Neuro-linguistic programming (usually shortened to NLP) is an interpersonal communication model and an alternative approach to psychotherapy that was co-created by Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder in the 1970s. It was based on the subjective study of language, communication and personal change, in particular, through modeling three successful psychotherapists, Fritz Perls (gestalt therapy), Virginia Satir (family systems therapy), and eventually Milton H. Erickson (clinical hypnosis). Bandler and Grinder aimed to discover and model the successful patterns of behavior and communication distinguishing these exceptional individuals from their peers. Some consider NLP to still be a set of techniques or strategies for enhancing communication and personal influence rather than a model or theory.
In the early 1980s, NLP was heralded as an important advance in psychotherapy and counseling, and it attracted some interest in counseling research and clinical psychology. In the mid 1980s research reviews in The Journal of Counseling Psychology and by the National Research Council (1988; NRC) committee found little empirical basis for the claims about preferred representational systems (PRS) or assumptions of NLP, marking a decrease in research interest. While the title Neuro-linguistic programming implies a basis in neurology, computer science, and linguistics and it is often marketed as a new science, skeptics contend NLP is an "unproven psychological theory or treatment" and one of the many pseudoscientific or New Age forms of psychotherapy that have emerged in mental health practice. Few practitioners have presented their clinical data for peer-review and most have had little interest in empirical validation.
Today the predominant patterns of NLP, the application of those patterns, and many variants of NLP are found in seminars, workshops, books and audio programs in the form of exercises and principles intended to influence change in self and others. There is great variation in the depth and breadth of training and standards of practitioners, and some disagreement between those in the field about which patterns are and are not "NLP". While the field of NLP is loosely spread and resistant to a single comprehensive definition, there are some common principles and presuppositions shared by its proponents. In general, NLP aims to increase behavioral choice by the manipulation of personal state, belief and internal representation either by a practitioner/trainer, or by self-application. Some of the main ideas, many imported from existing counseling or psychotherapy practice, include:
- Problems, desires, feelings, beliefs and outcomes are represented in visual, auditory and kinesthetic (and sometimes gustatory, olfactory) systems.
- When communicating with someone, rather than just listening to and responding to what a person said, NLP aims to also respond to the structure of verbal communication and non-verbal cues.
- Certain language patterns such as the meta model of NLP can help clarify what has been left out or distorted in communication, to specify thinking and outcomes, reframe beliefs, and set sensory specific goals. In contrast, the Milton model language patterns are intentionally non-specific and metaphoric to allow the listener to fill in the gaps and make their own meaning from what is being said and find their own inner resources and solutions for problems.
- The actual state someone is in when setting a goal or choosing a course of action is also considered important. A number of techniques in NLP aim to enhance states by anchoring resourceful states associated with personal experience or model states by imitating others.
NLP remains supported by its practitioners in the psychotherapy field and has influenced other forms of brief and eclectic interventions. Its models and tools have been used widely outside of psychotherapy in business communication, management training, teaching, executive coaching and motivational seminars.
Concepts and methods
Modeling of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson
In the early development of NLP between 1972 and 1976, Richard Bandler, a psychology student at University of California, Santa Cruz, and John Grinder, a linguist specializing in transformational syntax, guided somewhat by the anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson, participated in collaborative studies with three successful psychotherapists, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson. Of the three, Erickson was the most well known. They reviewed many hours of audio and video of the three therapists and spent months imitating how they worked with clients, the aim was to model the communication patterns which made these individuals more successful than their peers.
"The system was developed in answer to [why] particular psychotherapists were so effective with their patients. Rather than explore this question in terms of psychotherapeutic theory and practice, Bandler and Grinder sought to analyze what the therapists were doing at an observational level, categorize it, and apply the categories as a general model of interpersonal influence. NLP seeks to instruct people to observe, make inferences, and respond to others, as did the three original, very effective therapists." (Druckman, 1988, Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques) 
The first model was Fritz Perls, a German-born psychiatrist and psychotherapist who was associated with the founding of 'gestalt therapy', an approach to therapy which at its core is the promotion of awareness and the contact between the self and its environment. In 1964, Fritz Perls had begun a long-term residency at Esalen Institute in California, United States and became a major and lasting influence. Esalen was dedicated to humanistic alternative education and to exploring work in the humanities and sciences that furthers the full realization of what Aldous Huxley called the “human potential”. The second model was Virginia Satir, also an early leader at Esalen, and known especially for her approach to family therapy that treats groups and to some extent individuals, as systems that exhibit homeostasis. Her therapeutic interventions would usually focus on relationship patterns rather than on analyzing impulses of the unconscious mind or early childhood trauma of individuals as a Freudian psychoanalyst would do.
In 1975 the meta model was published in Structure of Magic Volumes I & II, it featured a set of specifying question that both Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir used intuitively to respond to distortion, generalization and deletion in their client's language. Second, the Milton model featured verbal (ambiguity, metaphor, suggestion, embedded suggestion) and non-verbal patterns (matching and mirroring, spacial marking) that Milton H. Erickson used to effect change with clients.
Impressed by Bandler and Grinder's model of Perls and Satir, Gregory Bateson agreed to write the preface and also introduced Bandler and Grinder to Milton Erickson who would become the third model for NLP. Erickson, an American psychiatrist and founding member of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, was well known for his unconventional approach to therapy, for his ability to "utilize" anything about a patient to help them change, including their beliefs, favorite words, cultural background, personal history, or even their neurotic habits, and for treating the unconscious mind as creative, solution-generating, and often positive.
While the style and approach of these psychotherapists appeared different to most, Bandler and Grinder believed that all experts in human communication (including Perls, Satir and Erickson) have patterns in common that could be learnt by others:
[...] when you watch and listen to Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson do therapy, they apparently could not be more different [...] People also report that the experiences of being with them are profoundly different. However, if you examine their behavior and the essential key patterns and sequences of what they do, they are similar. [...] The same was true of Fritz Perls [...] when he was operating in what I consider a powerful and effective way, he was using the same sequences of patterns that you will find in their work.
