Generalizations (Meta-Model)

Generalizations happen when someone translates some experiences into a rule that applies to all similar experiences. Bigotry is an example we gave earlier. Sometimes generalizations can go by without being noticed.

If someone says, “Everybody at the party hated me!” you might ask, “Who else did they hate?”

If she says, “Everyone had friends there, they just were mean to me,” you know she is unaware of anyone else feeling uncomfortable there.

If you asked, “Oh, so they were sorry to see you arrive and glad to see you go,” she might start thinking of exceptions and reveal one, even though she seems to be attached to the idea that everyone hated her. This means that her poor syntax just opened up to a more accurate internal map, that is, she realized that there were exceptions to her generalization. Now she has a resource: the knowledge that there are people that appreciate her.

Let’s Talk About Ethics

Yes, this section is worth reading.

Most people, including NLP practitioners, feel like we are ethical people. But it’s one thing to be successful and have your heart in the right place, and it’s another to have the understanding of ethics that you need in order to take on challenging cases – or even not-so-challenging cases. Here’s why:

1) Too many well-meaning people are getting into trouble. Most of us have a few ethical blind spots – areas that we just haven’t thought about. Yet these blind spots can have serious consequences if we happen to run into a problem.

2) There are serious legal consequences that may arise from some innocent misunderstandings about ethics and related laws. 

3) Coaches need to know some things about law and ethics. There are laws and regulations that apply to coaches (or that can apply, depending on the circumstances) that you may not know about. Generally, coaching and NLP trainings give ethics little, if any, attention. However, coaches do sometimes come under the authority of mental health licensing boards when they get into trouble. You should know how to avoid this. 

4) Even though you try to screen out clients that are not appropriate for your practice, it is inevitable that you will occasionally find yourself working with someone who has some serious issues that you are not prepared to work with. You need to have policies and procedures for evaluating, screening, referring, and transferring these folks. A lot of coaches do this by the seat of their pants. Sometimes this causes problems for them.  

5) It is possible to cause significant problems for clients if we are unclear about a key ethical point or two. A bad result can cause the client to shy away from help that they need in the future, or worse. 

6) So much thought has been put into ethics and how to explain laws to therapists and others that they may apply to, that it would be crazy not to dip into this information on a regular basis, in order to be informed, stay up-to-date, and have the proper policies in place. 

A little history: 

Laws, regulations and ethical guidelines have been evolving for a long time, and they are continuing to undergo changes. Laws and ethics pertaining to therapy are dramatically different from those of forty years ago. 

Generally speaking, we’re talking about vast improvements, not a mindless intrusion of bureaucracy. 

Did you know that ethical standards for healers date back to the Hippocratic Oath, developed roughly 2,500 years ago, and even farther back to the Nigerian healer’s code. As you can imagine, much of the impetus for regulating professionals has come from problems with the professionals’ conduct. 

Enforcement actions range from letters of warning or other sanctions, to punishments, not to mention civil liability that can result in lawsuits. 

Speaking of licensing boards: 

Coaches are not regulated as psychotherapists by licensing boards. But if a board comes to feel that a coach is practicing psychotherapy, there may be a problem. 

Although boards, at least in the U.S., are not actively looking for coaches that might be crossing that line, there are ways that coaches can come to the attention of licensing boards. This happens when a dissatisfied client files a grievance with such a board. 

Clients are especially likely to file a grievance with the state licensing board when there is a conflict over money, disappointment with services, or the client feels they have been used in some way, such as through a sexual relationship. 

When a coach or therapist tries to pull out of a sexual relationship with an ex-client, the ex-client may become quite vindictive.  

One way clients can be disappointed is if you charge an unusually high fee and create unusually high expectations. 

Another way is if you create expectations that you are like a psychotherapist and then miss key moves that a therapist might make. 

The coaches that are the most vulnerable to making a mistake like this are the ones that began creating a defensive style during their childhood in which they tended to cultivate a fantasy of elevated competence in order to protect against feeling socially marginalized and inadequate. That comment sounds pretty harsh, but it is about a common occurrence. 

