Frequently asked questions

What is NLP?

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming and it is a profoundly useful set of principles and techniques that boost your effectiveness and wellbeing.  NLP originated from the study of highly successful therapists and has been continuously developed and expanded since its early days.  It now includes many ideas, techniques, and skills ‘modelled’ from experts in different fields.

How is it used?

These profoundly useful tools are now widely used outside the context of therapy and have been applied in many areas including business, health, mental health, sport and education.  There is also a growing body of research on the applications and proven efficacy of NLP.  The applications of NLP are much broader than therapeutic change alone.  These skills can help you become even more effective in many areas of your life.  NLP training develops communication skills.  Brings a deeper understanding of ourselves and other people.  It enables us to achieve more with less effort.  It can give us greater choice over our habits, thoughts and emotions.  In short, it leads to greater success and achievement, richer and more rewarding relationships and increased feelings of personal choice.

1. Where does NLP come from?

NLP was originally devised in California in the 1970’s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They were studying specific individuals who were exceptional communicators and therapists (among them Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir and the work of Fritz Perls). They were also strongly influenced by Gregory Bateson, a prominent systems thinker. Neither Bandler nor Grinder were psychologically or therapeutically trained. However they were interested in observing the experts’ behaviour closely to divine what made their approaches different from other peoples’. In particular they wanted to discover what made them so consistently successful at bringing about change, even with the most “difficult clients”. In other words they wanted to find “the difference that made the difference”.
Their observation, (free from any “dogma” or beliefs associated with the disciplines in question), enabled them to identify some powerful ‘functional elements’ of communication and change. They didn’t come up with theories about what was happening, they observed and reproduced effective behaviour strategies. They also identified helpful beliefs, and thinking patterns. They called this process “modelling”.
In their own words, they said that they were not “Psychologists, theologians or theorists” and they weren’t really interested in proving things to be  “Real” or “True”. They were however interested in “Arriving at descriptions that were useful” in essence they were after “What works!” The results of their pioneering work in modelling form the core of NLP today.

2. Is it still developing?

Yes. The field of NLP that began with Bandler and Grinder, continues to be developed and expanded not only by its originators but by other skilled practitioners in the field. Many people have made significant contributions, including (but not limited to): Connirae and Steve Andreas, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Robert Dilts, Dr. Wyatt Woodsmall, etc. There are many fields of excellence left to be modelled. Every student who learns to model effectively can contribute to this discipline.

3. Has it been scientifically verified?

For a long time there has been a lack of well-designed research in NLP, but a wealth of anecdotal evidence and testimonial. Many people in the field of NLP believe that this is enough. We believe however, that well-designed research will assist professionals in fields such as health-care, to benefit from tools that can make a positive difference. For a long time the ‘research’ studies that existed seemed to be poorly designed and conducted from a position of ignorance of NLP techniques and principles. More recently however, there is a growing body of research that clearly demonstrates the efficacy of different NLP techniques. If you would like to know more about research in NLP, particularly in the field of health you can read more in our articles section.

4. Is it ethical?

NLP in itself is neither ethical nor unethical. It is a powerful set of tools that make a difference. Any techniques that can influence a person’s experience profoundly and rapidly need to be used ethically, with an understanding of consequences and the best interests of all parties. Unfortunately some people use NLP to influence others in a way that puts their own short-term gain ahead of the best interests of the other. This is unfortunate and a waste of an incredible technology.
You might be interested to know that the body that we accredit through (The International NLP Trainers Association) was originally set up to ensure quality, professionalism and ethical practice in the field of NLP. You can find more about INLPTA  here

5. What about quality control?

The quality NLP trainings varies very widely. Our accrediting body takes the quality of its tuition seriously. We teach to a comprehensive syllabus (to find out more click here) We use the most effective teaching practices. We design and deliver our training to build high levels of skill and confidence. We give high quality coaching and feedback to our students as they progress through the training. We assess our students not only on the basis of their attendance but also on their skills, attitude and understanding of NLP. In short we develop, confident, creative and skilful NLPers. If you’d like to read some more reassuring reasons to train with us click here.

6. Can anybody learn it?

Yes, provided they are interested, willing and open.

7. Who is NLP suitable for?

There is almost no limit to who can benefit from using NLP. It can be applied in many areas e.g. business, health-care, mental health, education, sporting achievement, artistic endeavour, music, drama, therapy, etc. etc. In fact it could be for any one who wants to get more out of life, make a difference, deepen their relationships, become more effective or simply understand more about how human beings work.

8. Is it difficult?

No. the tools are essentially simple, quick and effective. It is however a very rich field, and there is lots to learn if you feel so inclined.

9. Is it the same as hypnosis?

As one of the original experts studied was Milton Erickson there are some overlaps with the discipline of hypnosis, however the field of NLP is much broader than trance and hypnotic language patterns.

10. Can you use it on yourself?

Yes. Learning NLP is like being given a user’s guide to your brain. And whilst it can be lovely having somebody ‘do nlp with us’ we can certainly use many of the tools ourselves. It gives us a lot more choice in how we think feel and behave. We also believe that the best NLPers use NLP themselves as well as using it skilfully and confidently with others.

11. Is it the same as “brain washing“

No!! In fact to use the same metaphor - it helps you to ‘wash your own brain!’. When you learn NLP you can think even more clearly and critically and understand people and issues more deeply.

12. How long does NLP training take?

It varies enormously. There has been a trend in some areas for making trainings shorter and shorter. (This may make sense in terms of making money more quickly for the provider!). However, it doesn’t mean you get the best and most effective learning experience. NLP practitioner courses are definitely not all created equal! Our Diploma course is 4 days long. Our practitioner course consists of the 4–day diploma plus an additional 16 days training and our Master practitioner programme takes 20 days. Our extensive course format not only covers a comprehensive and rich syllabus, but also enables deep integration of your skills and understanding.

13. How long does it take to make changes with NLP?

It can be possible to make very quick and lasting changes. People are consistently astonished at how rapidly they can shift even long-standing issues and habits.

14. Do you have to talk about problems, issues and personal stuff?

No, one of the beauties of NLP is that we can make changes to our experience in a very comfortable and private way.

15. Is an NLP training the same as having therapy?

No. An NLP training teaches you about the skills and principles of NLP. You will experience NLP techniques as part of your training and you’ll have practice at using them with other people and in your field of interest. As a result of this many people experience benefits including: increased confidence, a deeper sense of wellbeing, healthier relationships  and greater freedom from issues and


“Dr Henrie Lidiard is one of the finest NLP Master Trainers in the world. She combines her scientific rigour and precision with an exciting and energizing teaching style. She has also done outstanding work in the public health community and in the field of modelling. She is one of the leading authorities in NLP on working with physiology.”

Dr Wyatt Woodsmall
(Co-Founder of INLPTA)

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® 2024 NLP in the North
Thanks to and @guillealvarez, @ianstauffer and @khouser01 for their inspirational photos