Are Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Courses Worth It?

Is Neurolinguistic Programming worth spending time and energy on? That’s a million dollar question, especially if you’ve just been introduced. The answer? Without a shadow of doubt; Yes, it is worth it.

There are numerous benefits that you can gain from studying Neuro Linguistic courses, it can make you become a better coach or professional in your field or you are can use it to eliminate a few bad habits.

It could also be that you are attempting to completely cure some traces of addiction in your life, and have probably heard NLP courses may be able to help you with that.

There are as many reasons as there are challenges on the face of the earth. For some people, it’s a simple story of a desire to improve the quality of life from within as opposed to using dangerous chemicals like drugs. Although you may be able to get the job done by yourself, it is advised you employ the help of a professional and take these courses seriously, as they could be the start to you living your best life.

So, what exactly is Neurolinguistic Programming?

Neurolinguistic Programming, NLP is a term used to describe the study of the dynamics that exist between your thinking processes (Neuro) and your words (linguistics), and the way in which the two entities come together to influence behavior. This program was co-founded by Richard Bandler in 1975, as a means to find the perfect formula to positively influence a person’s action. Bandler who also wrote a book titled The Structure of Magic, was passionate about unveiling secrets to changing negative behaviors and thoughts.

Neurolinguistic Programming pries into the world of communication. It looks at the ways in which we communicate within ourselves and with others, how we analyze and process information, and the ways in which stored information can be used to achieve goals and aspirations. At the core of the Neuro Linguistic program, your work is aimed at improving the already existing relationship between thoughts, actions, words and feelings to become a much better, productive and improved version of yourself.

How does NLP really work?

The different renditions of Neurolinguistic Programming make the process of defining its method of operation very difficult. But it is interesting to note that the concept of Neurolinguistic Programming is based on the idea that people generally are led by “internal maps” that are as a result of influence from things and people. This influence can now be translated through any of the sensory means. NLP aims to identify and change the limitations that arise as a result of a person’s map of the world.

You should, however, note that Neurolinguistic Programming is different from hypnotherapy. NLP operates by the use of language and suggestions to elicit a change in behavior and thought. For instance, a main characteristic of NLP is the general idea that a person is bias towards one specific sensory system that is often referred to as the Preferred Representational System (PRS).

Most Therapists can identify this selection of preference through languages. For example, using a combination of words like “I can see your point” would imply a visual PRS, while words like “I can hear your point” may signify an auditory PRS. An NLP expert will pick out a person’s PRS and build a therapeutic solution around it. The entire framework could involve gathering information, building rapport and setting adequate goals.

Techniques of Neurolinguistic Programming

Neurolinguistic Programming is a wide field of practice, and as such, NLP experts may use various techniques that may include some of the following;

  • An important technique of Neurolinguistic programming is the removal of negative thoughts and feelings that are linked to past experiences.
  • Anchoring: This involves using sensory experiences as major triggers to reveal several deep emotional states.
  • Rapport: The NLP expert enters into the mind of the person by matching their unique physical behaviors to better understand and improve communication and response by empathizing.
  • Switch pattern: Switching patterns of thoughts or behaviors that reach a desired outcome instead of an undesired one.
  • Visual and kinesthetic Dissociation (VKD): This involves attempting to eliminate negative feelings and thoughts that are linked with past events.

Examples of Neurolinguistic Programming

Neurolinguistic Programming is often used in personal development by developing self-empowering skills such as confidence, self-reflection and communication. Most NLP experts have applied this therapy commercially to achieve goals that are work orientated like improved productivity and job progression. Furthermore, it has been used therapeutically for psychological disorders, including depression, mental exhaustion, phobias, Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), stress and Generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), and several other conditions.

Is it worth learning NLP?

To be able to say with absolute certainty that this program is worth learning, you first have to examine what it is capable of doing for you in various settings. These insights will guide you and help you reach a decision whether NLP is a program that is worth studying or not.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming in a Business setting

You can’t deny the fact that proper communication in your place of business will increase efficiency and productivity. Applying Neurolinguistic programming to your business will affect it at all levels. Let’s examine a few ways NLP can improve the quality of your business.