Take care not to give the impression that you are providing psychotherapy or treatment of mental disorders. 

Coaches can come under the purview of licensing boards if the board thinks that your promotional materials or actions put you in the position of providing a service that they license. If you look at the legal definition of psychotherapy in your state or other authority, you will see how this could happen. In some states, the definition of psychotherapy is vague. 

Mental health land mines: 

A key concern is that the coach will end up with a person who’s hidden mental health issues can cause problems for the coach, if not an outright bad outcome for the client. 

Coaches should become familiar with signs of mental and emotional issues that may lead to problems, specifically because these coaches (by the scope of their professional responsibility) are not performing mental health assessments, and clients may not disclose mental health issues, even if they are aware of them. 

Ask about previous mental health problems and treatment, and determine whether there are outstanding issues that may not have been adequately treated. 

All coaches should be prepared to refer to trusted mental health professionals. Besides, networking with mental health workers may yield clients for your coach’s services. Therapists should refer people seeking success coaching to someone like you, unless this is one of their specialties already. 

Comments for Licensees: 

Licensed clinicians have their blind spots, as research into the art and science of diagnosis tells us. Many therapists tend to have a pet diagnosis that they use more than the average therapist. 

Very common areas where therapists fail to appropriately treat or refer are sleep problems, domestic violence, substance abuse, cognitive disabilities, dissociation and subtle brain injuries. 

The takeaway message for therapists is: 

Get deep with assessment issues and stay current. While we’re at it, stay up on the legal landscape as well. 

Ethical guidelines we swear by

We have provided ethical guidelines for NLP practitioners on our website. If you review them, you will probably think of various situations where they can have some relevance and wisdom. Although coaching programs tend to provide little or no training in law and ethics, we feel that this deserves your attention. We hope you will absorb and consistently apply these guidelines.

The Unconscious

“The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.”

– Sigmund Freud 

An understanding of the unconscious is crucial to NLP methodology. Patterns II: NLP was inspired by the Milton model and recognizes that the unconscious is responsible for a vast amount of processing power and information.

There are several things NLP does with this insight:

1) Unconscious mastery: 

It understands that change work with NLP requires too many skills to handle consciously. You can learn by practicing consciously, but then they must become largely unconscious skills integrated into a larger whole that we call unconscious mastery. 

2) Unconscious resources: 

Although the client of the NLP practitioner may have conscious ideas about the problems and solutions they want to work on, surprising solutions may emerge when the subconscious is respected and stimulated or directed to resolve the problem or pursue an outcome. Not only are clients able to benefit, but also the practitioner may find surprising solutions arise that enhance their NLP practice at any moment. 

3) Deconstruction into consciousness, and reconstruction into unconscious mastery: 

Many of our reactions and solutions (including destructive or limiting ones) can be brought into consciousness using methods of NLP, such as the analysis of how they are represented in the sensory modalities. Many NLP techniques help us rearrange the way the processes take place or are encoded as memories. This can produce dramatic improvements in problems that have defied numerous efforts from more traditional therapists. It helps us rearrange a dysfunctional behavior into a resourceful one. Thus, the beginning practitioner, or a practitioner that has not yet learned to utilize the subconscious, can use NLP techniques while missing the spirit of NLP. Trying to do NLP with a focus that is exclusively on conscious workings will miss out on the rich resources of subconscious information and problem solving. The work will be much less likely to result in solutions, and will appear quite superficial to a more well-rounded practitioner. 

Modeling and the Future

“The best thing about the future is that
it comes one day at a time.”

