What’s the real definition of NLP?

One of the most narrow, limited and most common definitions of NLP is ‘neuro how we think, linguistic our language, programming how we’ve been programmed’.

Fun fact: Did you know that Richard Bandler named NLP when he got pulled over by the cops one day after teaching it, before it had a name.

He told the cop he had been teaching and when the cop asked him what he had been teaching, he turned to the back seat where he had three books : one on neurology, one on linguistics and one on computer programming – SO… he told the cop he had been teaching Neuro Linguistic Programming.

NLP is really about inviting more of the body to participate fully in the process of living.

Most people learn NLP in a dis-embodied, heady way where they don’t get the opportunity to discover what it REALLY is.

It’s not just language patterns and subconscious reprogramming. (In fact in NLP we don’t use the term subconscious either, we use the term unconscious.)

NLP is about patterns in human behaviour, the relationships between how you think, what how you feel and your physiology – what you do internally, your conscious and unconscious processes and what you do with your body, voice – ALL OF YOUR FREAKING BEING and HOW and WHEN you do it… and the result or effect that creates… not just your thoughts and language.

There are so many NLP myths and much NLP misinformation.

Here’s another one… have you ever heard someone refer to themselves as a VISUAL AUDITORY OR KINESTHETIC LEARNER/ PERSON? That theory was debunked decades ago but it was a catchy idea so it stuck!! And people have built entire businesses around this myth.

We still utilise these distinctions, but the theory has been updated A SERIOUSLY LONG TIME AGO to reflect how things actually work, and it’s far more complex than doing a test to assess what kind of person you are. Sorry doesn’t work that way!! There is just no such thing as a visual learner or Kinesthetic person. NLP schools are still teaching the outdated material so it keeps the myth alive and circulating!

Do you want more NLP myth busting?

With warmth,


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I’m Amy Bell, NLP Trainer & Coach.

For close to a decade I have been exploring, learning and experimenting with NLP. I’ve trained extensively in both Australia and Europe with some of the worlds most acclaimed NLP Trainers.

I’m both intensely curious, and obsessive about my own ongoing development, the creation and delivery of my work and the results I get for my people. 

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