  • Improving the level of communication between employees through intensive training on emotional intelligence.
  • Improving your personal leadership qualities and that of your employees.
  • Boosting your confidence in appearing and speaking publicly, and in the case of anxiety, it also teaches helpful strategies for eliminating stress and anxiety.
  • Enhancing your ability to convince and persuade, leading to more profitable negotiations and increased sales.

Once you are aware of your current performance level in the workplace and you can identify that you need help in making a difficult sale, with a willingness to improve, NLP will provide the necessary tools for you to do just that.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming for Addictions

Experts often utilize Neurolinguistic Programming to cure mental distresses like anxiety and phobias. However, there are many other aspects of Neuro linguistic programming that you can use to effectively cure addiction. One of such sub disciplines is the Stages of Change Model. In this model, Experts believe true change isn’t instantaneous or immediate, but that it takes time and occurs gradually in order for the change to be lasting.

Most times when dealing with a problem, in this case addiction, interventions poised at facilitating a cure often deal with the problem superficially. Although this sometimes is effective, albeit temporarily, the principles of NLP believe that you have to get to the roots of the problem in order to get solid and lasting results. For instance, a person addicted to gambling and has lost a lot of money and possessions as a result, and who has the intention to stop gambling, can have their compulsive behavior examined through 5 distinct levels:

  • Environmental Level; Things around the person when the urge to gamble overwhelms.
  • Behavioral Level; What activity was the person engaged in when the urge came?
  • Capability Level; What is that person able to do?
  • Belief Level; What does that person believe he should do?
  • Identity Level; What is that person’s opinion about himself.

Any of these levels could reveal the reason why that person cannot quit gambling. Neurolinguistic Programming studies the relationship that exists between thought and action at each of the individual levels, thereby making the person mentally aware of their behavior, even if that isn’t the end goal. Neurolinguistic Programming isn’t just about awareness and understanding, but also about change. NLP provides amazing tools and resources in order to assist people in working out different techniques available for different levels, so that they can get the desired result and change they seek.

If the problem exists at the Environmental Level, then an abrupt change in environment is the way to go. If it is at the identity level, you can help them change what and how they think about themselves.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming to boost personal productivity

While it is great to be able to finally quit that addiction, that is not the full extent to which NLP can be used. It is also a productivity booster and many users can attest to its ability to enhance efficiency and productivity in every area of life.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming to form new habits

Many interventions of Neurolinguistic programming help the user view aspects of his life objectively. An example is an intervention called perceptual positions which is used to help people identify behaviors and proceed to treating them objectively. This is done by changing the way that person views the behavior. In perceptual positions, the stages are classified into first, second and third positions.

To be able to fully grasp this, you should know that the first perceptual position is seeing the entire world through our eyes and filters. In the second perceptual position, we see the world through the filters of the eyes of somebody else. Finally, in the third position, we see the world through a neutral position.

You may now be wondering how this can help you develop an entirely new habit. Imagine you struggle with reading daily because you may not have enough incentive to pick up a book. Viewing your life, which includes your inability to consistently read, through the eyes of a family member or your mentor might motivate you to pick up a book, everyday. These perceptual positions are an integral part of Neurolinguistic Programming which helps you substitute bad habits with new good ones.

Using Neurolinguistic Programming to be more flexible in your day-to-day activities

Neurolinguistic Programming also teaches you to find out more flexible options when making decisions in your day to day activities. Try and imagine something that really gets you worked up and pushes you to your limits. For some people, it could be sitting in traffic for long hours; for others, it could be coming back to meet a messy room that they just cleaned because a friend is staying over for the weekend. Whatever it may be, there are ways to positively affect them.

As a result of one of the major effects of NLP- offering you a different perspective, which includes the words you say in those situations- it reveals to you what exactly it is that you say that gets you even more aggravated. No doubt these situations can be really upsetting, but being constantly aware of what you are saying gives you the rare opportunity to substitute that upsetting statement with a more effective language.

Is Neurolinguistics Programming really effective?

There are several reasons why saying outright Neurolinguistic Programming is effective may not be completely true.

