Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): what is it and how does it work?

It is easy for the concept of neuro-linguistic programming to generate confusion. On what is it based? When does it apply? Below are some key ideas to know what NLP is.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers (2014) define Neurolinguistic Programming as a communication model that focuses on identifying and using thought models that influence a person’s behavior as a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of life.

A problem with NLP is the nature of its name, since when the term Neurolinguistic Programming is mentioned to people who have never heard of it, the reaction is usually a bit negative. On the other hand, the name could provoke that we are dealing with empirical techniques derived from the neurosciences, but there is no evidence to confirm the efficacy of these.

Stephen Briers (2012), says that NLP is not really a coherent treatment, but “a hodgepodge of different techniques without a clear theoretical basis”. This author argues that the maxim of Neurolinguistic Programming is narcissisticegocentric and dissociated from the notions of responsibility.

In addition, he affirms that “sometimes we have to accept and mourn the death of our dreams, not just dismiss them occasionally as an inconsequential thing.” The reframing of NLP puts us in the role of a widower avoiding the pain of grief by jumping into a relationship with a younger woman, without stopping to say a proper goodbye to his dead wife. ”

What is the focus of the Neurolinguistic Programming model?

The world is experienced through five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. A lot of information comes to us continuously; consciously and unconsciously we eliminate what we do not want to pay attention to. They tell us that the remaining information is based on our past experiences, values ​​and beliefs. With what we end up being is incomplete and inaccurate, since part of the general information has been eliminated, and the rest has been generalized or distorted.

What is NLP based on?

The most important thing to have a vision about what is Neurolinguistic Programming is to know that it is based on four fundamental aspects, which are known as the “four pillars”, according to Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers (2014).


To achieve something, we talk about objectives, in NLP the results term is used. If there is a prior concentration on what you want to achieve, there will be a guide that will guide all available resources of that person to the achievement of a goal.

Sensory acuity

Sensory acuity refers to the ability to observe or detect small details to be aware of what is happening around us. People vary a lot when it comes to realizing what they see, hear or feel. There are people who are dedicated to observe more their environment, while others are more focused on their own emotions and thoughts.

Flexibility in behavior

When you begin to know what your results are and use your sensory acuity to observe what is happening, the information you get allows you to make adjustments in your behavior, if necessary. If the acts you perform do not take you by the direction you want, it is clear that you should try to take another path or try something different, but many people lack that flexibility in behavior and simply insist on doing the same thing over and over again.


The rapport could be considered as that component that unites people. Most of the time it occurs naturally, automatically, instinctively. Some people we know seem to share our vital perspective, while there are other people we do not connect with. The capacity for rapport with other people needs to be improved in order to obtain more effective relationships.