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Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an alternative therapy that focuses on the connection between the brain, language, and behavior to help people achieve their goals.

NLP is based on the idea that our thoughts, beliefs, and behavior can be changed and modified to help us reach our desired goals.

NLP techniques help people overcome various issues, including allergies, the common cold, depression, learning disorders, near-sightedness, phobias, tic disorders, and psychosomatic illnesses. Practitioners claim that NLP can model the skills of exceptional people, allowing anyone to acquire them.

NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s after they observed that successful people used language to encourage themselves and everyone else, and came to believe that by modeling the behaviors of successful people, it would be possible to receive similar outcomes.

The empowering use of language is designed to help people change undesirable habits and restrictive beliefs, develop better relationships, and fulfill goals.

NLP can be used to program the mind for better habits, adjust perceptions, and change behaviors. Through NLP, subjects can learn to improve their communication skills and enhance their influence with others. They learn to become aware of their internal processes, and better manage them. The technique is used as a therapeutic tool in treating a variety of mental health conditions, such as phobias, fears, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Not only are people able to model the communication skills of successful people in order to enhance their own prosperousness, but the same techniques can be used to connect with people more naturally. By synchronizing communication styles with another person, trust is enhanced. NLP rapport building can be used to promote collaboration through the skills of pacing and adapting to another person's expressions, actively listening, and remaining nonjudgmental.

For example, if the person you're talking to appears calm, you should assume a calm demeanor too. If their body language is relaxed, you would do the same. This can help to build rapport, decreasing the likelihood of negativity.

I was a paramedic for twenty years. Without having studied neuro-linguistic programming, I soon learned some of its concepts. With someone's life in my hands and only seconds or minutes to make a decision in what were sometimes unclear circumstances, it was easy to get nervous or flustered. Before long, I learned the benefit of remaining outwardly calm and self-assured even when I didn't feel that way inside. I found that if I could effectively pretend that I knew exactly what I was doing, even when I didn't, everyone around me would become calmer, and, in turn, I found that I would feel that way, as well. This put me in a better frame of mind to make the right decisions. I called that "fake it until you feel it," and some of the concepts of NLP are similar. With an increase in self-confidence, I was better able to function in a difficult situation.

The NLP model assumes that most people use cognitive distortions that cause them to view others, themselves, and events more negatively than they are. They react to these negative thoughts rather than to reality, reinforcing this distortion with the language used.

Using meta-model questions, subjects learn to ask themselves the right questions in order to examine whether their perceptions are based on reality. For example, suppose it seems that another party in a conversation interrupts you. Rather than reacting to irritation, you might ask yourself how often they have truly done this during the conversation. Then, you can react to the reality rather than the assumption.

NLP is used in business, education, law, medicine, and relationships. Practitioners believe that the technique puts the individual in control of their experiences rather than perceiving them as something that happens to them. In this way, NLP helps people to create their own reality.

An individual can also use NLP techniques to improve their everyday life. Through affirming statements, a person can improve his own perception of reality, particularly when used as a mantra or an incantation. Examples include:

* My body is strong and capable of healing.
* I have everything I need to meet my goals.
* I accept myself as I am.
* I am strong, and I am safe.
* I can withstand this.

Although NLP arose from a 1975 book by Bandler and Grinder called The Structure of Magic, NLP is not magic. NLP models allow us to retrain the way in which we approach other people and problems. In order for it to be effective, it must be regularly practiced.

Detractors refer to NLP as a pseudoscience, arguing the lack of scientifically verified claims for its effectiveness.



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