Our Take on NLP

Some ‘old’ things are very special. Others are just old.

Neuro-linguistic Programming, commonly known by the initials NLP, is the name given to a set of processes used in improving the effectiveness of personal change work and communication. The phrase was formed in the 1970s to describe the results of studying several mid-20th century psychologists and therapists who seemed to get better results than their peers.

NLP offers many positive techniques and skills. We cover the field sufficiently on our courses to meet the requirements for what people have come to know as an “NLP Practitioner” training. The ‘requirements’, like NLP itself, as well as the techniques themselves, are widely available on the internet, although learning how to use them in practice is not quite so straightforward, needing considerable flexibility, expertise and skill. We teach some of them and show you how to use them.

Our ‘take’ on NLP

In general we like NLP as a collection of ‘tools’, though much of NLP is repetitive, teaching perhaps four or five different ‘ways’ of doing the same thing. We are selective, working with some of the concepts behind NLP itself, choosing ones that fit with our values. Not all do.

We’re careful with NLP because it’s easy to get left behind by focusing on a small section of the field. It is worth bearing in mind that psychology has exploded at a rate compared to the IT industry (and partly because of it) and significant amounts of NLP are based in psychological technology from 1950s-1980s. ‘Old’ can be very good. Sometimes it is just old. We don’t want to end up defending our use of ribbon typewriters, however good they were!

NLP focuses on linguistics (that’s the ‘L’ in NLP) and while that really works for some, it doesn’t suit everybody. At Powerchange we are diverse and multi-disciplined in our approach. It creates more space for change.

However the main reason we hold NLP lightly is that in some ways it is already being left behind, losing the initial creative playfulness that marked the early life of ‘NLP’ and that we believe better serves real people. Such calcification has the tendency to lock out the ‘art and science of NLP’ from both the fields of ‘art’ and ‘science’. For Powerchange, we like to move beyond anything that limits us from having artistic freedom or embrace the latest developments in neuro-science. We love to try out the sort of experimental ‘hunches’ that characterise the best sorts of science, sometimes finding ourselves becoming developers with our clients. Although some may regard that freedom as risky, it is a lot less risky than getting left behind. The adventure of your future lifetime begins right at those priceless points of freedom.

Yes, we want to honour NLP as a great way to help people live lives they are proud to own. No, we won’t risk leaving it there.

Let’s go and discover what else is out there – and go beyond it.