Analyzing this further, Grinder and Bandler stated that there were a few common traits expert communicators – whether top therapists, top executives or top salespeople – all seemed to share:
- Everything they did in their work, was pro-active (rather than reactive), directed moment to moment by well-formed outcomes  rather than formalized fixed beliefs
- They were exceedingly flexible in approach and refused to be tied down to using their skills in any one fixed way of thinking or working  
- They were extremely aware moment by moment, of the non-verbal feedback (unconscious communication and metaphor) they were getting, and responded to it   - usually in kind rather than by analyzing it 
- They enjoyed the challenges of difficult ("resistant") clients, seeing them as a chance to learn rather than an intractable "problem"
- They respected the client as someone doing the best they knew how (rather than judging them as "broken" or "working")
- They had certain common skills and things they were aware of and noticed, that were intuitively "wired in"  
- They worked with precision, purpose, and skill  
- They kept trying different approaches until they learned enough about the structure holding a problem in place to change it  
They summarized their findings:
[...] You need only three things to be an absolutely exquisite communicator. We have found that there are three major patterns in the behavior of every therapeutic wizard we've talked to — and executives, and salespeople. The first one is to know what outcome you want. The second is that you need flexibility in your behavior. You need to be able to generate lots and lots of different behaviors to find out what responses you get. The third is you need to have enough sensory experience to notice when you get the responses that you want [...] (Bandler and Grinder, 1979)
In their studies of Perls, Satir and Erickson, Bandler and Grinder aimed to learn and codify the "know-how" (as opposed to "know-what" [facts] or "know-why" [science]) that set these expert psychotherapists and communicators apart from their peers. The therapists knew what they were doing but there were tacit aspects of knowledge, those that cannot be explained or codified and can only be transmitted via training or gained through personal experience. So, in the initial phase of the modeling process, Bandler and Grinder spent months observing, in person and via recordings, and imitating how their models worked with clients. The initial part ("unconscious uptake") of the modeling process involved putting aside prior knowledge or expectations:
When modeling another person the modeler suspends his or her own beliefs and adopts the structure of the physiology, language, strategies, and beliefs of the person being modeled. After the modeler is capable of behaviorally reproducing the patterns (of behavior, communication, and behavioral outcomes) of the one being modeled, a process occurs in which the modeler modifies and readopts his or her own belief system while also integrating the beliefs of the one who was modeled.  (Einspruch & Forman, 1985)
Only when Bandler and Grinder could achieve the same results would they be able to codify the model. The knowledge of how to ride a bike is a similar example: one cannot learn to ride a bike by reading a textbook, it takes personal experimentation and practice to gain the necessary skills. Once Bandler and Grinder were confident that they could reproduce the skills (patterns of change, communication and language), the models were codified.
The methods of observation and imitation Bandler and Grinder used to learn and codify the initial models of NLP came to be known as "NLP modeling". Proponents maintain that NLP Modeling is not confined to therapy but can be applied to the full spectrum of human learning. Another aspect of NLP modeling is understanding the patterns of one's own behaviors in order to 'model' the more successful parts of oneself.
The meta model can be seen as a heuristic that responds to the words and phrases that reveal unconscious limitations and faulty thinking — the distortions, generalizations and deletions in language. Bandler and Grinder observed similar patterns in the communication of Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir (and gleaned from a set of transformational grammar language categories). The meta model seeks to recover unspoken information, challenge generalization and other distorted messages that involve restrictive thinking and beliefs. The intent is to help someone develop new choice in thinking and behavior. By listening to and carefully responding to the distortions (generalizations and deletions) in a client's sentences, the practitioner seeks to respond to the form of the sentence rather than the content itself.
For example, if someone said, "everyone must love me," the message is overly general as it does not specify any particular person or group of people. Examples of meta model responses include "which people, specifically?" or "all people?" and questions to define the criteria that would be acceptable for this person to know when he or she is experiencing the state of "love". The practitioner also understands that words such as "must" also indicates necessity or lack of choice on the part of the speaker. A meta-model response might be, "what would happen if they did/didn't?" Practitioners choose when to respond and when not to, using softeners and linkage phrases from the Milton model to maintain rapport.
In contrast to the Meta Model of NLP which specifies information, is the Milton Erickson-inspired Milton model described by Bandler and Grinder as "artfully vague". In it the communicator makes statements that seem specific but allow the listener to fill in their own meaning for what is being said. It makes use of pacing and leading, ambiguity, metaphor, embedded suggestion, and multiple-meaning sentence structures. It has been described as "a way of using language to induce and maintain trance in order to contact the hidden resources of our personality". The Milton model has three primary aspects: First, to assist in building and maintaining rapport with the client. Second, to overload and distract the conscious mind so that unconscious communication can be cultivated. Third, to allow for interpretation in the words offered to the client.
After spending months closely studying Erickson's language (verbal and non-verbal) and imitating the way that Erickson worked with clients, Bandler and Grinder published the Milton model in 1976/1977 under the title The Patterns of Milton H. Erickson Volumes I & II. In the preface, Erickson said, "Although this book [...] is far from being a complete description of my methodologies, as they so clearly state it is a much better explanation of how I work than I, myself, can give. I know what I do, but to explain how I do it is much too difficult for me." Erickson was known for his use of unconventional approaches, including the use of stories, and for deeply entering the world of his clients. The Milton model is a way of communicating based on the hypnotic language patterns of Milton Erickson.
Representational systems and accessing cues
A basic assumption of NLP is that internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language consist of visual, auditory, kinesthetic (and possibly olfactory and gustatory) representations (often shortened to VAK or VAKOG) that are engaged when people think about problems, tasks or activities, or engage in them. Internal sensory representations are constantly being formed and activated. Whether making conversation, talking about a problem, reading a book, kicking a ball or riding a horse, internal representations have an impact on performance. NLP techniques generally aim to change behavior through modifying the internal representations, examining the way a person represents a problem and by building desirable representations of alternative outcomes or goals. In addition, Bandler and Grinder claimed that the representational system use could be tracked using eye movements, gestures, breathing, sensory predicates and other cues in order to improve rapport and social influence.
- Accessing cues
Bandler and Grinder claimed that matching and responding to the representational systems people use to think is generally beneficial for enhancing rapport and influence in communication. They proposed several models for this purpose including eye accessing cues and sensory predicates. The direction of eye accesses was considered an indicator of the type of internal mental process (see the chart):
- 'v'isual — up to left or right
- 'a'uditory — level to left or right
- 'k'inesthetic — down to the right
The sensory predicates, breathing posture and gestures were also considered important. In the sensory predicate model, if someone said:
- "that rings true for me", rings predicates auditory processing.
- "that's clearer now", the sensory predicates clearer indicates some internal visual representation.
- "I can see a bright future for myself", the sensory predicates see and bright indicates some internal visual processing.
