works to improve conditions for people.
We provide coaching
, management support,conferences recreation
and training programs
and we help and stimulate groups and individuals to increase and develop
their potential and spirit and to widen their creative space. We also help people to reduce stress and
Among our most important
tools for personal development are gestalt therapy,
Neuro Linguistic Programing, NLP was developed in the nienteenseventies.
It is not an invention but a discovery and it is a breakthrough
in the field of how to understand and systematize human communication.
The founders of NLP John Grinder and Richard Bandler have systematically
studied the patterns of communication and by looking at the basic elements like words, intonation and body language they have discovered
and mapped different patterns and noted their implications and effects.
You can look at NLP as a tool. It was developed with focus on practical handling and doing and how to achieve proper results.
Accordingly you could say that NLP is firstly a practical methodology and secondly a theory in the field of human growth and change and a
theoretical contribution in the field of psychology-psychotherapy.
NLP is closely related to Gestalt therapy in that it partly refines and develops techniques which has been introduced as part of the
Gestalt concept. NLP also has similarities to Gestalt therapy in its pragmatic approach and its focus on "how to do" to stimulate human
growth and change. At least as important as the gestalt influence are however ideas and practices fetched from the works of
Milton H Erickson, the most famous user of of hypnosis for psychotherapeutical purpouses in the 20:ieth century
The story of how NLP was created and developed is rather fascinating.
The founders, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were shoolars/scientists in mathematics and linguistics.
They were together in the therapeutical climate and culture that was part of the
human growth movement in the late 1960:s. Questioning a lot of what they witnessed, they took upon themselves to study what
it was that made some therapists able to help people change while others where not very sucessfull.
They choose to study three particularly good therapists, all different and all very sucessfull in stimulating change.
Two of the three were Gestalt therapists namely Fritz Perls the founder of gestalt therapy and Virginia Satir one of its most well known
and skilled practitioners, famous for her work with family therapy. The third was Milton Erickson, as mentioned above
one of the most skilled users of hypnosis as a theraputical instrument in modern psychotherapy.
Grinder and Bandler studied how these three used their communicational skills. In their analyses they put high emphasis
on non verbal communication and
also on how language was used, meaning choice of words, building of phrases, tonal patterns and other aspects.
They discovered that although the three were very different, their strategies for communication and intervention were very similar.
Based on these patterns and a very skilled study of other therapists plus a lot of cases, clients and therapy sessions they started
to formulate the base for NLP. The new approach that NLP represents was presented in the middle of the 1970:s.
Grinder and Bandlers books presents a lot of very interesting, usefull and in the immedeate approach amazingly simple examples
and analyses of communication both verbaly and otherwise between therapists and clients.
When reading their books, the importance of and responsibility for, proper and adequate communication as an instrument in therapeutical
work becomes very obvious.
I think that knowledge of NLP or other similar knowledge can be essential in the field of any activity where you whish to induce change.
It gives you the tools to
work systematically, to minimize your effort and to specify and target the result you want to achieve. There is small magic i NLP since
it deals a lot with what goes on in the subconscious parts of humans and of human communication.
About language, body language and perception
Most of us we tend to think of words as the primary tool for communication. This is something which is very
untrue. Words in themselves are maybe 15% of human communication.
Tonal patterns and how you choose to combine the words are another part which is
at least as important as the words are in/by themselves. In fact for learning more about communication tonal patterns are much more important
to consider than the abstract meaning of the worlds. It is for instance possible to say the simple worlds yes or no with many different
meanings depending on the way you pronounce and and express them. If you try to play with this for a while, you can most certainly
find more than ten different meanings for each of them.
To words and tonal patterns you should add body language meaning gestures and postures and
you also have to consider the body language of the face, our facial expressions.
Facial expressions are the most important part of body language. The importance of this is very great indeed.
Our face is full of small sensors which are very perceptive. The internal feeling in the face is different with
the change of the facial muscles by milimeters and even by tenths of milimeters. However thats not enough.
