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Courtesy of NLP Coaching and by  Tad James, M.S., Ph.D., Certified NLP Master Trainer Copyright  1985, 1995, 1999

A brief introduction to NLP

This is only a small outline about NLP and it covers so much more.

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Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) began as a model of how we communicate to ourselves and others.  It was originally developed by Richard Bandler, John Grinder and others. This model explains how we process the information that comes into us from the outside. The belief is that “The map is not the territory”. The internal representations that we make about an outside event are not necessarily the event itself, only the elements which to us at that moment in our lines, the most important ones.

Typically, what happens is that there is an external event and we run that event through our internal processing. We make an Internal Representation (I/R) of that event. That I/R of the event combines with a physiology and creates a state. State refers to the internal emotional state of the individual a happy state, a sad state, a motivated state, and so on. Our I/R includes our internal pictures, sounds and dialogue, and our feelings (for example, whether we feel motivated, challenged, pleased, excited, and so on). A given state is the result of the combination of an internal representation and a physiology. So what happens is that an event comes in through our sensory input channels which are:



Including the sights we see or the way someone looks at us;



Including sounds, the words we hear and the way that people say those words to us (unless you specifically want variety in form);



Or external feelings which include the touch of someone or something, the pressure, and texture;



Deletion occurs when we selectively pay attention to certain aspects of our experience and not others. We then overlook or omit others. Without deletion, we would be faced with much too much information to handle with our conscious mind.



Distortion occurs when we make shifts in our experience of sensory data by making misrepresentations of reality. In Eastern philosophy there is a well-known story of distortion in the rope versus snake analogy. A man walking along the road sees what he believes to be a snake and yells SNAKE. However, upon arriving at that place he is relieved as he discovers that what he sees is really only a piece of rope.

Distortion also helps us in the process of motivating ourselves. The process of motivation occurs when we actually distort the material that has come into us that has been changed by one of our filtering systems.



The third process is generalisation, where we draw global conclusions based on one or two experiences. At its best, generalization is one of the ways that we learn, by taking the information we have and drawing broad conclusions about the meaning of the effect of those conclusions.


So, the question is, when two people have the same stimulus, why dont they have the same response? The answer is, because we delete, distort, and generalize the information from the outside.

We delete, distort and generalize the information that comes in from our senses based on one of five filters. The filters are, Meta Programs, belief systems, values, decisions, and memories.



The first of these filters is Meta Programs. Knowing someone’s Meta Programs can actually help you clearly and closely predict people’s states, and therefore predict their actions. One important point about Meta Programs: they are not good or bad, they are just the way someone handles information.



The next filter is values. They are essentially an evaluation filter. They are how we decide whether our actions are good or bad, or right or wrong.



The next filter is beliefs. Beliefs are generalizations about how the world is. So, beliefs are essentially our on/off switch for our ability to do anything in the world. In the process of working with someone’s beliefs, its important to elicit or find out what beliefs they have that cause them to do what they do. We also want to find out the disenabling beliefs, the ones that do not allow them to do what they want to do.

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