(Investigator 88, 2003 January)

While the more traditional therapies concentrate on solving problems by focusing on the reasons "why", Neurolinguistic programming looks at the "hows" to provide a short cut to a solution.

It looks at the structure of a problem and examines how we see the image in our minds, then helps to adjust that image until a more appropriate level of emotion is felt. Another aspect of NLP is an attempt to increase one's confidence by superimposing positive memories on those encountered in a less comfortable situation. NLP’s main goal is to "develop skills which will aid the individual in problem-solving and goal setting in limited time frames."

Participants are taught that life is programmed, unfortunately we have all been mis-programmed by negative input. Like Scientology, rebirthing and other alternative therapies, NLP embraces this Null Hypothesis and eschews the classic New Age concept of "clearing" these non-existent blocks.

Skeptics see Neurolinguistic Programming as another of the pop psychologies based on a popular misconception regarding the hemispheric function of the brain. The term used implies some sort of biologically based approach which isn't there, a therapy where the theory bears little relation to the reality.


Beaumont, J. Young, A. and McManus, I. 1984. "Hemisphericity: A Critical Review." Cognitive Neuropsychology. 1,191-212.

Ehrlichman, H. and Weinberger, A. 1978. "Lateral Eye Movements and Hemispheric Asymmetry: A Critical Review." Psychological Bulletin, 85,1080-1101.

Elich, M., Thompson, R. and Miller, L. 1985. "A Test of Neurolinguistic Programming." Journal of Counselling Psychology, 32, 622-625.

Dilts, R. 1984. "Predicate Matching in NLP, A Review of Research." Journal of Counselling Psychology, 31, 238-24.

[From:A Skeptic's Guide to the New Age, Harry Edwards]