That same small change in your face can totally change your whole internal
perception of the body as well, how you feel and also as a matter of fact how you think about yourself. Again however this is
not enough. The same very small change in your face will change how you are percieved by others around you and how they feel about
you. The importance of the face and facial expressions should not be underestimated.
Some parts of the face are more important and these are
mainly the central parts. The mouth and the area around it. The nose and the area around it and the eyes and the area
around the eyes. The eyes are very important in themselves. It is however very hard to differentiate between the eyes and the area
around the eyes since this is maybe the part where the smallest change can have the greatest impact and make the biggest
If you find my statements hard to believe you should sit for a while and let yourself make small small changes in your face and feel
the differences in feeling which are sometimes very obvious not only in the face but in the whole body.
The first thing you should test
is to very slightly raise the corners of you mouth. You dont need to raise them very much at all before the feeling of joy gets
obvious. Do the same in the opposite way and make the corners of your mouth fall slightly downwords and very soon you feel sadness
creeping into your whole body. To feel very joyfull or very sad you have to move the corners of the mouth more maybe one
centimeter or even a little more. Only
very little is however enough for the more subtle changes, which even if they are subtle make a very big difference.
The anathomy and physiology behind this is very complicated. The inervation of the face is very rich and in the brain it has complex
connections and interactions with your whole body.
The main feelings of sadness, anger, joy and fear are closely linked to facial expressions but also to
the body as a whole and there are typical body postures connected to each of the mayor feelings.
If you work on this for a little while
more and exagerate the expressions of happiness, sadness, anger and fear in your face you will clearly notice how your body follows
and how the body postures change very drastically for each feeling.
It is a pity that surgeons who make plastic surgery on the face does not consider the importance of facial inervation and how
the language of the faces of their patients can be very distorted and disturbed by
their operations. Especially if you make big or repeated operations in the central area of the face this can have a severe effect on their
patients internal reference system and deprive them of the ability to express nuances. This also can have a huge impact on how they think
upon themselves as persons. Disturbances are not limited to the face since the facial expressions are so closely interlinked with bodily
As mentioned above, facial expressions and body postures does not only affect feelings, they affect thoughts as well
and they can be linked to verbal thoughts as well as internal pictures.To work with these links and their effects is maybe the
most important part of NLP.
That our thoughts and facial expressions are closely connected is something that is well known to modern actors who often
work with film or TV where the face is very exposed to the audience. They know this and they have to make using the "right" thoughts
part of their acting to give a reliable impression to their wiewers.
To know body language and be conscious of this part of communication can be very
beneficial to most people as long as they stay with the wholeness and dont try to interfere to much in separate parts of what they express.
In general it is very good to be aware of the body and what goes on in the body. Knowledge in this area affects the self and
how we think upon ourselves as persons.
Sensory systems and strategies
NLP deals with perception, our own and that of people with whom we communicate. It deals with outer, as well as "inner perception".
Where the meaning of inner perception is how our consciousness pics up memories and thoughts.
The maybe most important part of NLP is to systematically
divide human perception and communication in five different areas: 1) seeing; 2) hearing; 3)feeling; 4)smelling and 5)tasting.
To do this seems rather obvious but it has not been done before in such a systematical way.
Seeing, hearing and feeling are the most obvious of the above areas and these three are very important as reference systems for
how we organize our thoughts. Smelling and tasting also play their part in communication. Especially is smelling sometimes
very crucial. These two are however not as frequently used in our conscious thought patterns and tend to to be more active and important
on a deeper subconscious level than the other three.
All humans normally use all the three mayor areas or "sensory, reference systems", but it is not unusual that we use only one or two of
them consciously and the/thee other(s) subconsciously . Sometimes one of the sensory areas can be very dominant which tend to
"lock up" our thought patterns and make us less flexible
One of NLP:s discoveries is that we move our eyes in a different way depending on which of these three systems that is active for the moment.
How we move our eyes can differ. However we can all of us be divided into groups where the patterns are the same. Most right
handed people fall into one dominating mayor group.
