wikiHow to Use NLP

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a method used by psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, life coaches and other behavioral counselors to help individuals improve their lives through establishing healthy patterns of language usage and thought choices. NLP founders, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, argue that a connection exists between neurological patterns, language and the limiting behaviors that people have learned throughout their lives. Although highly contested for its lack of scientific basis, NLP advocates assert that by breaking these neurological connections and creating new ones, NLP helps individuals to become more self-aware and in control of unwanted personal behaviors and thoughts. Practitioners learn NLP in training programs and certification courses. NLP techniques are also explained in seminars, books and guided audio programs. Overcoming phobias and anxieties and limiting unwanted behaviors, such as overeating, are some of the specific applications of NLP. Here is an example of using NLP as a desensitization technique to overcome minor fears.


  1. 1
    Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a movie theater. Picture yourself on the large black and white theater screen engaged in a neutral activity, such as drinking soda or talking to a loved one.
  2. 2
    Imagine yourself walking away from the screen. This is to solidify that you are simply an audience member watching yourself playing a role in a black and white movie.
  3. 3
    See yourself on the screen experiencing your fear. Stay as detached as possible and watch yourself go through the fearful state. There may be other people in the picture. For example, if you are afraid of public speaking, you may see an audience reacting to your speech.
  4. 4
    Set an endpoint. For example, picture yourself finishing the speech and experience the audience acknowledging the end of the speech through their applause or the next presenter approaching the podium.
  5. 5
    Replace the image with something neutral. After your movie has ended, imagine yourself walking in the park or by the ocean for about a minute.
  6. 6
    Picture yourself back in the theater. Enter the theater screen during the final scene of your personal movie in which the particular event is now over and everything is calm.
  7. 7
    Add color to the movie. You are now in the movie and can see bright colors, hear sounds and smell the scent of the room.
  8. 8
    Watch the movie quickly in reverse. Rewind the experience of the movie you just viewed. For example, you will hear the applause of the audience, watch yourself give the closing statements, hear the middle of your speech, the introduction and arrive back at the beginning. Do all of this within a few short seconds.
  9. 9
    Open your eyes and ask yourself how you feel about the event. Determine if you still feel fearful now that you have watched and felt yourself going through the experience without negative consequences.
  10. 10
    Repeat the activity daily. To lessen the impact of the anxiety, repeat the NLP activity each day until you feel desensitized to the event or particular fear.
  11. 11
    Seek assistance from a trained NLP practitioner. Self-administered reprogramming is usually only effective for minor fears and anxieties. Consult a trained NLP practitioner or other qualified professional for serious phobias that cause anxiety-induced physical reactions.

Article Info

Categories: Psychology Studies