Understanding NLP - Part 1

Understanding NLP - Part 1

Part 1 of a Series of 3 An overview of NLP, Representational Systems, Major Presuppositions and Eye Accessing Cues.

Understanding NLP

The word Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) can be broken down into 3 main parts:

Neuro - Neuro refers to the brain and neural pathways that feed into the brain. Neurons or nerve cells are the working units used by the nervous system to send, receive and store signals that add up to information.

Linguistic - Refers to the content both verbal and non-verbal, that moves across and through these pathways.

Programming - Is the way the content or signal is manipulated to convert it into useful information. The brain may direct the signal, sequence it, change it, based on your prior experiences, or connect it to some other experience you have stored in your brain to covert it into thinking patterns and behaviours that are the essence of your experience of life.

programming, linguistic, neuro, nlp


So what is NLP and How does it work?

NLP is the systematic study of human performance. This study of the structure of the subjective experience can be broken down into their smallest components(chunks) and changed, modified, improved upon, or removed. This allows a change work for growth and change at much deeper levels more quickly than many experts originally thought.

NLP was co-developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Their studies began in the 1970’s and have continued to grow to the present. NLP allows anyone to be much more effective with anyone during communication (both verbal and non-verbal) and allows therapists to be more effective in assisting changes in their clients lives. NLP brings about the ability to analyze and transfer human excellence, thus resulting in the most effective and practical psychology known.

Richard Bandler, John Grinder

John Grinder - Richard Bandler

NLP in basic terms is how people process information.

I am Going to use the example of an illness, but NLP can be used in every aspect of life.

NLP uses self-image and attitude towards an illness to make a change and to promote healing. Hope can be our greatest asset. It is the main reason why the placebo effect (Patient taking a sugar pill thinking it’s the actual medication) works. We also know how effective prayer is when combined with faith and hope. When a person loses hope and feels helpless when faced with a chronic disease such as cancer or some other terminal disease it is very easy for the patient to lose their hope and just quit trying. If the patient is made aware of his/her unique abilities and possibilities, the patient may see things differently and enable the body’s natural healing ability.

NLP based on several presuppositions( highlights-key points). NLP places great emphasis on concepts that work as opposed to concepts that should work. NLP is very primarily based on what it is your doing and if it isn’t working and your not getting the outcome you want than do something else. It is important to remember that everyone is different. Flexibility is the most important factor in any system and the person that most likely does the best understands this concept and changes or unchanges their behaviour appropriately. This I believe is why NLP has gained so much respect and has made so much progress.

Major Presuppositions of NLP

Presuppositions (assumptions) are the beliefs a person will find useful in making changes in themselves as well to the world.

1. Communication is more than what you are saying

2. No one is wrong or broken. People work perfectly to accomplish what they are currently accomplishing.

3. People already have all the resources they need

4. Behind every behaviour is a positive intention

5. Every behaviour is useful in some context

6. The meaning of communication is the response you get

7. If your not getting the response you want try something different

8. There is no such thing as failure. There is only feedback

9. Having choice is better than having no choice at all

10. In any system the one with he most flexibility exerts the most influence

11. The map is not the territory

12. If someone can do something anyone can learn it ( My Favourite)

13. You cannot fail to communicate

Representational Systems

Representational systems in NLP consist of our 5 senses.

1. Visual (images)

2. Auditory (sounds)

3. Kinaesthetic (feelings)

4. Gustatory (tastes)

5. Olfactory (smells)

Every one of us uses one or a combination of these senses to perceive the world. The brain gets the ‘picture’ of what we are talking about from one or from a combination of these senses. For an example we see a dead dog on the road. The eyes sense the visual image and send it to the brain. The nose will sense the smell and send it to the brain. For example if the smell is rotten the brain might infer from what it has just received so far ( a picture of a dog laying still is giving out a foul smell) that the dog has been dead for sometime. If the dog is crying then the ears would will send this information to the brain and in addition we might touch the dog. Our senses are the inputs to \the brain, the brain process and analyzes the information and sends it back to the individual through behaviour, emotions, and responses.

Eye Accessing Cues

Perhaps the biggest discovery of NLP are eye accessing cues. When an individual processes information internally, they can do it visually, auditorally, kinaesthetically, olfactorally, or gustturally. It is possible to access the meaning of a word in any one, or any combination of the five sensory channels.

This diagram illustrates the direction of a person’s eye accessing movements as you are facing and looking at the person.


NLP eye accessing cues

Eye Accessing Cues


nlp, eye moevemnt

Here is a Fun Experiment to do with someone to see what Representational System they are using:

Ask the Following to see where the person’s eyes move. Refer back to diagram A1 and A2 to see the eye movements

Visual Constructed (Vc) - Ask “what will you look like at 90”, “Can you imagine the top half of toy dog on the bottom half of a green hippopotamus”

Visual Remembered (Vr) - Ask “Think of the colour of your car”, “who were the first five people you see today”

Auditory Constructed (Ac) - Ask “what would your name sound like backwards”

Auditory Remembered (Ar) - Ask “What does your alarm clock sound like”

Kinaesthetic (K) - Ask “what does it feel like to get into a bathtub of warm water”, “what does it feel like to run”

Auditory Digital (Ad) - Ask “Say something to yourself you say often”

“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable”

Thomas Foxwell Buxton

I hope you found this article informative and come back to read Part 2 next week, Thank you Korey Snider