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NLP or hypnosis. What's the difference?

NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming, is essentially a skilled use of language. Many hypnotherapists train in NLP in order to do two things. Firstly, to communicate successfully with their clients and secondly, to help their clients communicate more successfully with other people.

Remember, language is not purely about the spoken word (although the spoken word is important and NLP has developed a series of very effective spoken language patterns), language is also about silent communication e.g. body language, internal thoughts and representations etc.

NLP language patterns and techniques

NLP language patterns and techniques have been taught, not only in the context of personal growth and development but also in the business community and in many other arenas.

NLP is basically a more structured form of hypnosis, and you can learn the language techniques involved in NLP on our free hypnosis course.

What is NLP?

Let's take a look at what the abbreviation means:

  • 'Neuro' specifies that we are talking about the mind
  • 'Linguistic' refers to the science of language
  • 'Programming' refers to the fact that we are programming the way we use language internally.

So NLP is all about using language to achieve the aims of our communication in a way that takes into consideration what we know about how human beings work, both consciously and unconsciously. Just like hypnosis.

The history of NLP

NLP was invented by Dr John Grinder, a well known professor of linguistics, along with Richard Bandler. Together they produced a linguistic model that identified the language patterns of a few gifted individuals such as hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, Fritz Perls of Gestalt therapy, anthropologist Gregory Bateson and Virginia Satir, well known for her work in family systems therapy.

The synthesis of their findings, a blend of cognitive and behavioural science, resulted in the technology known as NLP. In the decades since its initial development, NLP has grown, changed and expanded. It is less a 'bible' of how to communicate, more an approach to personal change.

NLP uses 'modelling' and 'strategies' as two of its core tools. Basically, this means looking at how highly successful people or 'models' achieve their success. NLP asks "what internal strategies do these people use?" These strategies are then distilled into handy tools that other people can use to achieve similar success.

Much of NLP is indistinguishable from hypnosis, although hypnosis is typically more associated with the relaxed, closed-eye state. At Uncommon Knowledge, we don't differentiate between the two because both NLP and hypnosis are simply the study of human communication and the unconscious mind.

Learn more about it with our free course.