NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is defined in the in many different ways. Google NLP on the internet and you will see this. I like to define NLP as a set of techniques that take advantage of the mind/body dynamics.
NLP, as founded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder was a study of excellence. They wanted to see what made the top people in their fields so excellent at what they did and they also wanted to figure out how they could duplicate this excellence with other people. Fortunately for us, they chose:
Virginia Satir - a family therapist
Fritz Perls – a psychotherapist
Milton Erickson – a hypnotherapist who some call the father of modern hypnotherapy.
In studying these three they not only came up with some wonderful models of communication but also a rapid form of psychological therapy. Oh, and yes, they did come out with some great strategies for modeling excellence in others.
I’ll simplify it even more. NLP is a map (Program) of how the nervous system (Nuero) communicates (Linguistic) internally and externally. Armed with this knowledge, techniques have been devised that makes NLP useful in therapy, counseling, business, sales, relationships, and personal development. NLP is a phenomenal tool.
NLP and hypnosis have a lot of similarities – Both can be used in regression, both can be used to decrease or eliminate stress and anxiety, both can be used to overcome fears, both can be used for a host of therapeutic resolutions, both can be used for personal or professional coaching. Hypnosis and NLP can be used to help change attitudes and perceptions. Hypnosis and NLP can be used for pain management. The list of similarities is almost endless, but the strategies to get to the same outcome are often different. NLP does not require a trance (some may argue) and therefore can be much quicker. NLP usually affects an ‘instant’ change. Hypnosis often takes a little longer.
It’s been my experience that while most NLP practitioners are also hypnotists, fewer hypnotists are certified NLP practitioners. This trend may be changing as I often hear hypnotherapists recommending this NLP technique or that one.