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Foundations Of NLP: Presuppositions

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The Best Part

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a collection of applicable and practical techniques, skills and strategies which can lead to a deep-level of insight, help understand self, others and communicate better.  The best part about NLP is that it is content-free approach where you don’t need to believe anything or disclose what is private. Moreover, when we engage with NLP on either in coaching, teamwork, psychology practice or as we learn to become NLP practitioners, we are asked to adopt a set of assumptions or ideas that support the practice – PRESUPPOSITIONS. They are sentences or statements that help to make the right mind-set while working with a client using then we deliver the most effective NLP coaching. Nonetheless, presuppositions can serve as part of personal philosophy or guiding principles for life, work and relationships.

NLP is content-free approach where you don’t need to believe anything or disclose what is private.

NLP Presuppositions

  1. Respect for the other person’s model of the world. Everyone has a different point of view or ‘model’ of the world.  Based on our experience, which is linked to geography, family, community, economy, education, religion, experience and mindset, therefore you do not have to believe what they believe, but always remember that everyone has their own set of beliefs and truths if you want to create a change in a client. It is not your responsibility to change a client’s perception or beliefs, rather utilize them in order for your techniques to be most effective.
  2. The map is not a territory. Whenever we see a map, we see roads, rivers, mountains etc., but what we don’t see how wide or narrow road is, how deep is river or how steep are mountains. The same goes with the words we use: they are symbolic and ambiguous, therefore WORDS ARE NOT THE EVENT or the item they represent. The WORDS are used to DESCRIBE THE EVENT. Like map describes the territory. By understanding this we are able to expand client’s “map” of the world and see challenges from different perspective, without limitation.
  3. The meaning of communication is in the response you get. Believe it or not, but we communicate almost all the time.  In fact, even when we remain silent or don’t react, we are still communicating. We are taught that we should express ourselves clearly with our words and intentions, however, we already learned that same words or ideas can be seen differently. Moreover, while your intention may be clear to you, it is the OTHER PERSON’S RESPONSE WILL DEFINE how effective your communication is, not the other way around. It is speaker responsibility to adapt to listeners map of the world. With this in mind you are able to be understood better and achieve more in teamwork and presentations.
  4. The mind and the body are a linked system. Mind and body interact and mutually influence each other. For example, once you remember about your past memory, you instantly feel that and in fact, you relive it again! On the other hand, you create energy by moving (dancing, playing) which gives you certain energy and mood. It is not possible to do influence mind without influencing body and vice versa. Body and mind connected so much that one cannot be changed without changing the other and applications for this are endless
  5. People are doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Compare yourself when you first attempted to write or draw with how you are now. How did you improve? Of course we say “by practice”, but do we rethink every time how to move every smallest muscle? How much to press pen and coordinate other aspects? Do we always respond to same problems same way? Most likely not, we somehow improve. Just like everything in nature we evolve, develop and grow.  This means that the internal resources we have also expand over time. This leads us to understanding that a person ALWAYS MAKES THE BEST CHOICE he can, given their knowledge, skills and map of the world. Although, those choices may be self-sabotaging, bizarre or even evil, for them, it is the best way to proceed AT THAT TIME. Consequently, we shouldn’t judge or criticize other for being able to do something, they do their best. Expand their knowledge and actions will change.  NLP teaches you skills and flexibility to minimise miscommunication and to increase clarity. 
  6. Behaviour and change are to be evaluated in terms of context and ecology. All meaning is context dependent. What does it mean? It means that if we talk past traumas, it’s not about what happened, but what we interpreted internally. Once you change meaning of event i. e. internal representation, you will be able to expand clients map of the world and do the change.
  7. There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators. Resistance is a sign of a lack of rapport.  Client’s or other party\s active resistance is a sign of lack of rapport. Any resistance is a result of inflexible communication which means we forgot to respect other persons map of the world therefore even using same words and definitions, we understand different things. For example, a husband will avoid argument with wife just because they are in good relation and he likes it that way, and he will “swallow” almost anything wife does to trigger him. On the other hand, if couple is in bad rapport, any smallest details can trigger catastrophic fights, in fact, they will be looking for a reason to fight, because there is so little connection and tolerance to each other.

How To Apply NLP Presuppositions?

You may think that these are very smart sentences and even agree that they makes sense. But as always there is a question “why do I need it” and if I know why, then “how to apply it?!”. Probably, the easiest way to see NLP Presuppositions as Commandments of God. We all know it, we try to follow it, although we may not be religious. Likewise, with these presuppositions who serve as guidelines to be more effective with NLP, performance and communication.