NLP - What is NLP, What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

[ What is NLP? ] [ What's NLP for? ] [ NLP History ] [ What We Offer You ]

"NLP is the most powerful technology for change in the 21st Century.

   - Psychology Today

"I built my sales career from zero to become the world's best motivator by using NLP."

   - Tony Robbins

"NLP could be the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communication to emerge since the explosion of humanistic psychology in the sixties."

   - Science Digest

"NLP helps me to manage and motivate audiences. It's just amazing."

   - Oprah Winfrey

"NLP [...] is an approach to psychotherapy that uses language patterns and metaphor to communicate with the unconscious mind."

   - Playboy

"NLP™ can not be dismissed as just another hustle. Its theoretical underpinnings represent an ambitious attempt to codify and synthesize the insights of linguistics, body language, and the study of communication systems."

   - Psychology Today

What is NLP?

NLP is an acronym that stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It's about influencing the mind (our own, or others), using language and communication, to get better results.

It's origins beginning in 1975 are grounded in the study of a range of experts and exemplars whose fast-changework techniques initially surprised, mystified, and amazed observers. Early influences on NLP come from Gestalt Psychology, Linguistics, General Semantics, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy.

Though its origins are grounded in science, NLP itself is not science. We would describe it as a blend of art and science. If you take certain NLP skills out of the hands of a skilled practitioner, they often don't get results and can't be scientifically tested in a vaccuum. Yet, hundreds of thousands of anecdotal stories suggest that there's an art to doing NLP well, and many of the stories you'll hear from proponents (including us!) seem improbable -- yet very, very desireable!

Over time the field has dramatically expanded and has become popular for a wide range of different reasons, including being at the center of the self-help success seminar industry (you may not think Anthony Robbins does NLP, but NLP insiders have LOTS of stories to tell you about the origins of Tony's style and material).

Over recent decades since ~1975, tens of millions of people around the world have been exposed to NLP. Millions of people have taken at least some weekend NLP courses, and hundreds of thousands of people have become certified as Practitioners or Master Practitioners. But only a small number... get SO good at NLP... that their friends affectionately refer to them as "Yoda" and such. Real wizardry is possible, and this is one of the places that will help you get there.

What's NLP For?

It's for anything. The sky is the limit. And so... what you get from NLP... depends on what you WANT in life. What you want less of, and what you want more of.

Some people want to overhaul their communication skills completely -- take their entire lives to a completely new level. Extended and typically-structured NLP training is definitely for them.

Some people want to achieve brilliance in particular areas. NLP may very well be for them, but the cookie-cutter NLP training companies out there might not be an ideal choice. Better to find trainers who specialize in applying NLP in those areas. If this is you -- you've come to the RIGHT place, here, at the Mastery InSight Institute.

Some people have had emotional issues in their life; maybe they're in therapy and it's not working as well as they'd like. These people may take NLP training if they want to solve their own problems themselves. Or perhaps it would be better to go to an NLP Practitioner or Master Practitioner and ask them to do NLP coaching for them (we do offer some coaching).

Some people want to learn things faster. As the core of NLP is about replicating excellence -- we can think of no better field for learning to speed up the learning of entire areas of expertise. NLP is truly extraordinary for this.

Still others may want to be more influential with people, in any context. This is a very attractive and positive reason for learning NLP (though we caution people to explore this for the right reasons, and use these skills to improve lives, not to get back at others from a deprivation standpoint!)

And, there are other great reasons to learn NLP.

Brief History of NLP

NLP originated in the early 1970's when co-founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder developed their process for modeling "cognitive, linguistic, and behavioral excellence," and then used it to model the skills of several fast-change wizards from the fields of linguistics, gestalt psychology, & hypnotherapy. Thus the first wave of NLP students were all therapists aimed at creating faster, more effective changework. But since the early days (early 70's) NLP has rapidly expanded into other domains of expertise as well.

