NLP refers to neuro-linguistic programming and is widely known in the New Age thanks to its popularization by a well-known self-help guru, Tony Robbins.
If you’re unfamiliar with neuro-linguistic programming, it is generally characterized as a branch of psychotherapy that can be used to alter behavioral patterns and treat problems, including depression, learning disorders, phobias, and so on.
Moreover, it has been categorized as a quasi-religion linked to the Human Potential Movements and the New Age.
That said, this phenomenon can also be seen as covert, too. As a result, there is a hidden nature to this technique that can lead to alarming applications.
With this in mind, this guide will outline everything you need to know about neuro-linguistic programming and its role in a Christian lifestyle.
What Is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
This technique refers to the art of implementing observation, particular hypnotherapy, and language applications to understand a person and plant suggestions in the mind to influence certain actions. In short terms, this is a form of hypnosis.
This approach is heavily implemented in personal coaching, self-help programs, and sales training. Plus, you can even find an “NLP For Dummies book”.
By scientists, this approach is seen as a pseudo-science since it claims to solve all your problems and provide you with success all on unscientific models (technical terms are used to make it seem scientific). That said, it is widely popular around the world.
Health coaches, life coaches, job coaches, spiritual coaches, as well as every ‘coach’ you could imagine (both Christian and non-Christian), are proliferating, therefore, you should be aware that most (if not all) coaches use NLP.
What Is NLP Really?
The origins of this practice are fairly simple. Two men, Richard Bandler, and John Grinder were interested in the relationship between language and results.
Bandler was a computer programmer who had a particular skill in observing patterns in speech. Grinder, on the other hand, was a linguist who analyzed Bandler’s capabilities.
When it comes to understanding Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the easiest way to do so is by breaking down its name and what it stands for.
Here, neuro refers to all the experiences that are processed through neurology, or in our brains. The linguistic part refers to language itself and how words have the ability to represent internal experiences.
The programming aspect refers to how these two aspects are interlinked using patterns.
Origins And Models Of NLP
Expanding on the previous points, the originators of the NLP practice took it upon themselves to look at the most successful people in a specific field and what common characteristics these individuals shared to make them successful.
When it came to talking to these individuals about their success, it quickly became apparent that these individuals weren’t aware of how they became successful in the first place – it was seen as ‘natural’ to them.
From here, the foundation of NLP was discovered and implemented. Here, the creators of the application came up with a simple, yet effective, framework: ‘a Model for Modeling Excellence’.
Using this method, they began to question how these successful people did what they did, not through descriptions and words, but through structured questioning and observation – looking at the structure in which people performed actions, as opposed to the content (the events which led up to it).
Through this understanding, the originators were able to extract how these individuals achieved their results and then copied the model into the NLP where similar results can be achieved.
This understanding exceeds anything you would typically look at when analyzing success. For instance, how a sports coach would look at an athlete.
Some questions include what is individual saying to themselves, what the individual believes to be true, what is their attention, they what believe to be important, how they are feeling, the purpose they are implementing, as well as a range of other distinctions that help to map out the internal and external motives of a person.
Is NLP Biblical?
The strategies behind NLP are based on the actions and models behind specific individuals and groups. Thus, have then formed the basis of the NLP model. That said, the strategies themselves are not NLP – these are the model’s applications.
Therefore, when determining whether or not this model is Christian, you first need to understand what is being modeled.
As previously mentioned, this model is deeply linked with Neurology and the structures within it. In other words, it questions how God wired us – through analyzing linguistics, systematic methods, how this is achieved, programming, and habits.
Moreover, you also need to understand the other aspects that are labeled NLP, too. For instance, what about Covert Persuasion, Shamani X, The Phobia Cure, The Swish Pattern, and Speed Seduction, among many others?
If you’re modeling Buddhist Meditations methods, then this clearly wouldn’t be considered Christian. However, if you take Healing Patterns, Metaphors of Jesus, and leadership, then yes, NLP could be considered Christian.
For instance, if you’re taking something such as how to ‘Renew the Mind’ from the Bible model, then it would be considered Christian.
If you’re talking about a healing pattern that models Jesus, then it would be safe to say that the particular model is Christian.
On the other hand, if the model uses the work of shamans for healing purposes, then it would clearly be considered not Christian – this is where most of the confusion tends to come from.
Hence, most of the strategies implemented in the NPL framework are not Christian simply due to each method being modeled from a non-Christian viewpoint.
Although, what the NLP framework does do is provide Christians with particular distinctions on exploring the ‘how’.
Here, the Bible provides you with the guidance to ‘…not be conformed to this world, but renewed of the mind?’, ‘take every thought captive’, ‘set your minds of things above’, and if anything is excellent or praiseworthy to meditate on such things’.
Therefore, the NLP provides individuals with the framework for exploring such things and themselves.
For instance, the ways in which God created us, how languages are interlinked, as well as the connection it provides the individuals – providing you with the resources to live a more Christian life if you choose to.
What NLP doesn’t do is support one specific point of view of the world or spiritual tradition.
Since NLP and New Age ideology is inherently interlinked, the Trainers behind this model attempt to market this approach as spiritual, which, as a result, has been constructed out of the Christian framework.
Thus, it is important to keep in mind that various NLP Trainers include non-Christian spirituality in their teachings.
NLP refers to neuro-linguistic programming and refers to the ways in which language and the factors behind it can be used to influence a range of different actions – for the good and the bad.
Inherently, it is a method used for self-help, progression, and work. Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about NPL and its role in a Christian lifestyle.