– Abraham Lincoln

The problem with NLP today is that most people go into it only for the money, not for improving the field. The fact is that, as a potentially recognized profession, it does not have a solid future. Maybe by changing its name and making something academic out of it, it will, but there is no chance that it can be licensed and supervised, not after 38 years of printing certificates that have no consistent standards behind them. I don’t mean to put too fine a point on this. The insights of NLP will continue, even if the term “NLP” fades from public awareness. But your NLP skills will be valuable and meaningful, regardless of what happens to the NLP moniker. And they are at their highest when you are using your acuity and insight to produce new models, and to improve upon existing ones. That is the basis of NLP, not the cookbook of methods that NLP has accumulated. Just as science is the means for discovery, NLP is the means for modeling. 

Science is not just the information that has accumulated through the scientific method, and NLP is not just the techniques that have accumulated through modeling. 

I have written this website not only to provide you with hundreds of successful techniques you can use instantly, but to take away the obsession so many NLP learners suffer from: “if I learn just one more technique, everything will change for me”. This is the wrong approach. Take this website as a starting point. To grow, you have to work on it. I want you to take this exploration and experimentation of techniques and bring into it the true spirit of NLP: curiosity, flexibility and innovation. The more you get into the spirit of NLP, and the more you build unconscious mastery, the more you will spontaneously generate solutions, and the more you will be able to model the success of others. 

Physiology and Models

“Ah, mastery…  what a profoundly satisfying feeling
when one finally gets on top of a new set of skills…
and then sees the light under the new door those skills can open, even as another door is closing.”

– Gail Sheehy 

State: 

There is a fuzzy boundary between a model and the physiology that drives us on a more instinctual level. When a person’s physiology shifts into fight or flight, and the brain gears itself to detect threats over other stimuli, the person is more likely to act violently.

Consider what happens when a police officer is in a threatening situation, and must make a split-second shoot/no shoot decision. If the officer shoots in error and the victim is a member of an ethnic minority, the officer may be accused to racism. However, non-racist officers have found themselves in this position. 

It is becoming clear that there are circumstances that cause the brain to put threat detection at the highest priority, and that this can cause a cell phone to be perceived as a gun. It is not necessarily because the officer’s model of the world is that people of that race are trying to shoot him or are bad people. It may be primarily because the brain’s threat detection was extremely high at that moment. This physiology is an evolutionary survival imperative. 

Unique Strengths and Weaknesses: 

But physiology is not just a matter of transitory states. People have physical conditions that make them unique. They have strengths and weaknesses in different measures than most other people. This brings up an important point. 

If your physiology is quite different from a person you want to model, how far should you go in the direction of imitating their processes, as opposed to developing a model that takes advantage of your unique qualities? 

This question points to one of the limits of modeling. We are unique, and so we need to not make a blind religion out of modeling. We need to use its strengths, and mitigate for its weaknesses. 

When the pursuit of excellence is tinged with metaphysics, people tend to think that the mind can overcome all physical limitations. It is a mistake to ignore physiological strengths and limits. This resulted in deaths of people in a sweat lodge experience during which the temperatures had gone too high. The participants were told to stay and overcome the environment with their minds. My point is that we can model people, but then we must add or modify the model for ourselves, based on our unique strengths and weaknesses. You can apply some models directly, but others will need modification because of your unique traits. 

Evidence Procedure

Determine the goals of the assessment. (E.g., to determine how well the student has learned a topic.) State them in positive terms. (E.g., to establish a score and grade that accurately reflect the student’s level of learning.) Give examples of ideal performance. (E.g., 100%.) What are its benefits? That is, why do you need the procedure? (E.g., students who learn Neuro Linguistic Programming concepts can communicate more effectively with other NLP practitioners, and they can learn from the literature and teachers more effectively.) Define the evidence in a concrete way, for example, as observable behaviors and other outcomes. 

How will you know when you have achieved the goal? (E.g., students who achieve 85% are reasonably conversant with NLP, and fairly well prepared to benefit from teachers and the literature.) 

Make sure that any instructions or training for the procedure are complete and understandable. (E.g., trainers with at least five years of successful practice with NLP and achieve at least a 90% score.) This can include the points at which progress should be assessed and when the goal is expected to be achieved. 

