Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is a methodology that has become more popular over the years. This modal of treatment can help those struggling to maintain treatment goals because of unexplained behaviors. Research still needs to be done on the effectiveness of this form of treatment. However, many drug and alcohol treatment centers are looking into learning and implementing this type of modality. 

NLP has been described as being similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy, but those who support NLP have claimed quicker outcomes. How does NLP help the patient, and should you consider seeking training?

NLP Explained 

In the 1970s, linguist John Grinder and information scientist and mathematician Richard Bandler developed a new modality called neurolinguistic programming at the University of California, Santa Cruz. NLP is a set of communication change techniques that help someone create cognitive-behavioral change. 

The theory behind NLIP is that a person views the world through their preferred representational system (PRS). For example, a person might communicate best visually, auditorily,  kinaesthetic, olfactory, or gustatory. According to NLP,  a person’s preferred method of communication might be understood based on behavior, specifically eye movement and verbal expression. 

The goal of NLP is for practitioners — e.g., the counselors or therapists implementing it — to speak to their patients in a way that reflects their preferred method of communication. By learning how to talk to your patient in their language or way of communicating, you can establish rapport and help them make new connections. Therapists who practice NLP can also use this modality to help their patients reach their treatment goals. 

This methodology is often used outside of a clinical setting as a template for goal setting because it allows patients to connect with the consequences or impacts of their actions and behavior. Understanding the consequences of their actions allows the patient to realign their behaviors to meet their goals.

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Your Own Personal Map

A common saying among those who practice NLP is that the “map is not the territory.” This saying points out that a patient’s perspective isn’t the same as their entire reality; it’s just an interpretation. An individual’s map is just information perceived through the primary senses. 

People who practice NLP can learn how to read their patient’s “map” by understanding their PRS and matching it. Once a therapist can match their patient’s PRS, they can help that patient discover and strengthen the skills that serve them best in achieving their goals. The patients can then develop new strategies that can replace ineffective ones. 

Natural Hierarchies of Learning, Communication, and Change

Those who are trained in and practice NLP believe in six logical levels of change, which are:

#1. Purpose and Spirituality: This includes religion, ethics, morals, and anything bigger than yourself.

#2. Identity: This is how you perceive yourself, including your roles and responsibilities.

#3. Beliefs and Values: These are things that matter to you.

#4. Capabilities and Skills: These are things that you can do.

#5. Behaviors: These are the actions you perform.

#6. Environment: This is your setting, which includes where you are and the people around you.

Each level organizes and directs the information below it. According to NLP theory, the change you make on a lower level might impact a higher level and vice versa. 

A person who practices NLP can look at their own perspectives as well as those of others with a systematic overview of the entire situation. This allows the therapist to clearly view how a person’s view impacts their thoughts and behaviors. 

Who NLP Can Help

NLP works as a tool for intervention and behavioral change. This makes the modality useful for those who want to change a behavior but don’t know what parts of their behavior influence their ability to achieve their goals. This type of programming has been used to help a diverse set of issues, including:

NLP training has also been used to help those who wish to: 

  • Become a powerful communicator
  • Learn how to read non-verbal cues
  • Increase sensory awareness
  • Learn how to control thinking and emotions
  • Achieve goals
  • Fix unwanted behaviors

Learning this skill may be beneficial to both patients and those who learn how to practice NLP. 

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Things to Keep in Mind

Despite its upward trend in clinical use, there is little scientific evidence of the modality’s effectiveness. There isn’t evidence of no effect; however, there is still limited research. An issue with researching neurolinguistic programming is that because the methodology has become controversial, biases for and against the modality could affect further studies.

Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) is still very new; however, many have said they have benefited from this cutting-edge form of treatment by changing their perspectives and learning new forms of communication. Learning their own personal map might be the key to a patient’s recovery. If you are a practitioner interested in learning how you can become trained in this treatment modality, contact Hawaii Island Recovery today to learn more about the process. Our treatments are provided by experienced and compassionate health care professionals who prioritize quality. Hawaii Island Recovery offers NLP as one of our many modalities because we understand that treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all. Our treatment plans are tailored to fit a patient’s personal goals and needs that can take them on the path to recovery. Our many services support the restoration of an individual’s health and emotional wellbeing. For more information about NLP and the many other treatment options we offer, call Hawaii Island Recovery today at (866) 390-5070.

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