By Rich Liotta, PhD
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) originally grew out of diverse fields including Ericksonian hypnosis, Gestalt psychotherapy, systems theory, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the human potential movement. It has influenced the focus on brief therapy methods since the 1980's. Many of the findings in neuroscience indirectly support what NLP would predict regarding the neurology of emotional states, representation of experience, and behavioral change. NLP is widely used, in one form or another, in fields including psychotherapy, hypnosis, education, business, and medicine. Despite these connections, the scientific evidence of NLPs effectiveness is limited. Perhaps this is because it did not originate in academia or perhaps because those who use NLP are more focused on helping people with NLP, rather than documenting its effectiveness for facilitating change, enrichment, and symptom relief. Because the research validating the efficacy of NLP as an effective treatment and change technology has not been done, many don't have access to the effective methods and skills that practitioners of NLP use. Much of what NLP accomplishes needs to be researched and better understood. The NLP Research & Recognition Project was initiated to achieve the wider recognition among therapy, education and health care professionals that is warranted.