The scrutiny and criticism other scientific therapies like the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) surrounding their establishment need to be properly reviewed and evaluated for any meaningful conclusions to be drawn. One thing that is clear is the need for further research.

The insufficiency of general evaluation and regulation and the commercial implication of the programme render any claims of its absolute effectiveness a bit sketchy. No doubts, NLP has resulted in great psychological and mental benefits in many patients. Even some clinical studies have proven its efficacy. However, some discouraging findings have also been achieved in the past.

Some of the studies have found there to be numerous benefits associated with NLP. For instance, the Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research published a study that discovered psychotherapy patients experienced an overall improved psychological state and quality of life after having undergone NLP as opposed to a control group.

The British Journal of General Practice published a review that involves 10 recent studies conducted on NLP. Unfortunately, they were not in the favour of NLP. That review resulted in an unpleasant conclusion being drawn about the evidence that supports the potency of NLP in curing health related conditions like weight management, management of anxiety, drug abuse and many more.

In 2014, a paper by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health discovered that there was sufficient clinical evidence that backed the effectiveness of NLP in its use to cure illnesses like PTSD, depression or GAD. Furthermore, another research carried out the following year found out that Neurolinguistic  Programming therapy instigates a positive response from people who struggle with psychological and social challenges. However, more research is needed for clarity.

Ever since its inception, the NLP theoretical idea has suffered from its lack of sufficient evidence to support it. In 2009, A paper revealed that after about 30 years since its inception, the hypothesis supporting NLP were not believable and its evidence,  seemed anecdotal to many.

Also, a review paper written in 2010 was done with the sole aim of assessing the findings that relate to the core theories of NLP. Of the total 33 studies concluded, only about 18% were shown to support NLP’s theories. Now, after about 40 years of its existence, both the validity of its core theories and the effectiveness of Neurolinguistic Programming has been successfully proven by concrete research.

It is also noteworthy that most of these researches carried out on NLP were done in a therapeutic environment, and as such may produce different results than the ones conducted in commercial environments. Keenly looking at how well this therapy works, in itself is not fully reliable, as there are numerous variables surrounding the main subject. For instance, it is not reliable to compare studies on whether or not this therapy actually works as a result of the difference in techniques, methods and possible outcomes.

Where can you use Neurolinguistic Programming?

This is one question that often comes to mind whenever the subject comes up. The truth is, there are several settings in which the Neurolinguistic Programming can be used. However, applying these therapies in these areas should be properly and carefully supervised.

Alternative Medicine

Although the evidence available to back the use of NLP in alternative medicine is not yet conclusive, NLP therapy has, over the years, been associated with claims that it can tackle a large array of diseases, including but not restricted to HIV/AIDSParkinson’s Disease and even Cancer. Even though these claims do not have sufficient medical evidence, there are people who often use NLP as a type of treatment for these diseases. These people run a real risk of developing complicated health consequences that may result from a delay in the availability of effective medical attention, and have had to rely on NLP as a remedy.


Most early books and studies about NLP concentrated more on the psychotherapeutic use of the program. This is mainly because most (if not all) of the early promoters were strictly psychotherapists. As a very valid approach to Psychotherapy, Neurolinguistic Programming focuses intensely on similar core assumptions and beliefs that exist commonly with most systemic practices. A good example is solution focused brief therapy. Neurolinguistic Programming has also been linked to influencing the majority of these practices with its techniques. This involves plans to execute behavioral changes by altering its meaning or context.

There are other applications of Neurolinguistic Programming…

Even though originally most of the techniques used in NLP were therapeutic in nature, their generic methods allow them to be applied in a number of other fields. A few of these unconventional applications include:

  • Sales
  • Persuasion
  • Management Training
  • Negotiation
  • Teaching
  • Sports
  • Team building
  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • Public Speaking

Why you should take a Neurolinguistic Programming Course

Whatever your life might look like right now doesn’t really matter, all that matters is that you are looking to change it. NLP mainly hinges on creating awareness of the connection between your words and your thoughts. Picking out these patterns and connections enable users to effect necessary changes in either their personal or professional lives.

