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What Is NLP?

NLP is a completely unique synthesis of cybernetics, neurology and linguistics that offers you practical methods for rapid personal improvement. It is an large field taught in virtually every country on the planet, influencing the fields of psychology, linguistics, business communication, training, education and others. NLP had its beginnings over 25 years ago, and now is rich in diversity, with various "schools of thought" around the world.

The study of human behavior is one of the few areas that continues to operate from outmoded theories and information. NLP is a new technology that brings us into the modern world, a technology that can be used to create the quality of life you want right now. It's quick, simple, and incredibly logical.

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Neuro stands for our neurology (the brain/mind), through which our experience is processed via the five senses.

Linguistic refers to language, both verbal and non-verbal by which our neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning.

Programming comes from the computer metaphor and refers to the ability to discover and utilize the programs that we mentally run.

In short, NLP is how to run your brain to achieve the results you desire.

There are approximately 96 books dedicated specifically to NLP. Thousands of other books, tapes, training programs, and companies utilize NLP concepts. Among them you'll find: Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Deep Chopra, author Donald Moine, "Mega Memory" developer Kevin Trudeau, "Verbal self-defense" author Suzette Haden Elgin, IBM, Hewlitt-Packard, American Express, and many others. Often, these programs will mention NLP briefly, and sometimes they will just use the concepts without telling the source.

The field of NLP really started because of an attitude of curiosity and a question. When people said, "You can't cure a phobia", the developers of NLP's attitude was, "Sure you can". They just ignored people's theories and started looking for the raw data: the things that work. They asked the question, "If someone could get over a phobia, then how did they do it?". And if they could find out how, then they could teach it to other people who could get the same results.

This process of discovering how people do things that work is called modeling. NLP is modeling. Many people think NLP is the RESULT of modeling, i.e. the fast phobia cure. But NLP is the PROCESS of developing the phobia cure. This is why it is so powerful - because with proper training, the NLPer is able to model excellence in anybody and be able to duplicate it.

Many people talk about someone who has a skill as being "intuitive", which is just another way of saying, "I'll never be able to do that". The fact that someone is intuitive is great, but that doesn't mean that we can't build a model of how they do it. One of the developers of NLP, Richard Bandler, once said, "The idea that knowledge is developed by someone and we all learn a little bit less of it would mean that civilization in another fifty years would be trying to figure out how to build a fire". The idea is to be able to learn what our teachers already know and then build upon that, rather than aspire to be as good as our teachers. This is the domain of NLP.

Modeling is being able to extrapolate what works and strip away the rest. It is about finding the least number of steps to achieve the same exact result. In NLP, we streamline naturally occurring processes. We figure out what works and make it easy to do and easy to learn. We use feedback to continue to check to make sure that we are still achieving the result.

NLP is the study of how people do things, how they think, process information and how they behave. It is NOT about how people have problems or any kind of personality theory. There is nothing esoteric about NLP. It's just about using what works and not using what doesn't. The phobia cure does not tell you why you got the phobia, it just helps you get over it.

For an NLP practitioner, the appropriate behavior is insatiable curiosity. To continue to learn, grow and evolve... not stop at quick fix techniques... but to evolve and become more compassionate and joyful and wondrous. In other words, to make life a celebration and not just put a Band-Aid on an oweee.

"I'm not a therapist, why would I want to get certified in NLP?"

Certification in NLP was put in place in the late 70's as a way of certifying therapists who wanted to use NLP to help their clients. Today, however, NLP is attracting people from all walks of life as a means of personal growth and persuasion training. Some certification courses out there are still comprised of therapeutic techniques, while IDEA Seminars has evolved our training to help people use the skills for their own personal growth and transformation.

When people first learn of NLP, they are excited by the possibilities to make profound behavioral changes in a simple, easy manner without going through years of therapy. When they decide to take training, however, sometimes they find that the trainings teach them only how to work with other people, rather than work on themselves. They also sometimes find the NLP training to be "high brow" and stuffy rather than fun, practical and easy. This is why it is important to do your research before committing your time, effort and money in an NLP training program.

IDEA Seminars is very different than other NLP training programs. We emphasize NLP as a means for personal growth and better communication, rather than only tools for therapy. We also provide a fast-paced, brain-based, and exciting learning environment. Certification through IDEA Seminars is a complete and thorough NLP training for business people, educators, health care providers, salespeople, as well as therapists and other professionals. It is fun, entertaining, enriching - and for most of our students: one of the most profound personal growth experiences in their life.

"Schools of Thought" in the field of NLP

Since NLP has been around for such a long time, there have been many schools of thought that have developed. This is why, like many fields, you may find some terse philosophical disagreements on the newsgroups and at the seminars as people defend the "correct" or "right way" to study, teach, learn, or discuss the principles of NLP.

At IDEA Seminars, we celebrate the rich diversity in the field and maintain that there is not one "correct" or "right" way to do NLP. We do have our own set of beliefs and values when it comes to training, but we have a policy not to denigrate other programs or schools of thought.

    The Therapeutic School

    This school of thought is basically a belief system that NLP is a tool for therapy. The trainings are usually designed around the techniques of NLP and trained by people who are either practicing therapists or used to be therapists. The training format usually involves: lecture, demonstration of the technique, exercise, then discussion. This is the most common school of thought in NLP and is how most training programs are designed.

    The Academic School

    This belief system is based on NLP as a hard behavioral science. The trainings involve lots of strategies with models of the brain and flow charts. The information is usually "chunked" very, very small and each detail is analyzed to the smallest component. The belief is that if you can find the one critical piece that makes the difference, then you can change it and the entire system will shift.

    The Party and Motivation School

    This is the school that believes NLP is about feeling good and having a "just do it" attitude. The seminars involve lots of lecture and hypnotic induction or a lot of cheerleading. The seminars are usually a lot of fun and people make some wonderful changes, but many report not having much conscious understanding of the material afterwards or not being able to act upon the learnings on their own.

    Click here to learn about IDEA Seminars unique approach to training.

Some basic tenets of Neuro Linguistic Programming

1. NLP is not a model of repair...it is a model of acquisition...a generative model.

2.   The techniques of NLP are not NLP. The techniques are a product of the modeling process. NLP is a method of modeling.

3.   Modeling is a process of acquiring skill. All skills are systematic, patterned and rule-structured - therefore, they can be modeled and duplicated. However, modeling does not result in achieving the whole life experience of another person.

4. People are not broken, they work perfectly. They do not need to be fixed.

5. People have all the resources necessary to make any change.

6. People make the best choices given their resources available to them.

7. All external behavior is the result of internal processes.

8.   The map is not the territory. Our perception of reality is not reality itself. We do not operate directly on our world, but rather through our perceptual map of the world. NLP is a model of the mapping processes.

9.   The positive self worth of the individual is held constant. A distinction is made between Self, intention and the behavior an individual engages in.

10.   Behavioral Flexibility: The person with the most behavioral flexibility in a given interaction will control the outcome.

11. Resistance is the result of inflexibility on the part of the communicator.

12.   Failure equals feedback. There are no mistakes, only results. Without failure and mistakes, learning would be impossible.

13. The highest quality of information in an interaction is behavioral information.

14. The mind and body are part of the same cybernetic system.

15. Individuals communicate at two levels - conscious and unconscious.

16.   Behavioral flexibility results in more choices. More choices is better than limited choices.

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