Indicate what your criteria are for each step you specify. (E.g., a weekly quiz will help us determine how well the student mastered the most recent lessons.) 

Specify what situations could be troublesome. For example, what problems might come up for someone attempting to administer the evidence procedure? This can include resistance and positive intentions that might give rise to resistance. (E.g., a trainer may have time management difficulties and forget to administer the quiz. A deeper look tells the trainer that he or she needs the ego boost that they get from teaching, so they unconsciously avoid the tedium of administering the  It is a big change from how they did things when they weren’t affiliated with a grade-giving institution.) 

Establish times and responsibilities for evaluating the effectiveness of the testing, the teaching, and the materials used. (E.g., at the end of each quarter, trainers will review student satisfaction with an assessment instrument and a discussion. The trainers will review this at a quarterly staff meeting set aside for improving the program. It will include the opinions gathered from students as well as the opinions of all staff.)

The Subconscious and Models

“Men do not attract that which they want,
but that which they are.”

– James Allen

In Frogs into Princes, Bandler and Grinder state that modeling is not about what people say, it’s about what people do. But it is also about what people experience. You cannot know everything about a person’s state just by looking at them. But you also cannot learn everything from what they say, because most excellent performers do not fully, consciously understand why they are successful. The classic example of this is what happened with the modeling of Virginia Satir. She felt that the model of her effectiveness was superficial to what she was doing. It seems like crass manipulation. She attempted to demonstrate her work while leaving out the elements that Bandler had proposed. This included her mirroring and other techniques for establishing rapport. She found that she could not establish the same level of rapport and effectiveness when she withheld these behaviors.  

Cause Audit

To support our beliefs, there is a causal relationship for how we develop and support our ideas. This is a fancy way of saying that for every belief we hold, there is a cause for that belief. 

We often will use words that connect the ideas, and to get to the underlying belief structure, it is important to know the connecting words that we use to describe this causal relationship. These words are because, while, therefore, before, after, in the same way, whenever, if, so that, although. 

“I am successful because I don’t have children” and “I don’t go to a party if it is far away” are examples of these words connecting two facts, and it is this connection which reveals a belief. So if we can understand the cause, then we can understand the belief, and if we understand the belief, we can understand the behavior/feeling etc.

We can group the connecting words into four groups. While and whenever are considered constraining causes because they limit the cause for certain times or during certain events for something to be true. 

“I am happy whenever I am with you” really means, “Your presence causes me to be happy.”  

Before, after and because are precipitating causes as they tell us that one action or event is necessary for another to occur. “I am always nervous before exams” really means, “The anticipation of taking an exam causes me to be nervous.”  

So that and therefore are final causes because they describe how the completion of one action or event leads to another. “The economy is bad, therefore less people have jobs” really means “The bad economy causes less people to be employed”. If and in the same way are formal causes as they are the formal expressions of cause-effect relationships. 

“I’ll go to the cinema if the weather is bad” really means “The bad weather causes me to go to the cinema”. Although is also included in this group because it allows us to check and see if there are any potential constraints and/or counter examples which can help us check the strength and validity of our ideas.

The way a cause audit goes is you take a statement, whether it is a goal, limiting belief, resource, problem, or any cause you want to understand better, and that statement becomes the first half of a larger statement, that is connected by the connecting word. For example, “I want to become famous if/because/while/therefore/so that/in the same way…” and for each example, you complete the statement. Let’s look closer at what each statement asks for.

Because- this connector should answer why you want or have the goal/belief/resource or problem.

Therefore- explains an effect or requirement

Before/after- describes what has to happen before/after 

While- describes what is happening at the same time

Whenever- describes some key conditions that are required

So that- describes the intention related 

If- describes any related constraints or results

In the same way that- describes any similar past results that have already been achieved

Although- is to explore any alternatives or constraints that are related.

