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What is NLP and does it work
What is NLP and does it work

The life hacker found out whether it is possible to become successful by copying the behavior of a successful person.

What is NLP and does it work
What is NLP and does it work

Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is talked about, books and articles are written about. Numerous coaches offer their services, promising that with this approach you will reach unprecedented heights in your career and personal life. But there is also an alternative view that NLP is a pseudoscientific concept used to extract money from gullible people. Let's figure out which of this is true.

What is NLP

Neuro-linguistic programming - the approach of Lyubimov A. "Mastery of communication" to communication, self-improvement and psychotherapy. In a broader sense, it is the belief that we can transform our own and others' beliefs, change behavior, and also heal psychological trauma with the help of special techniques and exercises.

The concept of NLP is based on the idea of Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy. Psychology Today. that there is a connection between neurological processes, language and behavior patterns. These three components are reflected in the term:

  • "Neuro" - the nervous system and the brain;
  • "Linguistic" - language and speech;
  • "Programming" - patterns (patterns) of behavior.

From the name it is clear that NLP borrows elements of various sciences: psychology, linguistics, programming, cybernetics. He was also greatly influenced by the philosophical concepts of constructivism and structuralism. In a simplified way, they can be described as follows: a person is not a passive observer, but the creator of this world, and it is necessary to study it as a complex mechanism.

The main tool of NLP is modeling Lyubimov A. "Mastery of Communication" - copying the lifestyle of successful people whom you consider to be an example for yourself, right down to gestures, gait, clothes and voice. Relatively speaking, if you want to make money like Elon Musk, you have to behave like Elon Musk, dress like Elon Musk, talk, smoke weed and write on Twitter like Elon Musk.

Who, when and why invented NLP

NLP emerged in the United States in the early 1970s. It was created by student psychologist Richard Bandler and linguistics professor John Grinder at the University of California.

Bandler was fond of computers and programming. While studying at the Faculty of Mathematics, he became interested in the recordings of lectures by American psychotherapists Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir. Perls in the 40s moved away from the theory of psychoanalysis and created his own method of gestalt therapy. Satyr was one of the founders of the Palo Alto Institute for Mental Research. In 1972, she met Bandler and Grinder and began working with them.

The views of Milton Erickson, Gregory Bateson and Alfred Korzybski also greatly influenced the concept of NLP. Erickson investigated the therapeutic effects of hypnosis. His speech hypnotic models entered NLP under the name "Milton Models". Bateson, a British-American anthropologist, studied the nature of knowledge and man. His way of thinking has become one of the benchmarks for the creators of NLP. Korzybski is a linguist, founder of general semantics, the science of the meaning of words. He was the first to use the term "neurolinguistic". His statement “The map is not yet the territory” is one of the main tenets of NLP.

But back to Bandler. He, carried away by psychotherapy, began to copy the behavior of Perls and Satyr and felt that he could have an impact on people: to convince them that he was right, to find a common language. Bandler opened his own school, and a professor of linguistics at the University of California Grinder became interested in his activities. Together they began to create the concept of NLP. Roderique-Davies G. Neuro-linguistic programming: Cargo cult psychology? Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education in two parts of The Structure of Magic (1975).

The effect of using NLP was named by its creators Seymour J., O'Connor J."An Introduction to Neurolinguistic Programming" by therapeutic magic. Quite quickly, the concept and the trainings based on it began to bring them a lot of money.

In the early 1980s, Bandler and Grinder quarreled and parted ways. They continued to develop the concept, but each in its own way.

How NLP should work, according to its creators

NLP supporters believe A. Lyubimov “Communication Mastery” that it forms:

  • ways of setting and achieving goals;
  • the ability to find motivation;
  • self-improvement recipes;
  • skills to find a common language;
  • the ability to manage people;
  • methods of objective assessment of the surrounding world and oneself.

NLP followers believe that the main way to achieve these goals is the ability to correctly perceive and use information coming to the brain.