- "I can grasp a hold of the concept", the sensory predicates grasp and hold indicates primarily kinesthetic processing
These verbal cues are often coupled with posture changes, eye movements, skin color or breathing shifts. Essentially, it was claimed that the practitioner could ascertain the current sensory mode of thinking from external cues such as the direction of eye movements, posture, breathing, eye movements, voice tone and the use of sensory-based predicates.
- Preferred representational systems
The majority of research (as published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in the early 1980s) focused on Bandler and Grinder's claim  that a preferred representational system (PRS) exists and is effective in counseling-client influence. Put simply, they claimed that some people prefer visual, auditory, or kinesthetic processing. Further, a therapist (or communicator) could be more influential by matching the other's preferred system. Christopher Sharpley's review of counselling psychology literature on PRS found that it could not be reliably assessed, it was not certain that it even existed and it could not be demonstrated to reliably assist counselors. Buckner (published after Sharpley) found some support for the notion that eye movements can indicate visual and auditory components of thought in that moment.
While some NLP training programs and books still feature PRS, many have modified or dropped it. Richard Bandler, for example, de-emphasized its importance in an interview with the Enhancing Human Performance subcommittee. John Grinder, in the New Code of NLP, emphasizes individual calibration and sensory acuity, precluding such a rigidly specified model as the one described above. Responding directly to sensory experience requires an immediacy which respects the importance of context. Grinder also stated in an interview that a representational system diagnosis lasts about 30 seconds.
Submodalities are the fine details of sensory representational systems or modalities. In the late 1970s, the use of visual imagery was common in goal setting, sports psychology and meditation. Not only did Bandler and Grinder begin to explore imagery in all sensory modalities (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Gustatory and Olfactory), they also were interested in the qualities/properties of internal representations, the "submodalities".
Bandler and Grinder proposed that if increasing the brightness, color or location of an internal imagery increases the intensity of the current state then one can use this to increase the intensity of "dull" states. This idea was extended to the auditory imagery and the other sensory modalities . Submodality manipulation was applied systematically to representations in the other sensory modalities, such as volume and location of internal sound, texture, and movement of internal sensations.
Submodalities inspired a number of novel interventions in NLP, therapeutic or personal development settings. For example, the swish pattern is proposed to reduce unwanted habits by making the internal image submodalities of the unwanted behavior undesirable (e.g. small, dark and greyscale), replacing the internal image with a desirable image (e.g. large, bright and colorful submodalities) of how the person would be if the habit was no longer a problem.
NLP proposed a number of simple techniques involving matching, pacing and leading for establishing rapport with people. There are a number of techniques explored in NLP that are supposed to be beneficial in building and maintaining rapport such as: matching and pacing non-verbal behavior (body posture, head position, gestures, voice tone, and so forth) and matching speech and body rhythms of others (breathing, pulse, and so forth).
Anchoring is the process by which a particular state or response is associated (anchored) with a unique anchor. An anchor is most often a gesture, voice tone or touch but could be any unique visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory or gustatory stimulus. It is claimed that by recalling past resourceful states one can anchor those states to make them available in new situations. A psychotherapist might anchor positive states like calmness and relaxation, or confidence in the treatment of phobias and anxiety, such as in public speaking. Proponents state that anchors are capable of being formed and reinforced by repeated stimuli, and thus are analogous to classical conditioning.
Swish is a novel visualization technique for reducing unwanted habits. The process involves disrupting a pattern of thought that usually leads to an unwanted behavior such that it leads to a desired alternative. The process involves visualizing the trigger or 'cue image' that normally leads to the unwanted behavior pattern, such as a smoker's hand with a cigarette moving towards the face. The cue image is then switched a number of times with a visualization of a desired alternative, such as a self-image looking resourceful and fulfilled. The swish is tested by having the person think of the original cue image that use to lead to the undesired behavior, or by presenting the actual cue such as a cigarette to the client, while observing the responses. If the client stays resourceful then the process is complete. The name swish comes from the sound made by the practitioner/trainer as the visualizations are switched. Swish also makes use of submodalities, for example, the internal image of the unwanted behavior is typically shrunk to a small and manageable size and the desired outcome (or self-image) is enhanced by making it brighter and larger than normal. The swish was first published by Richard Bandler.
In NLP, reframing is the process whereby an element of communication is presented so as to transform an individual's perception of the meanings or "frames" attributed to words, phrases and events. By changing the way the event is perceived "responses and behaviors will also change. Reframing with language allows you to see the world in a different way and this changes the meaning. Reframing is the basis of jokes, myths, legends, fairy tales and most creative ways of thinking." The concept was common to a number of therapies prior to NLP. For example, it appeared in the approaches of Virginia Satir, Fritz Perls and Milton Erickson and in strategic therapy of Paul Watzlawick. There are examples in children's literature. Pollyanna, for example, would play The Glad Game whenever she felt downhearted to remind herself of the things that she could do, and not worry about the things that she could not change.
Six step reframe
An example of reframing is found in the six-step reframe which involves distinguishing between an underlying intention and the consequent behaviors for the purpose of achieving the intention by different and more successful behaviors. It is based on the notion that there is a positive intention behind all behaviors, but that the behaviors themselves may be unwanted or counterproductive in other ways. NLP uses this staged process to identify the intention and create alternative choices to satisfy that intention.
Ecology and congruency
Ecology in NLP deals with the relationship between a client and his or her natural, social and created environments and how a proposed goal or change might retreat to his or her relationships and environment. It is a frame within which the desired outcome is checked against the consequences client's life and mind as systemic processes. It treats the client's relationship with self as a system and his or her relationship with others as subsystems that interact so when someone considers a change it is important therefore to take into account the consequences on the system as a whole. Like gestalt therapy a goal of NLP is to help the client choose goals and make changes that achieve a sense of personal congruency and integrity with personal and other aspects of the client's life.
Parts Integration creates a metaphor of different aspects (parts) of ourselves which are in conflict due to different goals, perceptions and beliefs. 'Parts integration' is the process of 'identifying' these parts and negotiating (or working) with each of these parts separately & together, with a goal of resolving internal conflict. Successful parts negotiation occurs by listening to and providing opportunities to meet the needs of each part and adequately addressing each part's interests so that they are each satisfied with the desired outcome. It often involves negotiating with the conflicting parts of a person to achieve resolution. Parts integration appears to be modeled on 'parts' from family therapy and has similarities to ego-state therapy in psychoanalysis in that it seeks to resolve conflicts that constitute a "family of self" within a single individual.
