively and to assert himself in his professional or personal environment. We speak in this context of a “professional NLP”.

As a Conclusion

A champion of communication and brief therapy, NLP helps us develop successful behaviors by teaching us how to mobilize our resources and use our senses.

Regarding its method, NLP or neuro-linguistic programming is not a manipulation technique. But a set of communication and self-transformation techniques that focus on our reactions rather than the origins of our behaviors. It favors the how to the why proposes a grid of observation to improve the perception which we have of ourselves and the others. It also allows you to set goals and achieve them. It’s a toolbox, whose key lies in the language and use each of us makes of its five senses and its body. Its goal: to program and reproduce its own models of success.

NLP is particularly effective in solving one-off problems: recovering from a break-up or mourning, preparing for an exam, solving a specific blockage, breaking a series of failures, speaking in public, etc. to face certain health problems or somatization, the troubles of a crisis of identity or to feel more at ease in society. Its tools can be used alone, but they are often integrated into a global process chosen by the therapist. Do not hesitate to ask him about his approach.

Regarding contraindications, there are none, except cases of serious personality disorders that fall under psychiatry.

On the other hand, opinions on the importance of NLP are shared. Let us follow the criticisms that overwhelm him.

NLP is criticized: it has no theoretical basis, no scientific claim, its therapeutic consequences could not be demonstrated, it refers to outdated theories, has a tendency to allow manipulation of minds, and is finally used in the sectarian excesses. It is treated as a pseudo-science by academics.

What do you think about NLP or neuro-linguistic programming? Or do you need to know more about NLP before you make it? If so, why did not you notice the following articles:

– The presuppositions of NLP

– Some fundamental concepts of NLP

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