Everyone is considered to have a preferred method of processing information: visual (vision), auditory (hearing), or kinesthetic (body language). To be successful, you need to become a super communicator, that is, learn how to alternate them all. This can be done by copying the behavior of supercommunicators, abstracting and learning to see the situation from the opposite side. Associated with this are the concepts of "metaprograms", that is, information filters, and "categorization" - the structuring of large amounts of data.

A special place in NLP is given to non-verbal communication: images, intonation, gestures and facial expressions. Proponents of neurolinguistic programming believe A. Lyubimov, "The Mastery of Communication", that it accounts for 93% of human communication, while more than half is devoted to body language, and words make up only 7%.

Psycholinguists Gorelov I. N. "The ratio of non-verbal and verbal in communicative activity" believe that non-verbal means account for 60-80% of communication.

Another important component of NLP is the belief that the subconscious mind beats consciousness. By this, the supporters of the concept explain the need to work on oneself at the “primitive level” of the unconscious. Simply put, they believe that if you copy the habits, gestures, posture, and demeanor of a successful person, the rest will catch on.

A bit of theory

There are many obscure terms used in the concept of neurolinguistic programming, but it is quite easy to replace them with ordinary words.

For example, presuppositions play a significant role in NLP. These are attitudes in the form of an aphorism, not always associated with reality. They are often based on the worldview and scientific views of Korzybski, Bateson and Satyr. Famous examples of presupposition are Seymour J., O'Connor J. “Introduction to Neurolinguistic Programming. The newest psychology of personal skill "NLP is Korzybski's phrase" A map is not a territory, a word is not an object. " That is, the word "dog" is everything that you know and think about dogs, and not the animal itself.

Also popular among the proponents of neurolinguistic programming are the convictions of Seymour J., O'Connor J. “Introduction to Neurolinguistic Programming. The latest psychology of personal skill "that:

  • body and mind are interconnected;
  • the reason for any action is a positive intention;
  • there are no defeats, there is experience.

The TOTE (test - operation - test - exit) model is often mentioned in connection with NLP. It assumes that a person repeats routine operations (action and comparison with a model) to achieve a goal.

NLP advocates also use Seymour J., O'Connor J. “Introduction to Neurolinguistic Programming. The latest psychology of personal skill "hypnosis and self-hypnosis, and they also believe in complex lateralization of the brain - a rigid difference in the functions of the hemispheres and the impossibility of replacing them. Such a view does not correspond to the ideas of modern science, since it has been proven that, if necessary (in the event of injury or illness), its various areas are capable of taking on the functions of others.

NLP techniques

NLP uses individual and group exercises such as adjusting to a posture, arguing in the same body positions, and demonstration. They use a variety of techniques. Despite the complex names, they are quite simple. Here are some Lyubimov A. "Mastery of Communication" of them.

  • Create an anchor- a stimulus that provokes the desired reaction or behavior. Gustatory, color, olfactory associations are used as an anchor, which work as a conditioned reflex and direct human behavior in the right direction.
  • Use of representational systems- imagination and sensory experience.
  • Association and dissociation- correlating oneself with someone and an independent look at oneself from the outside.
  • Modeling - search for an answer to the question of how successful people achieve their goals, the basis of NLP.
  • Follow and lead - copying gestures, pos.
  • Attractive future (representation) - the idea of something is so realistic that it is embodied in reality.
  • Framing and reframing - setting clear boundaries that help to achieve what you want, and looking at yourself from the other side ("I'm too lazy. But I don't make unnecessary mistakes").
  • Awareness of the ecological role - study of the possible consequences of human activity, the establishment of cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Walt Disney Strategy - the use of three roles in team work to achieve a result: the dreamer comes up with various options for solving the problem, including unrealistic ones, the critic evaluates their value and finds weaknesses, the realist draws up specific steps.
  • Using metamodels - three levels of comprehension of experience: deletion, generalization (broad universal formulations), distortion (ignoring part of the information).
  • Perceptual positions - different points of view: from the first person, from the person of another person, from the person of the "fly on the wall" or the "inner sage".