Abandoned Predisposition

A predisposition is a tendency which is not yet a habit. It is when you hold a particular thought pattern and can’t let go of it or when you act in a particular way and catch yourself “too late.” This technique helps you abandon the predisposition by turning the compulsion into an aversion. In other words, it turns a specific thing or action you “like” into a “dislike.” Review your knowledge of sub-modalities before you try out this pattern. 

Determine the problematic predisposition.

Think of something that you like doing or thinking, but wish you did not like. Can you define it in a statement? 

Elicit the current sub-modalities (Image A).

As you think about this predisposition, elicit the sub-modalities of this mental image. Specifically, check for driver sub-modalities such as Size, Light, Distance, etc. 

Elicit sub-modalities from the aversion image (Image B).

Now think of something you dislike and elicit the sub-modalities in that image. Again, specifically check for driver sub-modalities. 

Change sub-modalities of the predisposition image.

Take the sub-modalities you’ve elicited from Image B and use them on Image A. If in Image B, for example, the image was to the left and 3 feet in size, make Image A go to the same location and enhance (or reduce) to the same size as image B. Work through all driver sub-modalities.

Lock the new sub-modalities firmly in place.

Imagine that you could “stamp” Image A as it is now with the copied sub-modalities of Image B, making the new sub-modalities locked in Image A firmly.

Now when you think about the thing you used to like doing or thinking, how is it different? If there is still a tendency to like doing or thinking X (image A content), go back through the steps and elicit more driver sub-modalities. 

Future Pace.

Imagine a realistic and specific time in the near future, when you might find yourself tempted to do or think X (image A content), can you feel the aversion?

Applying NLP: What, How and When

Making a change is as easy as 1, 2, 3…10…

The first and most important lesson I learned in the the NLP Master Trainer’s Training is this: “Accept and use whatever happens and make it work for your outcome.” Here’s an example of what this means. Let’s say that you’re with a client, and someone interrupts your session. Treat it as though it was all planned. When you’re a therapist, coach, consultant, motivational speaker, or any other agent of change, your outcome is to get your client the outcome they’re paying you to help them achieve. Therefore, anything that happens during the process is OK! I have learned this lesson in the context of hypnotherapy, but it applies for NLP change-work as well. 

It is not YOU who is making new understandings for your client; it is your client’s brain that is making them. You are not changing your client’s behavior. Your job is to direct your client’s mind through a process and let “it” do the work. To make NLP work for your client, you must assume that your client’s mind is already changing that discouraging thought pattern or disabling set of behaviors. Once you assume that, all you have to do is: 

1) choose the right pattern, 

2) work with your client through that pattern,

 3) accept and use whatever happens, making it work for your outcome (sound familiar?) 

4) compare the feedback to the given outcome, and 

5) proceed accordingly. 

If the feedback and the outcome are aligned, which means your client has achieved what they asked for, then your job is done. If not, you reevaluate the session, choose a more appropriate pattern, perhaps also induce hypnosis in your client (to reduce subconscious secondary gain-based objections), and aim for the same outcome again. 

But remember to maintain high sensory acuity. Be “out there”; observe, absorb, and constantly evaluate direct and indirect messages from your client, working with whatever happens so as to facilitate the change your client is paying you for. 

Another lesson I learned early in my training is that you should never make your client a friend. Yes, of course, you can have social relationships with your clients, but AFTER you’ve done the change work. It is much better not to accept relatives, close family members, or friends as clients, for many reasons. The main reason is that no matter how good your intentions, your relationship with them stands in the way of their progress. 

On the other hand, it is also not for your client’s benefit if you become friendly with them early on in the sessions. Stay formal. Be the authority they may need in order to change themselves. Avoid humor in the first session at least, and never tell jokes or lose control over the session. You are paid to help the person produce new results, not to be a comedian or just another friend. If your client suspects, even subconsciously, that your lack of skill is covered by humor and needy behavior, your prospects of success with them will be dim. 

