What is NLP?
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a name that encompasses the three most influential components involved in producing the human experience: neurology, language, and programming. It began as Richard Bandler’s thesis project at UC Santa Cruz, California. He and his professor, John Grinder, wanted to develop models of human behavior to understand why certain people were so successful. The idea was that if they could come up with a model of the behavior, the skills could be acquired by anyone.
NLP is a multi-dimensional process that involves both the development of behavioral competence and flexibility, as well as strategic thinking and an understanding of the mental and cognitive processes behind behavior. It provides a system of empowering beliefs and presuppositions about what human beings are, what communication is, and what the process of change is all about. NLP is also about self-discovery and exploring identity and mission.
There are 15 basic presuppositions upon which NLP is founded. Among these are the belief that no one is broken and that everyone acts “perfectly” given his or her experiences. This does not mean that the serial killer should not be incarcerated, or that the murders are okay; it is simply a way of looking at their actions from a different perspective.
Another presupposition is that we all have all the resources we need and that it is a matter of being able to access them at appropriate times and in appropriate ways. This makes NLP a very empowering modality for coaching, as the coaches “job” is not to fix anyone, but rather to help them access the resources they already have available to them in a better way for them. There is no judgment in NLP; if someone is not ready to make a particular journey that is fine. The resources and skills needed to access them are always available when they in a place that feels good to them.
One of the richest presuppositions is the one that states the map is not the territory. This suggests that we can never really know reality, rather only our perception of it. Every person will have a different perception of reality and therefore respond differently. In their studies, Bandler and Grinder found that the most successful people were those whose map allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives. Wisdom comes from having multiple perspectives.
NLP can be a powerful tool in working with a family touched by dementia. The skills learned in NLP can help us reframe our relationship with the disease and someone affected by it. This reframing can keep our “buttons” from being “pushed” by someone no longer able to monitor their own behavior.
If you are struggling with dementia in your family and would like to learn more about how NLP may be of help, please do not hesitate to contact me and set up a consultation.