Psychological research and reviews
Journal of Counseling Psychology
In 1984, Christopher F. Sharpley (publishing in the Journal of Counseling Psychology) undertook a literature review of 15 studies on the existence and effectiveness of preferred representational systems (PRS), an underlying principle of NLP. He found "little research evidence supporting its usefulness as an effective counseling tool" and that there was no reproducible support for PRS and predicate matching. Eric Einspruch and Bruce Forman (1985) broadly agreed with Sharpley, but they disputed the conclusions, identifying a failure to address methodological errors in the research reviewed. They stated that "NLP is far more complex than presumed by researchers, and thus, the data are not true evaluations of NLP" adding that NLP is difficult to test under the traditional counseling psychology framework. Moreover, they argued the research lacked a necessary understanding of pattern recognition as part of advanced NLP training. There was also inadequate control of context, an unfamiliarity with NLP as an approach to therapy, inadequate definitions of rapport, and numerous logical mistakes in the research methodology. In 1987, Sharpley published a response to Einspruch and Forman with a review of a further 7 studies on the same basic tenets (totalling 44 including those cited by Einspruch and Forman). This second article included a review of Elich et al (1985), a study that found no support for the proposed relationship between eye movements, spoken predicates, and internal imagery. Elich et al stated that "NLP has achieved something akin to cult status when it may be nothing more than a psychological fad".
Sharpley stated that "data collected in 44 studies clearly indicate an overwhelming finding that (a) the PRS cannot be reliably assessed; (b) when it is assessed, the PRS is not consistent over time; therefore, (c) it is not even certain that the PRS exists; and (d) matching clients' or other persons' PRS does not appear to assist counselors reliably in any clearly demonstrated manner."and "there are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the principles and procedures of NLP have failed to be supported by those data. ... Certainly research data do not support the rather extreme claims that proponents of NLP have made as to the validity of its principles or the novelty of its procedures." Also that NLP may not be testable stating, "perhaps NLP principles are not amenable to research evaluation. This does not necessarily reduce NLP to worthlessness for counseling practice. Rather, it puts NLP in the same category as psychoanalysis, that is, with principles not easily demonstrated in laboratory settings but, nevertheless, strongly supported by clinicians in the field. Not every therapy has to undergo the rigorous testing that is characteristic of the more behavioural approaches to counseling to be of use to the therapeutic community, but failure to produce data that support a particular theory from controlled studies does relegate that theory to questionable status in terms of professional accountability"
Sharpley states that a number of NLP techniques are worthwhile or beneficial in counseling, citing predicate matching, mirroring clients behaviors, moving sensory modalities, reframing, anchoring and changing history, but that none of these techniques originated within NLP. Sharpley said that "NLP may be seen as a partial compendium of rather than as an original contribution to counseling practice and, thereby, has a value distinct from the lack of research data supporting the underlying principles that Bandler and Grinder posited to present NLP as a new and magical theory". He concluded that as a counseling tool, the techniques and underlying theory unique to NLP, were both empirically unvalidated and unsupported but that "if NLP is presented as a theory-less set of procedures gathered from many approaches to counseling, then it may serve as a reference role for therapists who wish to supplement their counseling practice by what may be novel techniques to them."
Other reviews of evidence for preferred representational systems
A study by Buckner et al (1987), (after Sharpley), using trained NLP practitioners found support for the claim that specific eye movement patterns existed for visual and auditory components of thought, and that trained observers could reliably identify them. However, the study did not address whether such patterns indicated a preferred representational system. They also made suggestions for further research. Krugman et al (1985) had tested claims for a 'one-session' treatment of performance anxiety against another method and a control group and found no support for claims of a 'one-session' effective treatment. Buckner et al argued for further research into NLP amongst other treatments that have "achieved popularity in the absence of data supporting their utility".
Responses to research reviews
In response to the experimental literature reviews Watkins said that "Neurolinguistic Programming studies attempted to match eye movements and representational patterns. These are appropriate tests of the validity of the proponents' claims. However, one can only speculate what might have been learned with a wider range of outcome variables. Since this is a review of empirical research it may seem unfair to focus on limitations of the studies reported, but at a minimum the authors could have critiqued the methodological rigor and conceptual soundness of the variables tested."
Enhancing human performance study
As part of a study that investigated various psychological techniques for learning, improving motor skills, altering mental states, stress management and social influence at the request of the US Army Research Institute, the Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance (United States National Research Council) selected several heavily marketed human performance enhancement techniques that made strong claims for their efficacy. Many of the techniques evaluated happened to have origins in the human potential movement. NLP was selected as a strategy for social influence and was evaluated by the psychological techniques committee directed by social psychologist Daniel Druckman. The committee was already aware of the weak support for preferred representation systems (PRS) in the literature and noted that the body of research had largely not tested NLP beyond the assumptions related to PRS (consistent with the Sharpley's literature review in Journal of Counseling Psychology). However, the effect of matching predicates on all representations showed strong effect on perceptions.
The psychological techniques study committee directed by Druckman "found little if any evidence to support NLP’s assumptions or that it is effective as a strategy for social influence." But the committee "were impressed with the modeling approach used to develop the [NLP] technique. The technique was developed from careful observations of the way three master psychotherapists conducted their sessions, emphasizing imitation of verbal and nonverbal behaviors (Druckman & Swets, 1988, Chapter 8). This then led the committee to take up the topic of expert modeling in the second phase of its work." While the committee recommended further investigation into the NLP as a "model of expert performance", NLP was not mentioned in "Enhancing Human Performance" publications that followed, except by way of acknowledgment for the observation and imitation methods used by Bandler and Grinder to model the verbal and non-verbal patterns of "master psychotherapists" Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson in the early development of NLP.
Decline in research interest
Template:Stub-section These mid-80s reviews marked the start of a decline in research interest in NLP generally, and particular in matching sensory predicates and its use in counselor-client relationship in counseling psychology..
Similarly in the field of psychotherapy it is stated that the "original interest in NLP turned to disillusionment after the research and now it is rarely even mentioned in psychotherapy".
There has been some ongoing research by both NLP practitioners and psychologists, including outcome-based research and research of therapies which share NLP processes, but there are no thorough reviews or meta-analyses of NLP's effectiveness.
