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Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

What is it? Through a combination of thought, linguistic 're-coding' and systematic 'modelling techniques', it is argued, we can change the way we see the world. With Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), nervous, insecure types can become masters of the universe. Unfulfilled worriers can grow into over-achievers. Even fat people can get thin - just like that. The NLP gurus say: 'The brain doesn't come with an instruction manual' and we all need to rethink how we see and respond to the world around us. We can change our behaviour through an act of will, as long as we learn to think straight.

Where did it come from? NLP emerged in the early 1970s as an (unscientific) offshoot of psycho-therapy, psychology and hypno-therapy. Inevitably, it has never really shaken off its New Age associations. Part of the problem is that - as with so many other fads - there are a lot of practitioners out there who claim to offer NLP, all of whom may be doing something slightly different. Another fad-like quality is that its true believers are passionate about it and take any hint of scepticism badly - which is a bit odd for people who believe, as they do, that 'there is no failure, only feedback'.

Where is it going? There will always be a market for NLP: the promise of a simple solution to our complicated problems is hard to resist. And some people do find new inspiration and purpose after exposure to NLP teaching and techniques. But there is no serious evidence beyond the anecdotal that there is anything to it other than old-fashioned positive thinking. Even TV hypnotist Paul McKenna is getting in on the act. Mind you, he has helped a lot of people to lose weight. Anyone got his number?

Fad quotient (out of 10) Six and steady.

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