When making internal pictures people look 1. up and to the left for remembered (eidetic) pictures
2. up and to the right for constructed pictures.
3. straight forward and slightly defocused for certain "visionary like" pictures.
Number 3 is mostly not as commonly used as the other two.
When hearing inner sounds or words people look horisontally to the left for remebered sounds or words and horisontally to the right
for constructed sounds or words. People also look down to the left for unspecified access of words.
- When feeling internal feelings people look down to the right. Smell and taste are also represented in this area.
Constitutionary left handed people have a reversed pattern to that of right handed people and then there are a relatively few with other
patterns. By putting a few of "the right" questions it is always relatively easy to if needed "map" the pattern a person have.
When we communicate verbally the eye movements are always more or less matched by words in the same sensory area.
- When making internal
pictures we use words like "se; wiew; picture; vision; seems; clear;" etc.
- When hearing internal sounds or words we tend to use external words like
"hear; listen; sound; tell; speak" etc.
- As for the feeling area we use words like "heavy; grab; handle; feel; grip;" etc
If you combine looking at a persons eye movements and listening to their choice of words it is always possible to know which of these
three sensory systems that are at work for the moment. Changes can be fast, but we tend to use patterns that are rather individual.
When we organize our thoughts we usually do this in two or three steps using three different systems.
1. Our "leading system" access some information for example a picture.
2. After this we might access associated information for example some internal verbal commentary to the picture. This is called
system". 3. Lastly we go to our "reference system" to check for validity/internal conclusion for instance by checking if it feels right.
If you have a two step strategy you do the step 3 referential checking directly after step 1.
Example: If you ask someone how to spell a word there is an interesting pattern which according to Grinder and Bandler
all good spellers use. It is a two step strategy. 1. They access an eidetic, remebered picture of the word. 2. They check this picture
kinesthetically. The typical spelling pattern for a "normally organized" right handed person accordingly is to
1. first look up and to the left and then
2. down and to the right often with a small confirming reaction connected to the "feeling check".
According to Grinder and Bandler
all other spelling strategies results in bad spelling even if some strategies are better than others.
One typical strategy which really bad spellers use is to begin with hearing the remebered sound of the word internally and then try to
check it out in one of the other sensory systems.
Internal maps and associations
During his or her life every person builds up an internal "reference system" consisting of experiences, memories conclusions and ideas.
We all internalise what we experience. It is however important not to believe or think of all our memories as reality, since they
are of course not. They are only our own representations of reality and they can sometimes be heavily distorted.
In our daily life
we use our inner references and reference system as a map. We compare it with what we experience today and use this comparison to orient
ourselves and to choose how to interact with other people and the world around us. All our memories in this map are accessible
through and associated with one or more of our sensory chanels. When we communicate, our senses always trigger and relate to
internal associations. These associations are mostly functional. Sometimes they are however not very constructive to use for interacting
with others but we use them anyhow.
There are a lot of different individual strategies for how we typically organize our thoughts. Some however in each given situation
works better than others. Helping people with personal problems to organize themselves differently is one part of what NLP is all about.
Helping people to be less bound to and give alternatives to "bad associations" by giving them new constructive and positive ones are
another area where NLP is very effective.
Matching or pacing is an important part of NLP. This is not a totally new idea or strategy but in NLP it is refined and more subtle than
in any other well known technique that I know of. This has its base in the fact that NLP is both very systematic and gives very
thorough information to it´s user.
Matching or pacing means to adapt yourself and your communication to someone else(s). This is very important in all communication, and people
often match each other subconsciously. When done consciously it is however very effective and can be a powerfull tool for getting the
outcome you want. In psychotherapy matching is often necessary to get good contact with the client and to have their confidence.
Many psychotherapists use pacing as a natural talent without thinking about it. Others use it more consciously.
To match or pace someone you should mainly adapt to their body language and to their choice of words and tonal patterns.
