Before you think this guy, who has repeatedly written that he is a skeptic, has gone nuts: I have not changed. It is very easy to become a master trainer for neuro-linguistic programming, NLP in short. Just put the title on your web site and business card.
Here are two sources to underline this observation: NLP Trademark Lawsuit and NLP FAQ. But what does that mean? Everybody who has read a little about NLP and can mimic the slang will be able to make others believe that he is a professional. There is no body of authority that certifies correct use of the term NLP and of its practices. There is no organized or implicit continuous improvement implied. There is no way to distinguish charlatans from the real stuff. Makes you question whether everybody putting NLP on their banner is a quack, doesn’t it?
I have been suspicious about the ideas and merits of NLP for some time and did some web research on the topic. You can do that on your own. Wikipedia is a good starting point, but there is a lot more that you can find, e.g. The Skeptic’s Dictionary. Here is a very short summary:
You can find that quote on the NeuroLogicaBlog, see also this paper: “Neuro-linguistic programming: cargo cult psychology?”.
Here is my point of view.
- You can earn a lot of money with it. That in itself is neither merit nor dishonor.
- Neuro-linguistic programming belongs to the pseudo-sciences branch of New Age – as opposed to the wishful thinking part like law of attraction.
- The term itself is misleading, although very suitable for marketing.
- The “neuro” part is not connected in any way to real neuro science, but tries to borrow from its credibility. You have to admit that they jumped on the neuro train even before the real hype started.
- It is similar with “linguistic”, although there is at least a slight connection: Every sufficiently complex endeavor to improve yourself will require the use of language.
- “Programming” is revealing. On the one hand, it shows a pseudo-mechanistic and pseudo-deterministic understanding of the mind. On the other hand, it is only one step away from the reality: NLP is a brainwash technology.
- The successes of NLP can be explained without the mumbo-jumbo. For example, they contain an application of the “As If Principle”, which has been scientifically studied.
This is an opinion post, not a scientific article. Therefore, I am not going to discuss the topic any deeper. It would be a waste of time anyhow. Believers will not change their mind because of just one more article against NLP. On the other hand, if you have not yet decided what to think about NLP, do your research. You are empowered to do that.
What’s your opinion?