Stay focused on one outcome at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin or work on 10 different issues in one session. Give their mind some time for processing, for re-organizing, for venting, for recovering, for grieving (a common need of ex-addicts), and so on. Give them the time to see one or two outcomes first, so that when they return to you their motivation and confidence in your skills will be strong. 

Dysfunction

Some pieces in our mental puzzles don’t fit perfectly with the rest, causing internal inconsistency and lead to dysfunctional thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Some pieces are too big or too small, distorted or missing. 

  • You decided to lose weight and you have written your goal down. This time you will stick to the plan. But your body craves that ice cream on a hot summer day., and you just can’t close your mouth while your hands push into it an entire box of cookies after 3 days of using your will power to reject carbs. You feel angry and disillusioned, but you cannot put it into words and be assertive with the person who hurt you. 
  • You have big dreams but no ambition or plan or will power to make progress towards fulfilling them. 
  • You fall in love with a girl, she comes into your bed and voila! No lift off. Your feelings and your body’s autonomous behavior are in conflict. A temporary erectile dysfunction turns into an ongoing mental battle with depression and feeling of inadequacy. 
  • You pull out your cigarettes and continue smoking even after your health deteriorates and even though you already hate the smell and the smoke.

The word ‘dysfunctional’ is used here to describe anything that does not support your well being, higher values or desired outcomes. 

What examples of dysfunctional thoughts, emotions and behaviors can you recognize in yourself?

What NLP does to alleviate the pain that results from the inconsistencies between thoughts, emotions and behaviors, is to reshape the puzzle pieces so that they will be congruent with each other. What do you think happens, when you reshape a thought pattern or an “instinct”?

Thoughts, Emotions, Behaviours

Let’s begin our exploration of NLP with the Neuro part. Our experience of life made of 3 major parts: thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Individually, each part is important and can be studied indefinitely. In a cause and event relationship, the series of thoughts, emotions and behaviors are causing an event, an ‘outcome’. You may experience a conflict between how you think and how you behave. You ‘think’ you should go out for a long walk like you planned, but you ‘act’ by sitting on the couch and watching TV. 

What could be an example to this, from your own life?

You may experience a conflict between how you feel and how you behave. When you do something that makes you feel guilty and ashamed, for example, and you keep doing it still. What could be an example to this, from your own life?

There could be a conflict between what you think and how you feel. For example, when you feel intense attraction to someone or something that you know is harmful or simply bad news. What could be an example to this, from your own life?

N.L.P

To begin to understand NLP, we should break down the name itself. 

Neuro” refers to our nervous system, which processes information and encodes it physically into our bodies, possibly to be retrieved at a later date. How do you think ‘information’ gets into your body?

Linguistic” refers to how that code is intrinsically linked to language systems.  In fact, NLP distinguishes between two primary language systems.  The first is a representational system, which allows for the mind to process information in terms of our senses.  The second is the secondary-language system, which allows for the mind to process information in terms of symbols, words, metaphors and the like. Think about one strong metaphor, that is dominant in your life. What is it and how did it influence your decision making so far?

Finally, “programming” refers to our natural ability, and soon-to-be learned skills, to organize all this information within our organism (our brain) to achieve our desired outcomes. What kind of associations the word “programming” inspires in you? Can you make the difference between computer programming and working systematically with organic psychological concepts?

NLP ultimately stands as a tool to study excellence. How do outstanding individuals and organizations obtain their success?  

The approach NLP takes to find the answer is to break down the structure of subjective experience, and using all the aforementioned elements of Neuro Linguistic Programming is how people believe that we could begin to examine that elusive structure. A desired outcome like that is certainly abstract.  However, breaking down the structure of subjective experience would also mean finding out how to break people out of small, limited, inaccurate, and painful perspectives that keep them locked into dysfunctional habits.  Just as the man broke down the walls of the brothers’ minds, would not NLP’s discovery break down the walls of humanity’s collective consciousness? In essence, NLP enables us, as human beings, to do what we do better. What would you like to ‘do better’?