Doing this without being obvious will help to get in contact with the other person. When done more systematically as is
possible with the use of NLP, you notice how people communicate by looking at eye movements and listening to choice of words and notice
choice of sensory system and then you
combine this knowledge with noticing body posture, tonal patterns, breathing etc. When done in a proper way this can allow you to lead
the conversation or communication. As soon as you by pacing get good contact or "rapport" you are able to steer the communication
your way if you whish to do so.
In psychotherapy this allows you to help people change their communicational strategies and to change how they use/organize their
sensory systems and associated thoughts. What is relatively easy is for example to help people who have a dominant
sensory system to open up to using the other ones more frequently as well.
This is good to do since everyone need to have easy access to all three majort sensory systems.(And of course those connected to
taste and smell as well)
One way to do this is to pace the sensory system a person uses and then find a way to "overlap" and link to one or more of the others.
Done rightly and in a way that "anchors" this link within the other person it has lasting effects.
Another thing that often is relatively easily done is to help a bad speller to improve his or hers spelling by teaching him/her to use
the right accessing strategy.
Important in all psycho therapeutical work is to first notice what and how people do to communicate and how they organize themselves and
then by pacing, linking and other means help them to change.
When and if you use NLP you should realise that it is a
powerfull technique which used wrongly can be manipulative and hurt both the user and persons he or she tries to manipulate.
NLP and hypnosis
As mentioned NLP is a very potent method and for the skilled user it is not at all difficult to use it for trance induction and
NLP is as a method designed to allow communication with unconsious parts of a person and when you combine this with inducing a trance it is
possible to manipulate and deeply affect people without them knowing or beeing able to resist.
Milton Erickson who as a person
has had great influence on the development of NLP was a very skilled user of hypnosis. John Grinder and Richard Bandler were, or are,
when they choose to, maybe almost as skilled as Milton Ericksson.
When working with hypnosis good pacing is absolutely necessary.
After pacing sucessfully you are able to lead conversation/communication and then it is not difficult to induce a trance if you have the
skill. I recommend
the interrested reader/visitor to read one or more books about NLP and trance work.
I especially recommend the books "Patterns of the hypnotic
techniques of Milton H Erickson I+II"
I studied NLP in the early 80:s as part of my continuos training as a Gestalt therapist. My training as a Gestalt therapist
had already made me rather skilled at using myself and my communication as a therapeutical instrument. I was however very fascinated
by NLP and in my studies I got a deeper and wider understanding of how to further adapt and use my own communicational patterns.
I also learned some very useful new techniques and acquired other very usefull knowledge.
Little by little I started to use and integrate my new learnings in my professional work to the benefit of myself and my clients.
However NLP also gave me a different kind of impulses and understanding. I became very much more conscious regarding the limits of
and problems with manipulative techniques. I looked with partly new eyes upon Gestalt therapy and the rather extensive manipulation
that is part of this therapeutical concept. The result was a rather radical change in relation to psychotherapeutical work,
my own as well as others.
As I see it it is important to have great respect for the type of communicative techniques that NLP represents.
They are very useful but must be used with great care. Carelessness strikes back on both client and therapist. As a matter
of fact it can sometimes be even more riskful for the therapist. It is almost impossible to live an ordinary, healthy and sound life
if You fall into the trap using this kind of "therapeutical glasses" and these powerfull "tools" in your ordinary
life. If You start to involve and use these techniques in your personal life You risk to allienate and isolate yourself from friends,
family and collegues. I have seen this happen and it is very difficult to reverse this process of allienation.
As for myself I have made my choice and I use this kind of "therapeutical glasses" and tools only in my profession in my work with
groups. To do otherwise would be as bad as if a surgeon would walk around and wave with his scalpel outside his operation room.
Good books to read "Frogs into princes", "Structure of magic I + II" and "Reframing"
all are written by John Grinder och Richard Bandler.
NLP Comprehensive, Colorado
Link to NLP university
Dialoguepartner Sweden, Sturegatan 13B, SE-753 14 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone number:+46-18-55 85 33 or +46-708-55 85 33
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