Grant Devilly (2005) researching the experimental evidence underlying several "power therapies" including EMDR and VK/D (a technique spawned from NLP) stated that there had not been any peer-reviewed experimental research published yet concerning VK/D. He comments that:
"at the time of its introduction, NLP was heralded as a breakthrough in therapy and advertisements for training workshops, videos and books began to appear in trade magazines. The workshops provided certification [...] However, controlled studies shed such a poor light on the practice, and those promoting the intervention made such extreme and changeable claims that researchers began to question the wisdom of researching the area further and even suggested that NLP was an untestable theory. [...] NLP is no longer as prevalent as it was in the 1970s or 1980s, but is still practiced in small pockets of the human resource community. The science has come and gone, yet the belief still remains" (Grant Devilly, 2005, p.437).
Lack of scientific validation
Proponents of NLP often claim it is predicated on a scientific understanding and the name of neuro-linguistic programming implies a basis in science. Cognitive neuroscience researcher Michael C Corballis (1999) said that "NLP is a thoroughly fake title, designed to give the impression of scientific respectability."
Evidence-based researcher and clinician Scott Lilienfeld said that "largely untested treatments comprise a major proportion—in some cases a majority—of the interventions delivered by mental health professionals." Lilienfeld argues that NLP, as a New Age psychotherapy, is one of many hundreds of variations of psychotherapy that have not been subject to rigorous empirical validation. Lilienfeld and colleagues believe that randomized controlled studies are the only way to verify whether or not psychotherapeutic treatments are effective. It is argued that the proof of the validity of new therapeutic practices in clinical psychology fall on the proponents of these practices. There has been no peer-reviewed empirical research on VK/D (Visual/Kinesthetic dissociation), an intervention derived from NLP which has been been taught alongside other Power therapies (eg. EMDR, TFT).
Psycholinguist Willem Levelt (in the Dutch skeptical magazine Skepter) acknowledges that the main point of NLP was pragmatic, but doubts the basis in neurology, linguistics and computer programming implied. He argues that most modern neurologists are informed about the brain based on neuro-imaging and clinical data but in NLP there has been little interest in neuroscience or clinical research. He asserts that the experimental evidence does not exist to support the hypothesis that eye movements can reveal preferred representational system. He also claims there are philosophical conflicts between the NLP meta model, the philosophy of David Hume (sensory experience is combined to form representations) and William Wundt (which Levelt considers close to "the study of subjective experience", a main idea in NLP).
In contrast to mainstream psychotherapy, NLP does not concentrate on diagnosis, treatment and assessment of mental and behavioral disorders. Instead, it focuses on helping clients to overcome their own self-perceived, or subjective, problems. It seeks to do this while respecting their own capabilities and wisdom to choose additional goals for the intervention as they learn more about their problems, and to modify and specify those goals further as a result of extended interaction with a therapist. The two main therapeutic uses of NLP are use as an adjunct by therapists practicing in other therapeutic disciplines, or as a specific therapy called Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt).
Interpersonal communications and persuasion
While the main goals of Neuro-linguistic programming are therapeutic, the patterns have also been adapted for use outside of psychotherapy including business communication, management training, sales, sports, and interpersonal influence.
For some, the techniques, such as anchoring, reframing, therapeutic metaphor and hypnotic suggestion, were intended to be used in the therapeutic setting. Research in counseling psychology found rapport to be no more effective than existing listening skills taught to counselors. Furthermore, Druckman found weak empirical support for PRS and little theoretical support in counseling psychology and the experimental literature for NLP as a technique for social influence. Sharpley concluded that most of the other techniques available in NLP were already available in counseling.
Outside of psychotherapy, the meta model, for example, is seen by some as a promising business management communication technique.
Popular culture and media
Template:Stub-section NLP, when mentioned in popular culture, often refers to its more 'spectacular' claims and potentials. When NLP is mentioned in the context of "the power of the mind", claims such as "you can achieve anything" are common - this is seen by scientists as a wild and unsubstantiated claim. (Note that NLP does not teach that this claim is true, but it does teach that believing it is useful - that if a subject believes they are capable of more it will enable a greater range of possibilities for them.)
NLP also teaches that people are unconsciously influenced when making decisions, and that they can give indications in their muscle and facial movements of their thought processes. The public perception of NLP, like hypnosis, is often mixed (sometimes deliberately) with public preconceptions and interest in the unknown.
English mentalist Derren Brown has been popularly associated with NLP since it was rumoured that he used it in his "Russian roulette" act.Brown has stated that NLP spurred his interest in developing skills in reading non-verbal signals (see also cold reading) and indirect suggestion, but he points out in Tricks of the Mind that he has "never mentioned it" in the context of his work, and that although he found it enlightening, NLP's capabilities are frequently exaggerated.
In 2005, celebrity hypnotist and television personality Paul McKenna was shown applying NLP and other techniques on his Sky One show, I Can Change Your Life to assist people with phobias, such as agoraphobia and addictions to gambling and shopping. In 2006, another Sky One programme, 'I Can Make You Thin', featured Richard Bandler and used NLP among other techniques including Thought Field Therapy to help people lose weight.
Anthony Robbins saw success marketing his self-help programs using infomercials. Personal Power, one of Robbins self-help audio programs launched in 1989 has sold in excess of US $100 million. Previously Robbins had published Unlimited Power, an American best seller based largely on NLP. While Robbins incorporated some aspects of NLP in what he called Neuro Associative Conditioning and later programs, NLP was mentioned less often.
Thom Hartmann, the psychotherapist turned Air America radio talk show host, was trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the 1970s by Richard Bandler, whom he calls "one of my best teachers" in a 2008 book entitled Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision that is largely based on NLP. In Cracking the Code, Hartmann affirms that Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz "studied the tools" of NLP and put them to work for for the Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s, but does not present documentary evidence of this.
History and development
1970s: Founding and early development
NLP was co-founded and developed jointly by Richard Bandler and then UCSC assistant professor of linguistics John Grinder, under the tutelage of noted anthropologist Gregory Bateson, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during the 1970s. At that time the Californian human potential seminars were developing into a viable industry. Gregory Bateson (see Esalen Institute) was influenced by Alfred Korzybski, particularly his ideas about human modeling and that 'the map is not the territory'. These ideas were adopted by Bandler and Grinder.
From 1972, the co-founders of NLP had an interest in the exceptional communications skills of gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, family therapist Virginia Satir and founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, Milton H. Erickson. Subsequently Structure of Magic Series (1975) and Patterns of Milton H. Erickson (1976, 1977) were published using those therapists as models. In the late 1970s, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Robert Dilts, David Gordon, and James P. Eicher (then a key grad student at UCSC under Bandler and Grinder) worked with the co-founders and separately to contribute to the development of NLP.
