NLP: It’s About Education, Not Therapy

NLP: It’s About Education, Not Therapy


This morning I was listening to the brilliant Kathleen LaValle interviewing co-founder of NLP, Richard Bandler.

I always love listening to Richard Bandler, his insights are life-changing.

One thing I heard him say today is that NLP is about education, not therapy. NLP focuses on how you think, not what you are thinking.

Let’s explore that.

It was about a year after I started reading and listening to everything I could about NLP. I remember the evening. Something my husband did was upsetting me, and I wanted to tell him about it.

As I walked towards him I was thinking something like, “How could you _______ (I forget what it was about), you really hurt me.” I was about five paces away when I stopped dead in my tracks.

Oh… right. (flash of brilliance) As words from the Meta Model flashed through my head, you see I had been practicing. “How specifically am I making myself upset when he did that?”

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Wow. I’ll try that.

I said to him, “When you did _______, I made myself feel upset.”

And he said “Oh, I’m sorry.”

OK, this is a guy. He’s from Rhode Island. Italian. Sorry? I was stunned.

What happened is that by taking responsibility for my own feelings, it took the blame off of him. The original complaint was not such a big deal, it was the blame that could have amplified the situation.

This was an example of education.

Therapy concerns the treatment of disease or disorders. Education consists of developing the power of reasoning. I had learned a different way to reason. We both use this technique to communicate to each other now. It has made a delightful difference in our relationship.

This was an example of the “Meta Model” of specific questioning that NLP co-founders Bandler and Grinder created from the work of Virginia Satir.

Another part of NLP, is the “Milton Model” of ambiguous language they created from the Father of Hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson. This is part of how to use hypnotic language to get results. By using this type of language, the practitioner educates the client at a deep level in new choices.

Let’s consider three other NLP processes and how they are education and not therapy.

Working with addicts we use a process that shifts “where” the client stores how they like the substance to a place where they store something that disgusts them. This is educating the mind to think differently about the substance. This gives the client more of a choice, a chance to reason between using the substance or not.

Another technique is to turn the “picture” or short movie that the client has of using the substance into a long movie with dire circumstances. This also gives the client more of a choice, and educates their mind at a deeper level of the consequences of continued substance use.

Let’s explore the technique for releasing all of the negative past emotional charges for each negative emotion. With this process the practitioner coaches the client to go into the past and find the root cause of all of the particular emotion. It is like finding the first bead on a string of beads. When you clear the root cause, it is like cutting the first bead off, the rest of the string releases and dissipates. Is this education? Is it educating the mind to think differently?

To me it seems like at that point, through coaching, we create a new way (choice) to experience the past so it doesn’t adversely affect the present.

As a practitioner and trainer of NLP, it feels much more respectful to the client to use a “do with” process (education), rather than a “do to” process (therapy). Each person is brilliant, in ways they don’t realize! NLP can help in uncovering that brilliance.

One of the attitudes in NLP is that people do not need to be “fixed.” Everyone already has the tools they need to live exceptional, happy lives. It is simply a matter of educating the mind to work better. As Richard Bandler said in this interview, if your mind thinks better, you have more freedom.

Do you want to learn more about using NLP to improve your results with clients?

If so, download my brand new free mp3s and videos here:

Learn more about NLP at

Nannette DiMascio has been a student of metaphysics since age nine, she works with people who know that life has more to offer, and are ready to empower themselves to create the future of their dreams. Nannette DiMascio is a certified NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner, she is a practitioner of Energetic NLP (ENLP) and Chinese Energetic Medicine.

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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions  and Public Speaking Events

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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions  and Public Speaking Events

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