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Presuppositions of NLP

Cutting Edge Technology for Behavior Change

Adapted by Ed Redard, M.D., and Mary Miscisin, M.S.

NLP is based upon a group of presuppositions. Presuppositions are beliefs that someone practicing or interested in NLP will find useful for creating changes in themselves and the world, more easily and effectively. You can view these presuppositions as resources with which you may look at matters from a different perspective, or you can discuss whether they hold true under all circumstances. Acting as if these presuppositions are true will allow you to get more out of the NLP model. By suspending momentary doubts, if any, you will find yourself fully stepping into these new beliefs and greatly enhancing your ability to benefit from these ideas.

The numbering of the presuppositions and the wording will show mild differences, depending upon the training center or the personal flavor that individual trainers add to it.

1. THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY

All humans take in information through their available senses and then give meaning to that information according to their own unique models of the world. We cannot process every bit of information that comes to us, so after deleting, distorting, and generalizing the information we create a “map of the territory.” We then refer back to that map for our information about the world. For example, if I believe that Bob is selfish, it does not mean Bob is actually selfish. All it means is that I have arranged my map to represent him that way. People respond to their maps of reality, not to reality. If you change your map you’ll change your emotional state and experience of the world. NLP is the science of changing these maps

2. COMMUNICATION = THE RESPONSE

The meaning of your communication to another is reflected in the response it elicits, regardless of your intent. The effective communicator will vary his/her communication so that the intended message is the same as the response (how it understood)

3. MIND AND BODY ARE PART OF THE SAME CYBERNETIC SYSTEM

Mind and body act as one. Thoughts, feelings, physiological processing, sensory input and behavioral output all occur simultaneously. They are all so interwoven that there is virtually no real distinction between them. What we feel is how we think, and what we think is how we feel.

4. PEOPLE WORK PERFECTLY TO PRODUCE THE RESUTS THEY”RE GETTING

No one is broken, wrong, or incompetent. We are functioning perfectly in what we are doing now (even if we are perfectly “ruining” our lives). Therefore change is a matter of discovering how we are functioning now, so that we can move into doing something else more useful or desirable.

5. FAILURE TO GET YOUR DESIRED RESULT IS A STEP TO SUCCESS

Every situation is useful, even if you dislike the results. The knowledge you gain from your experiences is priceless in making better decisions and choices in the future.

6. PEOPLE ALWAYS MAKE THE BEST CHOICE AVAILABLE TO THEM AT THE TIME

Given who we are (our life experiences, how and what we perceive, the choices that we are aware of, our perception of reality, our moment to moment state) we behave the best way we know how at any given point in time.

7. BEHIND EVERY BEHAVIOR IS A POSITIVE INTENT

Each behavior has a positive intent, although it may be out of conscious awareness, and this purpose (a positive by-product) should be respected and valued. For example, the positive intent behind ‘fear’ is usually ‘safety’. ‘Anger’ may have the positive purpose of ‘motivating’ a person to take action.
In the book Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP, Robert Dilts states, “It is also important to keep in mind that people can only have a positive intention for the particular part of the total system that they are aware of or identify with. Thus, an individual who is knowingly and ‘purposefully’ doing something harmful to another, will often have a positive intention for himself or herself which does not include the other”.

8. CHOICE IS BETTER THAN NO CHOICE

The world is much more than black or white, gain or lose, stay or go, chocolate or vanilla. In any situation it is best to consider all the shades of grey between black and white. NLP is a method of adding options.

9. IF IT IS POSSIBLE FOR SOMEONE, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ME

To get what we want in the world we use our internal resources: physiology, language, beliefs, values, model of the world, etc. If we want to achieve a goal, we can locate someone that is already accomplishing it, and then model them. If we take similar actions, we will produce similar results.

10. PEOPLE ALREADY HAVE ALL THE INTERNAL RESOURCES THEY NEED TO CREATE THE OUTCOMES THEY WANT AND DESIRE

Reaching our goals is a matter of recognizing and using these resources at the right place and time. There are no unresourceful people, only unresourceful states.

If you want to learn more, check out our outstanding program "Communicate To Motivate".


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