Why NLP Doesn't Really Work

Scientific criticism

Some psychotherapists use NLP to treat fears, phobias, anxiety, low self-esteem, stress, PTSD, alcohol and drug addiction, and other psychological problems. The results of this therapy are mixed. Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy. Psychology Today. … NLP is not a strictly scientific method Kandola A. What is NLP and what is it used for? Medical News Today, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, and there is virtually no evidence that it works. Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy. Psychology Today.

In 2012, British psychiatrists published the results of a study on the effectiveness of NLP practices. They were generally positive, but experts concluded that the impact of neurolinguistic programming on psychological health is not well understood.

Holander J., Malinowski O. The Effectiveness of NLP: Interrupted Time Series Analysis of Single Subject - Data for One Session of NLP Coaching received slightly more optimistic results for NLP supporters. Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy by Dutch Psychologists in 2016. After a single session of neurolinguistic programming, 64% of patients with minor psychological disorders reported an improvement in their state of mind. The experiment involved 25 people. However, scientists from the Netherlands have recommended further study of the NLP technique.

Many more scientists criticize neurolinguistic programming. Back in 2004, George Mason University professor Daniel Druckman published a study commissioned by the US Army. In it, he concluded that NLP methods do not work.

In 2010, Polish psychologist and scientific book author Tomasz Witkowski selected 63 from 315 articles on neurolinguistic programming published in journals from the International Scientific Indexing Index (ISI) and analyzed the conclusions from them. Only 18, 2% of studies confirm the effectiveness of NLP. 27.3% posted ambiguous results. The majority (54.5%) refute the concept.

In 2014, a study of employees of the Canadian Agency for Medicines and Technology in Health Care was released. They concluded that NLP is not helpful in treating PTSD, anxiety and stress disorder.

Skeptics point to Roderique-Davies G. Neuro-linguistic programming: Cargo cult psychology? Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, that the followers of NLP use outdated ideas about the structure of the brain, make factual errors, use pseudoscientific terminology. For almost half a century of the existence of neurolinguistic programming, not a single serious study confirming its effectiveness has appeared Kandola A. What is NLP and what is it used for? Medical News Today.

The inefficiency of NLP is associated primarily with the primitivization of the human psyche, the reactions of which are trying to be reduced to computer technology, that is, "programming". But if any program for a PC, even the most complex, is calculated to the smallest step, then the free will of a person allows him to make completely unpredictable moves.

Attempts to reduce human behavior to a biocomputer and tackle its reprogramming cannot be crowned with success in the same way as no artificial intelligence can replace a creative person in the foreseeable future. All such prospects remain just science fiction, but do not become science. This is exactly how the benefits of NLP should be understood - as an instructive utopia that only emphasizes the difference between reality as such.

NLP and sects

Anthropology and sociology classify NLP as a New Age phenomenon, or new age religions. Simply put, to the sects. In particular, it is argued that followers of sects use NLP techniques to convert people. Timothy Leary in his book "Technologies for Changing Consciousness in Destructive Cults" points out that to recruit new members of the sect, they use neurolinguistic reframing and methods of immersion in a hypnotic trance.

In general, NLP is a product of its time. Comparison with the New Age is not accidental: neurolinguistic programming appeared in the same era as the religions of the new century. Sect and cult scholar Joseph Hunt named Hunt J. S. Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction. Ashgate. 2003. NLP An Alternative to Scientology. The same Bandler, a character absolutely in the spirit of that era, was a drug addict and was a Psychotherapist Not Guilty in Prostitute’s Murder. Los Angeles Times murder suspect.

What is the bottom line

The concept of NLP is compromised by flirting with science, although it is not itself, abstruse terminology that hides simple motivational attitudes, and insane commercialization. Often, studies with positive results are published by psychologists who practice NLP themselves. His successes, obviously, border on statistical error. Neuro-linguistic programming does not work even from the point of view of logic: after copying a person's unconscious behavior, we cannot copy his knowledge, skills and abilities. Don't be fooled.

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