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Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy
Psychology Today


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) therapy incorporates NLP, a set of language- and sensory-based interventions and behavior-modification techniques intended to help improve the client’s self-awareness, confidence, communication skills, and social actions. The goals of NLP are to help the client understand that the way one views the world affects how one operates in the world, and that it is necessary to change the thoughts and behavior patterns that have not proven beneficial in the past. However, empirical evidence of the efficacy of NLP is limited.

When It's Used

NLP has been used to treat fears and phobias, anxiety, poor self-esteemstress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and overall reduced quality of life due to various psychological issues. Most studies addressing the effectiveness of NLP in treating these issues have been small in scale and have had mixed results.

What to Expect

An NLP therapist may use a variety of techniques such as visualization, or forming a mental image of something the client wants want, as well as visual-kinesthetic dissociation, a process by which the therapist guides the client in reliving trauma from the distance of an imaginative, out-of-body experience. The therapist may seek to help correct language that leads to negative thinking and faulty communication. NLP therapy can be short-term or long-term, depending on the individual and the extent of the problem.

How It Works

NLP is intended to help clients understand their own minds, how they came to think and behave the way they do, and to learn to manage their moods and emotions and reprogram the way they process information so that it leads to more acceptable and successful behavior. At the same time, NLP is designed to help clients see ways they have been successful in the past and determine how they can most easily and efficiently repeat that success in other areas of their lives. NLP therapists believe that their clients have the answers to their problems within themselves; it is simply a matter of helping them draw out those answers.

What to Look for in a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapist

An NLP therapist is a licensed mental health professional, social worker, or therapist with additional training in NLP interventions and techniques through workshops and mentorship programs. In addition to checking credentials and experience, you should feel safe and comfortable working with any NLP therapist you choose.



Zaharia C, Reiner M, Schutz P. Evidence-based neuro linguistic psychotherapy: a meta analysis. Psychiatria Danubina. 2015;27(4):355-363.

Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy and Counseling Association (UK)

Wake L and Leighton M. Pilot study using neurolinguistic programming in post-combat PTSD. Mental Health Review Journal. 2014;19(4):251-264.

Hollander J and Malinowski O. The effectiveness of NLP: Interrupted time series analysis of single subject/data for one session of NLP coaching. Journal of Experiential Psychotherapy. December 2016;19(76):41-58.

Gray RM. Current Research in NLP (Vol 2): Proceedings of 2010 Conference. p.33-42.

Witkowski, T. (2010). Thirty-Five Years of Research on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP Research Data Base. State of the Art or Pseudoscientific Decoration? Polish Psychological Bulletin,41(2). 

Sturt, J., Ali, S., Robertson, W., Metcalfe, D., Grove, A., Bourne, C., & Bridle, C. (2012). Neurolinguistic programming: A systematic review of the effects on health outcomes. British Journal of General Practice,62(604).

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