1980s: New developments and scientific assessment
In the 1980s, shortly after publishing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I with Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier, Grinder and Bandler fell out. Amidst acrimony and intellectual property lawsuits, NLP started to be developed haphazardly by many individuals. Given the multiplicity of developers and trainers, there was to be no single definitive system of NLP.
In the late 1980s, Sharpley's (1984, 1987) research reviews in experimental counseling psychology and by the United States National Research Council gave NLP an overall negative assessment marking a decrease in NLP research interest.
1990s: Controversy, division, and marketing
In July of 1996 after many years of legal controversy, Bandler filed a lawsuit against John Grinder et al, claiming retrospective sole ownership of NLP, and the sole right to use the term under trademark. Contemporaneous with Bandler's law suits, Tony Clarkson (a UK practitioner) successfully asked the UK High Court to revoke Bandler's UK registered trademark of "NLP", in order to clarify legally that 'NLP' was a generic term rather than intellectual property.
Despite the NLP community being splintered, most NLP material acknowledges the early work of the co-founders, Bandler and Grinder, and the development group that surrounded them in the 1970s.
2000s: Legal settlement and government regulation
In 2001, the law suits were settled with Bandler and Grinder agreeing to be known as co-founders of NLP. Since 1978, a 20 day NLP practitioner certification program had been in existence for training therapists to apply NLP as an adjunct to their professional qualifications. As NLP evolved, and the applications began to be extended beyond therapy - new ways of training were developed and the course structures and design changed. Course lengths and style vary from institute to institute. In the 1990s, following attempts to put NLP on a more formally regulated footing in the UK, other governments began certifying NLP courses and providers, such as in Australia for example, where a graduate certificatein Neuro-linguistic programming is accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).However, NLP continues to be an open field of training with no 'official' best practice. With different authors, individual trainers and practitioners having developed their own methods, concepts and labels, often branding them as "NLP", the training standards and quality differ greatly. In Europe, the European NLP therapy associationhas been promoting their training in line with European therapy standards. The multiplicity and general lack of controls has led to difficulty discerning the comparative level of competence, skill and attitude in different NLP trainings. According to Peter Schütz the length of training in Europe varies from 2-3 days for the hobbyist, to 35-40 days over at least nine months to achieve a professional level of competence.
Associations with science
NLP's association with science has been complex and controversial. Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier claim "NLP is rooted in the synthesis of three areas of modern science: neurophysiology, linguistics and cybernetics (computer programming)." Grinder & Bostic St Clair (2001) make suggestions about what needs to be done next to "improve the practice [of NLP] and take its rightful place as a scientifically based endeavor with its precise focus on one of the extremes of human behavior: excellence and the high performers who actually do it." They ask those interested to work with researchers in cognitive linguistics and neuroscience to begin to improve the relationship with those fields.
In the introduction to The Structure of Magic Series, Gregory Bateson stated that "[Bandler and Grinder] create the beginnings of an appropriate theoretical base for the describing of human interaction. [They] have succeeded in making linguistics into a base for theory and simultaneously into a tool for therapy."
Principles and presuppositions
There are slightly different versions of what practitioners consider to be the basic principles or presuppositions of NLP, but there is a fairly high degree of agreement on those most central to NLP. These are generalizations used as working guides.
- Behind every behavior there is a positive intention. Even a seemingly negative thought or behavior has a positive function at some level or in some other context. (presupposition)
- A person is not his or her behaviour
- There is no failure, only feedback. (presupposition)
- The meaning of the communication is the response it produces, not the intended communication. (presupposition)
- One cannot not communicate: Every behaviour is a kind of communication. Because behaviour does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behaviour), it is not possible not to communicate.
- Choice is better than no choice. An idea from cybernetics that holds the most flexible element in a system will have the most influence or choice in that system.
- People already have all the internal resources they need to succeed. (presupposition)
- Multiple descriptions are better than one
- Meet people in their own unique map of the world This is based on the generalisation that one individual's reality is not the same as any other's and is linked to the principle that the map is not the territory.
Psychologists, Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich claim that NLP fosters a 'quick-fix' attitude. They argue that while some proponents of NLP purport it is based on disciplines such as cybernetics, linguistics, communication theory, others claim it is a "heavily pragmatic" — what's useful for a person to believe might differ wildly from what is actually true — and not based on theory at all. Singer quotes that common attitude of "pretend it works, try it, and notice the results you get. If you don't get the result you want, try something else" Despite the lack of interest in theory by at least by some practitioners, the field has been marketed as a 'science', 'technology' and 'hi-tech psychology'.
Peter Labouchere states that "NLP has a very pragmatic, applied focus on what is helpful, what works and how to replicate it (Bandler & Grinder, 1990). While NLP draws on and shares common ground with ‘mainstream’ cognitive psychology, it has, from its inception, continued to develop, refine, and apply its own unique range of concepts, models and techniques."
Christoper Partridge states that "NLP may be best thought of as a system of psychology concerned with the self development of the human being" and "It is concerned with the function of belief rather than its nature. It is not concerned whether a belief is true or not, but whether it is empowering or disempowering. NLP's focus on subjective experience and its view that we cannot comprehend objective reality means that it fits well as an example of postmodern thought." Similarly, Stephen J. Hunt states that NLP "is a technique rather than an organized religion and is used by several different human potential movements". David V. Barrett (2001) also describes NLP as a technique or series of techniques, or a process. He states that that "the balance comes down against it being labeled as a religion".
- Gestalt therapy
- Family systems therapy
- The map is not the territory
- Provocative therapy
- Cognitive science
- Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
- "neurolinguistic programming n. A form of psychotherapy and a model of interpersonal communication in the tradition of humanistic psychology based on elements of transformational grammar and preferred sensory representations for learning and self-expression." A Dictionary of Psychology.
- Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises. ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
- Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.
- Craft (2001) "Neuro-linguistic Programming and learning theory." doi:10.1080/09585170122455 Curriculum Journal, 12.1, Mar 2001, pp.125-136
- Devilly GJ (2005) "Power therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry" Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 39:437-445(9)
- Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory". Communication and Cognition. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1987 Vol. 34, No. 1: 103–107, 105.
- Druckman and Swets (Eds) (l988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques, National Academy Press.
