The Fundamental Principles of NLP
In NLP we consider these
to be Fundamental Principles
or 'Fundamental Presuppositions' because they shape the attitude with which
we use NLP - and which enables us to use NLP as it was intended.
Nowadays NLP is commonly
viewed as a haphazard collection of techniques for 'doing things to people'.
This is quite different to how it was designed. And quite different to how
it is used by people who have had a thorough
training in NLP.
The Principles are not 'true'
In NLP we consider these to be working hypotheses rather than truths: we ‘act as if’
the Principles are true – while recognising that there will be many situations in which this
will not be the case.
Take, for example, the
first principle listed below "take responsibility for how people respond to
you'. Taken literally this is a tall order. How can we be responsible
for how other people respond to us - they have free will, after all?
But the purpose of this
Principle is to encourage us to ACT AS IF we are responsible for how they
receive, understand and then respond to our communication and to our
We certainly don't believe
it. But acting as if it were true encourages us to continuously vary how we
communicate with someone until they get the point - or until we recognise
that they are simply not receptive to our message.
Interacting with others
Take responsibility for how others respond to you. ('The meaning of your communication is the response you get')
Act as if people have all the
mental and emotional resources they need even if they do not currently
Discover the other person’s perceptions before you begin to influence them. ('Meet people in their own unique model of the world')
Recognise that in any situation a person is making the best choice with the resources which they currently perceive as being available to them.
Recognise that each person’s ‘truth’ is true for them even if it differs from your ‘truth’ – since
any person's internal view
of reality is just that – a ‘version’ of reality. ('The map is not the territory')
Recognise that people interact with their internal versions of reality rather than with pure, sensory-based, input.
Personal Development & State Management
Enhance your behavioural and attitudinal flexibility. ('In any interaction the person with the greatest behavioural flexibility has most influence on the outcome')
Act as if there is a solution to every problem.
Recognise the other person’s Identity or Self Image – by distinguishing
between their behaviour and their identity
or self image.
Act as if every behaviour is/was a means of fulfilling a positive intention, at some level, in a person’s life.
Redefine mistakes as feedback – and change what you are doing if what you are doing is not working.
NLP is a model rather then a theory – and it is the study of subjective experience.
NLP is a generative rather than a repair model – it emphasises finding solutions rather than analysing causes – and in NLP we always add choices, rather than take these away.
Mind and body are part of the one system
All human behaviour
has a structure
External behaviour is
the result of how a person uses their representational systems.
If one human can do something then, potentially, anyone can.
Conscious mind capacity is very limited – supposedly to around 5-9 chunks of information.
These 'working principles or
presuppositions have been around since the early days of NLP and are a
guide on how best to use NLP. They are
pragmatic rather than idealistic
or unrealistic and provide excellent
guidelines on how best to use NLP with other people.
NLP is a very powerful technology
the use of which, if not backed by these guidelines, can quite easily be used to the detriment of others. This is why, in our NLP Practitioner Certification Programme we explore what each principle means in terms of behaviour and attitude. And why they form a key element in our assessment for certification
as a Practitioner of NLP.
We believe that a true Certified Practitioner of NLP will have absorbed the key principles from the above list and
that this will be demonstrated
in their behaviour at an 'unconscious competence' level
- so that their behaviour respects the self esteem, values and beliefs of other people.
By Reg Connolly,
Director of Training, Pegasus NLP
Click on these links for more information about NLP
Why learn NLP
How to learn NLP
Where to learn NLP - and how to choose a training provider
NLP Core Skills - our course in the New Forest
What's special about Pegasus NLP Trainings
What people have said about our courses
How we integrate NLP with outdoor activities