A few benefits of NLP include an improved communication with yourself, employees and love partners. A deep consciousness of your behaviors and thought patterns helps you get rid of bad habits and master flexibility in every situation life brings your way. The advantages of studying NLP are wide, irrespective of who you are and what you are trying to achieve in life.

If you purchase these courses, you will certainly be getting help for yourself and also for others around you for outcomes like weight reduction, quitting nasty habits like smoking, or learning hypnosis. You can browse through the list of available courses to make your selection.

What type of people are most suitable for Neurolinguistic Programming?

We have looked at a few applications of the Neurolinguistic Programming in our lives. We will now look at types of people that should consider searching for a Neurolinguistic program. Although Neurolinguistics can generally improve the quality of life, there are however a few key indicators for its use.

People with Poor Communication and Leadership Skills

Neurolinguistic Programming can be used to improve the quality of your communication and leadership skills, thereby giving you an invaluable edge in areas like sales, PR, your ability to persuade or convince, empathy and so on. Neurolinguistic Programming can be used to relieve tension and anxiety and as a result, may boost your confidence in appearing in taking up leadership roles, engaging in public speaking and communicating effectively.

People looking to end an addictive habit

As earlier said,  Neurolinguistic Programming can be used to significantly improve quality of life. This includes getting rid of nasty old habits that are otherwise difficult to eliminate. A deep understanding of how addictions work is important if you are going to successfully overcome it. Neurolinguistic Programming offers insights into strategic tenets of addiction like triggers, including mental, environmental and physical triggers and how to subdue them.

People who want to increase productivity

Productivity in every area of your life is absolutely important if you want to succeed. You cannot lead a quality life without being productive. If you are looking to improve the quality of your life by increasing your level of productivity, Neurolinguistic Programming offers a great platform for you to do so.

How to select a good Neurolinguistic Programming Course

In selecting a good NLP course, there are several internal questions that are crucial. We will be looking at a few of these questions.

What do you want this course to do for you?

In order to choose a suitable NLP course, this is the most important question to begin with. Several people venture into the world of NLP for several reasons. It is either you’re interested in becoming an NLP expert who will work with different clients, or you are just one of those fascinated by this field.

The level of intensity to which you approach the field depends on what exactly you hope to achieve from it. Whether it is merely a general interest for which most NLP courses will be suitable, or it is a deeper and more informative approach with the aim of becoming an expert, which will require more intense courses, everyone has a reason.

Would you prefer online or offline NLP training courses?

It wasn’t until recently that online courses received the level of interest that befits them. For so long, online NLP courses weren’t considered as thorough and life changing as the offline ones. Luckily, that narrative is changing with the introduction of more interactive and expressive online courses in the form of webinars and seminars. Although there are few experts that still think that physical courses are most ideal, live online courses that let the users ask experts questions on unclear areas are slowly but surely replacing the physical courses.

However, it still comes down to the reason you are taking these courses. If it’s for your personal development, most online courses will work well as far as there is an interactive aspect.

Is the course approved by any Neurolinguistic Programming Accreditation body?

This is also another important thing to look out for, but be careful not to let overly prestigious titles deceive you. There are numerous institutions and accrediting bodies, so there is almost no guarantee that you will receive the best training at a college with prestigious titles. So, be careful because there is always a probability for you to be blindsided by the titles.


NLP has become increasingly popular as the years have rolled by. This heightened popularity may be as a result of the fact that experts can utilize it in several different contexts and fields, or maybe for the simple fact that it works. However, the general idea that is the rock upon which NLP is built and the absence of formal bodies that will monitor and supervise its use imply that the techniques and standards of practice can significantly be different.

Furthermore, distinct and valid evidence to back its effectiveness has yet to come to light. As a result of this, it is plausible that impressive marketing played a huge role in its widespread popularity, especially commercially. Also, if your aim at the end of the training is to become a very competent expert, you will require courses that span for longer than just one weekend. A standard time period is 20 days for the complete training and then over the course of a couple of months.

It is also advised to enroll for a course that includes a clinical component. That will include not just working with fellow members of the course but also with the general public that will definitely present tangible and real issues which will have to be taken under close supervision. Although these kinds of courses cost more money and extra hours, the training is undoubtedly intensive and way more comprehensive.

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