- Beyerstein, B. 'Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience', Centre for Professional and Curriculum Development, Dept. Psychology, Simon Fraser University. 
- Brandon A. Gaudiano, Book Review: The Disease of Pseudoscience and the Hope for a Cure, Skeptical Inquirer: Jul 2003. 
- Lilienfeld, S.O. (2002). "Our Raisson D'etre". The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. 1(1): 20.
- Gelso and Fassinger (1990) "Counseling Psychology: Theory and Research on Interventions" Annual Review of PsychologyError: Bad DOI specified!
- Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press. pp. 149 (p.8 (quote), pp.15, 24, 30, 45, 52). ISBN 0911226192.
- Grinder, John, Richard Bandler (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume I. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 1555520529. John Grinder, Richard Bandler, Judith Delozier (1977). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume II. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 1555520537.
- Tosey, P. Jane Mathison (2003) Neuro-linguistic Programming and learning theory: a response The Curriculum Journal Vol.14 No.3 p.371-388 See also (available online): Neuro-linguistic programming: its potential for learning and teaching in formal education
- Steenbarger (2002) "Single-session therapy: Theoretical underpinnings" In Elsevier Encyclopedia of Psychotherapy. See NLP p.671.
- Cooper and Seal (2006) "Theory and Approaches - Eclectic-integrative approaches: Neuro-linguistic programming" In Feldtham and Horton (Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy 2e
- John Grinder, Suzette Elgin (1972). "On Deletion Phenomena in English". Mouton & Co.,. ISBN 9027930058.
- Hill, RG., (2007) "Review of Brief NLP therapy." Existential Analysis. Jan Vol 18(1) 189-190
- Robert Dilts and Roxanna Erickson Klein (2006) "Historical: Neuro-linguistic Programming" in The Milton H. Erickson Foundation: Newsletter Summer 2006, 26(2).
- Druckman et al. (1988) "Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques" see page p.138
- Frogs into Princes, p.54-55.
- Frogs into Princes, p.10: "One of the systematic things that Erickson and Satir and a lot of other effective therapists do is to notice unconsciously how the person they are talking to thinks, and make use of that information in lots and lots of different ways."
- According to Haley, a well known writer on Milton Erickson, Erickson was notable amongst psychiatrists, because he would respond to metaphor with other metaphors, rather than by attempting to "interpret".
- "He does not translate unconscious communication into conscious form. Whatever the patient says in metaphoric form, Erickson responds [matches] in kind. By parables, by interpersonal action, and by directives, he works within the metaphor to bring about change. He seems to feel that the depth and swiftness of that change can be prevented if the person suffers a translation of the communication." (Haley, "Uncommon therapy", 1973 + 1986, p.28)
- For an example of "wired in" precise skills, Frogs into Princes, p.77: "One of the things that we noticed about Sal Minuchin, Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls is that they intuitively had many of those twelve questions in the meta-model wired in."
- Frogs into Princes, p.162: "One of the things that I think distinguishes a really exquisite communicator from one who is not, is to be precise about your use of language... If you are precise about the way you phrase questions, you will get precise kinds of information back."
- Einspruch, Eric L., Forman, Bruce D. (1985). "Observations Concerning Research Literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming". Journal of Counseling Psychology. 32(4): pp. 589-596.
- Jacobson, S. (1994), "Info-line: practical guidelines for training and development professionals", American Society For Training and Development Alexandria, VA Adapted version available online
- Grinder, John and Richard Bandler (1981). Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis. Moab, UT: Real People Press. ISBN 0-911226-23-0.
- Joseph O'Connor, John Seymour (2002 (first published 1990)). Introducing NLP. London: HarperCollins. 1855383446. Check date values in:
- Pruett, Julie Annette Sikes (2002) The application of the neuro-linguistic programming model to vocal performance training D.M.A., The University of Texas at Austin, 151 pages; AAT 3108499
- Norma Barretta (2004) Review of Hypnotic Language: Its Structure and Use. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Bloomingdale: Jan 2004. Vol.46, Iss. 3; pg. 261, 2 pgs
- Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.
- Buckner, Meara, Reese, and Reese (1987) "Eye Movement as an Indicator of Sensory Components in Thought" Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 34(3), pp.283-287
- Dilts, Robert B (2000). Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding. NLP University Press. ISBN 0970154003. Unknown parameter
- Krugman, M., Kirsch, I., Wickless, C., Milling, L., Golicz, H., Toth, A., (1985) "Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth?." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Aug, Vol. 53(4) pp. 526-530. abstract
- Haber, Russell, (2002): "Virginia Satir: An integrated, humanistic approach" Contemporary Family Therapy, Vol 24(1), Mar 2002,p32 pp. 23-34 ISSN 1573-3335 doi:10.1023/A:1014317420921
- Bandler, 1984. see p.134-137
- Masters, B Rawlins, M, Rawlins, L, Weidner, J. (1991) "The NLP swish pattern: An innovative visualizing technique." Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Vol 13(1) Jan 1991, 79-90. " abstract
- Bandler, R., Andreas, S. (ed) and Andreas, C. (ed) (1985) Using Your Brain-for a Change ISBN 0911226273
- Grinder, John and Richard Bandler (1983). Reframing: Neurolinguistic programming and the transformation of meaning. Moab, UT: Real Petrol Press. ISBN 0-911226-25-7.
- Joseph O'Connor NLP: A Practical Guide to Achieving the Results You Want: Workbook Harper Collins 2001
- Sterman, CM (1990) Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Alcoholism Treatment. Haworth Press. ISBN 1560240024 p.
- Alice Mills (1999) Pollyanna and the not so glad game. Children's Literature. Storrs: 1999. Vol.27 pg. 87, 18 pgs
- Schabracq, M. (2003) "Everyday Well-Being and Stress in Work and Organisations" In The Handbook of Work and Health Psychology Schabracq, Winnubst & Cooper (Eds.) John Wiley and Sond. p.15
- Elich, M., Thompson, R. W., & Miller, L. (1985). Mental imagery as revealed by eye movements and spoken predicates: A test of neurolinguistic programming. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 622-625. note: "psychological fad" p. 625
- Krugman, Kirsch, Wickless, Milling, Golicz, & Toth (1985). Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth? Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. Vol 53(4), 526-530.
- Karen E Watkins. (1997) An invited response: Selected alternative training techniques in HRD Human Resource Development Quarterly. San Francisco: Winter 1997. Vol. 8, Iss. 4; pg. 295, 5 pgs
- Druckman & Swets, 1988 [http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=1025&page=138 see pages 138-149.