How to Think About NLP

There is a popular fable, told in NLP training programs worldwide, for the last couple of decades. A man rode into a village hidden in the desert one evening, and requested a drink of water from a villager, who complied and quenched his thirst. Feeling indebted, the man asked whether there was anything he could do to help pay back the villager for such kindness. 

“Actually, yes,” said the villager, walking up to the camel.  “We have a bit of a problem and would like a second opinion.  You see, I am the youngest of three sons, and our father recently passed away.  All that he had left was seventeen camels.  In his will, he decreed that one half of the herd should go to my eldest brother, one third to my middle brother, and one ninth to me.  But how can we divide a herd of seventeen?  I pray we do not have to resort to chopping up these camels.” 

The man pondered for a moment before announcing, “Please take me to your house.” 

The man entered the house and witnessed the two older brothers arguing furiously near a fire. The youngest brother explained the situation, and the now mediator said, “Gentlemen, I have a solution.  Please take my camel as a gift.  Now, you have eighteen camels in total.  Nine will go to the eldest brother.  Six will go to the middle brother.  Finally, two will go to my friend here.” 

“Mister, mister!  There are only seventeen camels allocated.” 

“Yes, and if you would possibly gift this camel back to me, I shall be on my way.” 

The three brothers gratefully returned the camel to the man. 

What do you think is the moral of this story? What can we learn from it?

At its core, Neuro Linguistic Programming (“NLP”) aims to do what that man does.  In many chemical reactions, there are catalysts that speed up the reactions.  In other words, the catalysts make the reactions work – usually – and the catalysts are not consumed by those reactions.  

Similarly, the man introduced a change in that human system that consisted of the three brothers and ended up optimizing the system. In the end, he gets his camel, his catalyst, back and rides off into the sunset, without leaving a trace. 

What do you think you’ll be able to do, using NLP, once you’ve mastered the skills and techniques? What do you want, precisely, to get out of our training program? What’s most important to you, as you begin this journey? 

How to Use The NLP Knowledge Base

“Two basic rules of life are these:
(1) change is inevitable.
(2) everybody resists change.
The only person who likes change is a wet baby.”

– Roy Blitzer

Experienced NLP practitioners will have no trouble making immediate use of this website. They will recognize many of the patterns, and find excellent new ones to learn. We recommend that these practitioners at least look through all the patterns; they will see some improvements to many of the patterns, and will get a clearer understanding of some patterns because of how clearly the steps are presented.

The beginner will appreciate the structure of this website. The first section has the more fundamental NLP patterns. These will round out their repertoire and build confidence. The patterns come in three main flavors. Those that you can easily try out on yourself, those that you can try on clients or other appropriate people, and those that require some structured participation of two or more people. Each pattern states what is needed early on.

All readers will appreciate how the patterns are provided. Whenever possible, credit is given for the development of the pattern. Each pattern has an introduction that explains its purpose. The patterns are each divided into steps. The first sentence of each step is a reminder statement so that, once you know the pattern, you can just look at the reminder statement to proceed. This will also help you memorize your favorite patterns. 

As you build mastery with these patterns, we encourage you to build intuitive flexibility and creativity. The patterns and additional material will help you to see how the presuppositions and knowledge of NLP are put into action. This insight is a very good source of this creativity. This takes you beyond the cookbook approach of steps and into a level of mastery that allows you to improvise solutions to new challenges. Just as a jazz musician practices scales and time signatures to build improvisational skill, NLP practitioners practice the principles and techniques of NLP to gain subconscious mastery. 

As you get started with this website, have a pen handy and write down the patterns that you want to learn or review. Highlight any words in the steps that will help you gain mastery. Be sure to stay connected with life, and have a good time. Joy and humor are great facilitators of learning and creativity.

And one last, very important, piece of advice: Learn with others. NLP has been around for more than three decades now, and there are surely people around you who are as excited about learning NLP as you are. Find new colleagues and practice with them, share resources and knowledge, challenge and inspire each other. You can find more information at the NLP College.