Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a system of personal development that is centered upon the idea of modeling excellence. It developed in the 1970s as a way to study examples of excellence, create models from those examples, and teach them to willing students. At its core, NLP is focused on the study of subjective experience and the ways it can be improved. Because this is such a broad category, NLP has been used for an incredible array of reasons, including removal of phobias, stress reduction, improved self-esteem, improved communication skills, and increased rapport. Neuro-Linguistic Programming has generally not been an accepted part of psychotherapy or psychology. However, there is a growing movement among psychologists to integrate the skills of NLP into their own practices.
Because of the lack of scientific proof of the validity of NLP, most psychology professionals have been loathe to give it too much attention. It is generally not studied academically or offered as a course of study in most major universities. However, many psychologists are beginning to see the value of a system that focuses on studying excellence so as to create excellence in others. They are adopting the useful principles of NLP to improve their communication skills with their clients. Many have begun seeing marked improvement in their ability to treat their patients and some even advertise their NLP skills.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming likely has the most immediate and specific applications for clinical psychologists. The solution-focused and results-oriented nature of NLP makes is a very valuable skillet for the professional who is trying to bring about change in his clients’ lives. Additionally, the emphasis on effective communication and rapport building within NLP pays huge dividends in a profession where the client-psychologist relationship is so vital for improvement. Clinical psychologists are seeing the competitive advantage of becoming trained in NLP and many have begun to do so.
Other types of psychologists, particularly social, economic and organizational psychologists, can benefit from NLP training as well. Again, the broad nature of NLP and the skills it develops allows it to be applied to a wide range of different situations and professions. NLP can help these psychologists improve their understanding of people and how they learn and develop. Building rapport, a cornerstone of NLP training, is a huge boos to anyone who makes their living communicating with other people. By learning how to empathize and see from others’ perspectives through NLP rapport building many psychologists are able to go about their jobs with less resistance.
Even academic psychologists can see benefits from NLP training. Neuro-Linguistic Programming provides an excellence opportunity to learn a practical model of applied psychology that quite often meshes very nicely with the theoretical work that academic psychologists partake in. The effects that psychologists have known about for years can be clearly seen and studied through the use of NLP. By broadening their understanding of human interaction, communication, and learning, academic psychologists stand to gain a valuable new perspective from NLP. This new perspective can be use for future theoretical work.
Although Neuro-Linguistic Programming has largely come of age separate from the psychology establishment, it is still very closely related. Despite its lack of established scientific validity to date, many clinical psychologists (and others) are seeing the value of additional NLP training. At the very least, NLP training allows these professionals that rely on their interpersonal skills to improve their ability. Any clinical psychologist will stand to benefit from improved rapport building and more effective communication. Only time will tell if NLP becomes a closer part of the established psychology community in the future.