Wikipedia says NLP is discredited

I recently posted information about an NLP Taster Day I run onto my Facebook page and it got quite a response with people saying how  NLP has been discredited, with one person citing the Wikipedia entry.

Wikipedia says that NLP has made unsubstantiated claims that it is capable of addressing problems such as phobias, depression and other psychosomatic illnesses. They go on to cite research which they claim proves NLP doesn’t work saying it exhibits “pseudoscientific characteristics concepts and terminology”.

This may or may not be true and I welcome this kind of debate as it gives the opportunity to talk about NLP and all that I believe it has to offer.

My choice of words there is actually pretty deliberate, notice I use the word believe.

I do believe that NLP works and consequently so do my clients which means they get results. Some people may call this the placebo effect and would want to research the actual NLP techniques that are used, however what is important is that the client made the changes they wanted to make. If they had a phobia before we started therapy and they no longer have it, or if they had problems with anger before therapy and those angry tendencies have gone or perhaps they had an enormous fear over the future and after therapy the fear is gone – if all these happen and the client feels better, that’s all I care about.

If a client needs to lose a couple of stone in weight and after a few days of therapy by able to start to make these changes, then keep the changes up over a period of time so little way they want to then who cares about Wikipedia entry?

It absolutely could be that if a practitioner of NLP talks with such conviction about how the techniques can have enormous change then this conviction may enable the client to make changes they need, using NLP is a way of attributing those changes for the client.

Many clients have had fears, phobias and anxieties for many years and so have limiting beliefs within themselves, believing that they can’t change. NLP may be the external mechanism by which those clients are able to change, and when they do who is to say that NLP is discredited and doesn’t work?

Doctors often debate the use of placebos (please don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that NLP is a placebo) and Dr Arthur Caplan from NYU Langone Medical Center seems to agree. He suggests that there are times when a medical Dr could consider prescribing a placebo, if this is the case then surely he is considering the possibility that placebos work.

If Dr Kaplan’s experience suggests that prescribing a placebo works this could indeed confirm my points above, if patients have limiting beliefs and believe they can’t change, if a doctor prescribes a placebo the patient is able to attribute those changes to an outside force and therefore make the change.

Either way, the pain, fear, anxiety or phobia has gone – and that’s all I care about!

Interestingly as I was reading the negative comments on Wikipedia my wife came back from taking the children to the orthodontist. Every person at the orthodontic practice has been on one of my NLP taster days and she commented that they were singing the praises of those days and that simply attending the taster day has changed their outlook on life and made communication at the practice so much better.

Try telling them that NLP is discredited…



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2 Responses so far.

  1. jonty rhodes says:

    I just came onto your post and found it quite interesting. I am also associated with Back Logic, Homeopathy, Physical and Natural Therapist, specialising in homeopathy, sports massage, recovery from injury, diet and nutritional advice, postural assessment in the Surrey and London area and enjoy to read the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thanks again for writing such a good post.

  2. Mark Nixon says:

    I'm currently researching CBT and NLP. There are hundreds of medically documented benefits of CBT and Mindfulness based CBT from ADHD, Stress, Cancer Recovery, Social Phobia, Depression….the list really does go on. I strongly advise looking at intervention methods with evidence based outcomes (something NLP has very few indeed – CBT and Mindfulness Based CBT have hundreds).
    A good starting point is here –

    I actually like NLP, it's good from an individual perspective. But I wouldn't mention it to someone from a medical establishment or use it as a definite reason why someone should trust my ability to help.

    I don't normally comment on things like this.
    However – as NLP has Neuro in the tile, when I ask an NLPer about the brain, they often cite the RAS- Reticular Activating System. When I ask them if they know what the Reticular formation is, where it is and what it ACTUALLY does (rather than what NLPer's say it does) – the result is normally silence or they say "well, do I need to know?" YES – if you're going to tell people about it!

    I switched my interest from NLP when I realised that NLP has no credibility with medical establishments and extremely few documented or repeatable evidence of health outcomes;
    whereas the interest and funding for CBT and MBCT is growing exponentially due to its researched and repeatable benefits.

    I have become very interested in the brain due to the volume of studies on brain changes from CBT and Mindfulness which show the actual changes in brain structure and function as a result of these 2 evidence based therapies.

    Personally, (and I don't claim to be a qualified medical practitioner of any kind although this is something I'm studying towards) I help people on a personal level with a sound understanding of the brain and body and also evidence based research to show people how they experience the world through their perception, physiology and the different brain regions which produce their thoughts and feelings and how changing different elements in this process has specific affects on their physiology and brain and thus their outcomes. I recently helped someone not commit suicide whilst she waited for qualified help, a year before their formal NHS appointment arrived. I don't blame the NHS, I blame the lack of funding for mental health.

    I think there is a place for NLP – the problem is the lack of standards for NLP and the difficulty showing credible evidence to the medical establishments.
    I've tried to be objective here, hope it helps