NLP – Take it seriously, please

What is happening to NLP today seems a little unfortunate.

NLP Training Delhi

NLP, as it developed in the seventies, was based on observations and modeling of immensely skilled people, excellent in their respective field.  What Richard Bandler and John Grinder did was to carefully remove the fluff and bare the structure of excellence.
Amazing job indeed!

My recent observations about the way NLP is being practiced (and taught), are putting me on a back-foot.

It is dangerous to play with people’s beliefs. I personally feel that one of the most dangerous pre-supposition in NLP is that ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.

Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. What could be a mere feedback for a master therapist could turn a patient into a lifelong wreck.

NLP Therapy, an extremely powerful system, throws all responsibility with the person who is being treated, and his ecological mind, by simply stating that human mind has all the resources. The therapist usually hides behind another pre-supposition that if something does not work, something else would. The patient may ends up as a broken soul.

Minds are sensitive. Ecology is important. When you are handling something as powerful, and sensitive, as human brain, you cannot afford to be careless. There can be no excuses.

Human mind, though highly resourceful, does mess up big-time, once in a while. And any therapist or NLP trainer, no matter how successful, must to pay full attention to each of his subjects, and be very careful of what he is treading on.

I am not preaching here. I am suggesting you to be very careful what you are dealing with. Mind is a serious matter.
Avoid treating NLP Therapy like a college experiment.

Take is seriously. Be responsible. Please. 


  1. Well written Ashish. ‘There is no failure only feedback’ is also very misunderstood by many NLP Practitioners. That is a model for the therapist to refine his/her behavior during the intervention process with adequate testing and not an excuse to get away from responsibility. And also the way it is used and the context in which it is actually used is this – ‘There is no resistive client only a resistive therapist’ – so if you do not get the response you want when the client is still with you alter the behavior to get the response you want from your client. The above statement also makes it so – that the responsibility is with the therapist.

    However, as you have mentioned that is not necessarily how NLP is practiced or thought.

    Well said Ashish. And I like to comment that I would extend your frame to ALL communication. Not just Formal NLP. Every word from an authority figure has long lasting consequence. So, NLP or Not, people have to learn to communicate with care and take responsibility.

    • Thanks Antano, for your feedback.

      Discussing further, the statement – ‘There is no resistive client only a resistive therapist’ put further responsibility on the therapist. Therapy and training, in NLP are going hand in hand, and this seems a usual practice in workshops.

      However, I feel mixing therapy with training may not be a very ecological idea, even though it works in many cases. I have a feeling that therapy ( one to one ) may be far more result-orietned, than the therapy during a training session.

      Somewhere, with the way NLP is taught, is getting mixed up. NLP still does not enjoy its existence as a therapy, as much as it is known as a training system. People teach and learn more, than people who practice it, worldwide.

      NLP, as of now, is taught more than practiced, which is resulting into a flood of non-practicing practitioners. My stats my be wrong but I guess almost 50% of such practitioners are trainers. The popularity of NLP in trainers ( as a training methodology, and as for teaching NLP) does not primarily stem from ‘changing self and improving life’ , but from having one more tool to teach.

      Also, I feel there is a huge gap between the wow factor created and the real change-work. NLP originated from the fluff removal system, and I now see it as another fluff (wow factor) building tool.

      • Ashish – I am at a loss at what workshops you are referring here. Especially there are a variety of them – some funny, some excellenct. If you mean to say that people are teaching NLP without the actual skills coming from practicing it. I completely agree with you on that.

        Regarding your point on not involving changework with training, I believe that is precisely the form of training that leads to the current situation of non-skilled practitioners. Therapy and Training are just nominalizations. Every changework can be considered as Training and every training is learning new behaviors in favor of the old.

        I am yet to come across a system – where NLP has been thought well without personal transformations in a way the practitioner has the skills and calibration necessary to get results.

        And regarding the measurement of real changework as compared to the Wow-Factor – you may want to look at long term benefits and transformations in the individuals life which is not so easy to measure especially since they will always look natural and as a by product of other processes.

        • Antano – there is a third variety of workshops ( apart from funny and excellent ), which I may take the liberty of call harmful. I mean to say that there are powerful facilitators, practitioners, masters and they have skill, and power, but lack wisdom to use it. I regret the harm done in such sessions, and currently do not see a solutions, apart from boosting ecological NLP solutions and the people who do so.

          My view about change-work during training is in context with such workshops, as mentioned above. You are correct when you say that Therapy and Training are just nominalizations and they (may) be misleading people (attending workshops) who may believe in different meanings or different expectations.

          Long term benefits show in long term, and are beneficial this way.
          Regarding the comparison of wow-factor and real change-work, when things seem to happen naturally, and over a period of time ( which is very good), i still would not call it magic. For that matter, Magic, again is one of those nominalizations that can create misleading expectations.

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