- Druckman & Swets, 1988., see p.243
- Druckman, Daniel (2004) "Be All That You Can Be: Enhancing Human Performance" Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 34, Number 11, November 2004, pp. 2234-2260(27)Error: Bad DOI specified!
- Druckman & Swets 1988 see p.22
- Von Bergen, C W, Barlow Soper, Gary T Rosenthal, Lamar V Wilkinson (1997). "Selected alternative training techniques in HRD". Human Resource Development Quarterly. 8(4): 281–294.
- Druckman, D., & Bjork, R. A. (Eds.). (1991). In the mind's eye: Enhancing human performance. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
- Efran, J S. Lukens M.D. (1990) Language, structure, and change: frameworks of meaning in psychotherapy, Published by W.W. Norton, New York. p.122
- Corballis, MC., "Are we in our right minds?" In Sala, S., (ed.) (1999), Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions About the Mind and Brain Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons. ISBN 0-471-98303-9 (pp. 25-41) see page p.41
- Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, Jeffrey M. Lohr (eds) (2004) Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology
- Willem Levelt (1996) Hoedt u voor Neuro-Linguïstisch Programmeren! Skepter Vol.9(3)
- Field, ES., (1990) Neurolinguistic programming as an adjunct to other psychotherapeutic/hypnotherapeutic interventions. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. 32(3) 174-182.
- Bridoux, D., Weaver, M., (2000) "Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy." In Therapeutic perspectives on working with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients. Davies, Dominic (Ed); Neal, Charles (Ed). (pp. 73-90). Buckingham, England: Open University Press (2000) xviii, 187 pp.
- Yemm, G., (2006) "Can NLP help or harm your business?" Industrial and Commercial Training, 38(1), pp. 12-17(6)
- Zastrow, C., "Social workers and salesworkers: Similarities and differences." Journal of Independent Social Work. 4(3) p.7-16
- Ingalls, Joan S. (1988) "Cognition and athletic behavior: An investigation of the NLP principle of congruence." Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol 48(7-B), pp.2090.
- Dowlen, A. (1996) "NLP - help or hype? Investigating the uses of neuro-linguistic programming in management learning " Career Development International, 1 (1) , pp. 27-34(8)
- Was Derren Brown really playing Russian roulette - or was it just a trick? by Alok Jha, October 9, 2003, The Guardian
- Brown, Derren (2000). Pure Effect: Direct Mindreading and Magical Artistry. H&R Magic Books. pp. 107, 110.
- Sky One
- Belch, GE., Belch, MA., (1995) Introduction to Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing. p.453
- Robbins, Anthony (1986). Unlimited power: the new science of personal achievement. New York: Simon & Schuster, 448 pages. ISBN 0-684-84577-6. pages.39,40.
- Dilts, R., Grinder, J., Delozier , J., and Bandler, R. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I: The Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 0916990079.
- Grinder, John & Judith DeLozier (1987). Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius. Scots Valley, CA: Grinder & Associates. ISBN 1-55552-022-7.
- Cite web: 'NLP Knowledge Centre'
- Cite web: 'NLP Schedule'
- Cite web: ANLP News: NLP Matters
- Cite web: NTIS: Graduate Certificate in Neuro-linguistic programming
- Carroll, Robert T. "The Skeptic's Dictionary". . Retrieved 2003. Check date values in:
- Peter Schütz (Accessed 24th December 2006) A consumer guide through the multiplicity of NLP certification training: A European perspective
- Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. University Of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-03905-6.
- See also Paul Watzlawick
- Connelly, R 2006
- Singer, Margaret & Janja Lalich (1996). Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work?. Jossey Bass. 0787902780. Text " p.169-172" ignored (help) see also: Crazy Therapies
- Peter Labouchere (2004) Using participatory story telling, forum theatre and NLP concepts and techniques to create powerful learning experiences around issues of HIV prevention, support and positive living paper presented at at EE4 - Fourth International Entertainment Education Conference
- Partridge, C., 2004 "New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects, and Alternative Spiritualities" page. 204
- Hunt, Stephen J. (2003) Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction ISBN 0-7546-3410-8
- David V. Barrett (2001) The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions pp.434,26, see also The New Believers
- Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979) Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Real People Press. 149 pages. ISBN 0911226192
- Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1975) The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy Science and Behavior Books. 198 pages. ISBN 0831400447
- Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1981) Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning Real People Press. ISBN 0911226257
- Bandler, R., Andreas, S. (ed) and Andreas, C. (ed) (1985) Using Your Brain-for a Change ISBN 0911226273
- Colman., Andrew M., Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. retrieved 6 September 2007, 27 April 2008. 
- Dilts, R., Hallbom, T., Smith, S. (1990) Beliefs: Pathways to Health & Well-being
- Dilts, R. (1990) Changing belief systems with NLP Meta Publications. ISBN 0916990249
- Grinder, M. Lori Stephens (Ed) (1991) Righting the Educational Conveyor Belt ISBN 1555520367
- Laborde, G. (1987) Influencing with Integrity: Management Skills for Communication and Negotiation
- Grinder, J., Bandler, R. (1976) Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume I ISBN 091699001X
- O'Connor, J., Seymour, J. Dilts, R. (foreword), Grinder, J. (preface) (1995) Introducing Neuro-linguistic Programming: The New Psychology of Personal Excellence Aquarian Press. 224 pages. ISBN 1852740736
- Satir, V., Grinder, J., Bandler, R. (1976) Changing with Families: A Book about Further Education for Being Human Science and Behavior Books. ISBN 083140051X
- Bandler: Society of NLP
- Grinder: International Trainers Academy of NLP (ITA)
- Europe-wide: EANLPt - European accrediting organisation for NLPt
- German-based: List of German associations
- German NLP Coaching Association German NLP Coaching Association
- Scandinavia-based: INLPTA Scandinavia
- Swiss-based: International Association for NLP (IANLP)
- UK-based: Association of NLP, Professional Guild of NLP, Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy & counselling Association (NLPtCA), GONLP/BBNLP
- Article on scientific validity of NLP
- Database and review of academic research
- NLP and learning research (University of Surrey) hosting The First International Neuro-Linguistic Programming Research Conference
- Glossary of commonly used NLP terms
- Lee Lady's comments about history and development of NLP
- NLP Magazine - AnchorPoint
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