3 Types of NLP Practitioners

“I went to a Gestalt therapist and said that
I want to be able to at least tell my muscles that aren’t involved that they don’t have to go into spasms too.”

– Dick York

You don’t have to spend much time among NLP practitioners to notice that they are quite diverse. I’m not referring to their ethnicities or religions. I’m talking about their skills and attitudes about NLP. I want you to do two things with this section. 

First, identify which category you best fit. Then, consider these categories when you consider the competent NLP trainers you will learn from and train with. You can roughly divide practitioners into the following categories: 

1) Unconscious masters: 

These practitioners practically do NLP in their sleep. They create patterns and solutions on the fly while working with clients. Of course, they generate creative solutions for their own lives as well. They evoke subconscious resources in themselves and others, making it possible to produce changes that may have seemed out of reach before. 

Their abilities can have a mysterious and deep quality, and it’s difficult to pin down how they create change, unless you are intimately familiar with NLP. 

2) Surface practitioners: 

These practitioners know some techniques from NLP and treat it like a cookbook. Either they are fairly new at it, or haven’t been able to “get” the nature of the subconscious.

In the latter case, they may have some unconscious defenses that they have not resolved, and those defenses can get in the way of their efforts to produce creative solutions. 

3) Personality-problem practitioners: 

These individuals have significant problems that may even rise to the level of being diagnosable personality disorders such as borderline, antisocial, or narcissistic personality disorder. (You can look these up online or in the DSM; I am not a licensed psychologist and therefore I can’t explain further what each term means.) This is not a friendly advice, but a warning for you to be cautious. 

These “certified, yet incompetent” practitioners may have been drawn to NLP by visions of control, unlimited sex, wealth, or being a hero.

 They may be trying to resolve problems that are so deep-seated that they will be their own worst enemy and possibly bring harm to others if they do not get help from a qualified practitioner or mental health program of some kind. They may be very self-aggrandizing or play the part of the saint or guru as if they are in a fantasy. Many of them have a boil of interpersonal problems and drama going on much of the time, causing trouble in social groups and organizations. The trouble may include drugs or other addictions that impair performance at times or on an ongoing basis. 

In all but the first group (unconscious masters), you will see that there is a split between NLP technique and mindset. Techniques without the spirit of NLP are very limited. Surprisingly, some of the third group (problem personalities) may develop strong unconscious mastery, and even help many clients. However, their performance will be very uneven, because they will be unconsciously triggered by certain situations. Greed, the need to use people, and disruptive emotional reactions may derail the practitioner, their clients, or their social group under certain circumstances, or under stress in general. 

If you are getting started with NLP, or want to take your practice to another level, you need to identify what kind of training and experience will be of the greatest value. You may have budgetary considerations as well. If you can’t afford an intense, longer training (these tend to be very expensive), you’ll want to select the best reading, training, and experience to get the best skills you can. This should enhance your earning power so that you can, among other things, get the best training available in order to further your development. This article will help you identify the strategies and trainings that fit your needs.