Throughout its history, NLP was and still is, at it's core, a method for replicating excellence, in results, methodology, language, and human cognition. Needless to say, if NLP is what many proponents (including us) say is a better method for learning other things faster, than whatever other methods are out there... then... it's easy to say "Everything is NLP." Which is both true, and false.

Over time, this modeling process has produced results that, while they're more the "results" of NLP, have been included in the NLP skillset. They are often mistaken as NLP when they may have originally just been the results of using NLP.

Most would agree these various NLP skills include:

  • Improved persuasiveness.
  • Faster Learning
  • Greater Clarity
  • Cognitive Strategies of Genius
  • Greater Emotional State Management (EQ)
  • The ability to rapidly comfort people and make them think they know you (and that you know them) -- for the right reasons
  • The ability to induce trance and evoke imagination, and hit emotional hot buttons more easily.
  • The ability to understand more about how people tick & why.
  • The ability to influence people using their own values and decision strategies.
  • ...and much much more.

Where do We Fit In?

What you can expect from Jonathan Altfeld's training and coaching/consulting is amongst the most innovative and interactive training experience available in the world of NLP, which translates to profound levels of skill and creativity. Here's why:

Many other NLP training organizations offer a cookie-cutter approach to NLP training, offering a series of certification trainings, often in packages (i.e., Practitioner, Master Practitioner, Trainer's Training). When that pattern of courses offered appears, take notice: We feel this is the mark of a training organization that is offering you nothing new/unique whatsoever. They are still clinging to an outdated model of learning NLP.

We suggest a different approach: Decide what you want to learn and what you want to become BETTER at... and then develop a training plan to get that result. To back that up, we have created our Recommended NLP Learning Paths page to assist you in your explorations.

Our prime focus at the Mastery InSight Institute since 1997 onward, has always been on being one of the top world-class providers of training in "applied NLP." In other words, we focus on the practical use of NLP in an array of particular areas. Our primary trainer, Jonathan Altfeld, has always been "a bit of a specialist."

Before Jonathan started this NLP Training company, he had already achieved published honors in a different career, in Artificial Intelligence (smart software systems: Jonathan was ALREADY a successful, published "modeler of expertise" before ever learning of NLP!). Upon learning NLP, Jonathan found yet another calling, and sponged up NLP more deeply and quickly than most, far beyond normal expectations. Initially he trained via the typical pathway by a series of extraordinary trainers including Rex Steven Sikes, Richard Bandler, John La Valle, and others, but in late 1997, Jonathan rapidly branched out into doing his own innovative research and development. His view: If a trainer isn't working on pushing the envelope, what's the point in choosing them over anyone else?

Thus, Jonathan typically trains mostly short, applied NLP courses, in particular areas of communication skills that fascinate him the most. Jonathan focuses more on maximum skills delivery in short periods of time on specific subjects, e.g. Presentation Skills, Developing a more Hypnotic voice, modeling beliefs and belief systems, body language communication skills, influence, sales, business, management, and creative intervention design.

A significant number of NLP Practitioners, Master Practitioners, and Trainers have come to Jonathan over the years to improve their skills in specific areas -- and in some cases, to clean up what their previous trainers didn't train particularly well. And if you go to other trainers' websites, you will often find Jonathan's name listed as one of their important influences.

Here's a list of well-known training companies that have invited Jonathan as a guest trainer for multi-day courses:

  • Coaching Leaders (Andy Smith) in Richmond, then Manchester UK
  • PPI, (Michael Beale) in Milton Keynes, UK
  • NLP Now (Phillip Holt) in London, UK
  • Leader Vision, (Roger Deaner) in Melbourne Australia
  • South UK NLP Group (Nigel Heath) in Southampton UK
  • NLP Scotland, (Jeffrey Goodwin) in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Andy Szekely Training, in Bucharest, Romania
  • NLP Europe, (Michael Kold), in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • (more coming)

Here's a list of well-known trainers that have recommended Jonathan's workshops to their own lists: