In the 1970’s, Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed and founded a kind of psychotherapy they named neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The idea behind NLP was to better the lives of patients by taking a closer look at positive behaviors employed by that person and the resulting outcomes from those practices. By identifying these behaviors and those of others, people would improve the ways in which they act, their attitude, and communications. NLP takes a self-empowering approach to psychotherapy.

NLP addresses the way people view the world and themselves as well as the way in which they communicate and provides techniques that identify these patterns. Bandler and Grinder stated that this would accommodate the identification of all of the behavioral issues and applicable therapies that psychologists would experience. Since the point of NLP is to allow the therapist and the patient a collaborative strategy to isolate and improve upon negative behavior patterns, the patient is able to identify undesirable behaviors, ask themselves what prior experience led to them, apply helpful strategies, and better their lives.

All of these strategies and identification techniques are founded on the premise that humans use their senses to form a perception of the world around them. Because we form perceptions based on only what our senses tell us, we see only a small fraction of the world at large. Our world is formed by beliefs, values, past experiences, and the senses. This world does not accurately reflect what actually comprises the real world. By observing the specific behaviors and attitudes of someone who excels in some area, NLP attempts to modes other’s behaviors in a similar pattern so that positive behavior results in those who undergo the modeling.

While performing modeling, the successful behaviors and communications that someone utilizes while leading to a positive outcome are identified and broken down into a pattern. This pattern forms the model that is then taught to others in an attempt to get them to change behavioral patterns that are not working. Those modeling their behavior must forget their own beliefs and perceptions and adopt those of the person who they are modeling after. Once they are aware of what works, they then integrate those patterns with their own perceptions and communications.

Neuro-linguistic programming is all about self-awareness. Once past experiences and perceptions are identified that lead to negativity they can be isolated, and modeling can take place. Once a patient is able to diagnose these issues on their own, they will be well on the road to self-empowerment.

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