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  Introduction to NLP and Neuro-Semantics



"NLP is an attitude and a methodology that leaves behind a trail of techniques."(Richard Bandler)

For years I have been watching how some people excel more than others, and how some people just do not perform as well as they should. I have always been keen in finding something that I could use to be able to understand how some who excel function. And NLP seems to me to be the logical way to go. NLP can be expressed simply as a way of studying how people excel in their own field and teaching these patterns to others. 


Joseph O’Connor refers to NLP as both an art and a science of personal excellence. NLP is an art simply because it brings the unique style and personality of each individual to what they do. It is a science because it involves methods and processes use to discover patterns used by outstanding individuals in their related fields and how they have achieved remarkable results. The process is simply called modeling. The patterns and skills of NLP are used increasingly in counseling, education, health, business, sales and marketing for a more effective communication, personal and corporate success. 


Dr Michael Hall wrote what NLP is in its simplicity - 

What we call NLP is really the story of a new cutting-edge model about--

1. How to run your own brain. 
2. How to effectively represent your experiences. 
3. How to map the world of experiences that you've been through, that you think is possible to experience, and that you hope you will get to experience. 
4. How to take charge of your states. 
5. How to develop effective strategies for your everyday life.


"NLP May Be The Most
Powerful Vehicle For Change In
Existence!" —Modern Psychology 

"NLP has untapped potential for
treating individual problems….It has
metamorphosed into an all-purpose
self-improvement program and
technology." —Time 

"NLP could be the most important
synthesis of knowledge about human
communications to emerge since the
’60s." —Science Digest

NLP is also one that facilitates the process of understanding and modeling even your own success, so that you can have more of these successes in future. It is therefore a way to discover your personal ‘genius’, a way to bring out the best in yourself and even the best in others.

The success is also attributed to its practicality in developing excellent skills to create the results or outcomes that you choose, that you want… while creating value for others in the process. It is sometimes viewed as a study of what makes the distinction between being an average performer and an excellent one.

NLP develops a person in two main directions;
1. The process to discover patterns of excellence in any field.
2. The implementation of effective ways of thinking and communicating used by outstanding people.

So, why the abbreviation NLP - Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

‘Neuro’ relates to our autonomic nervous system. We acknowledge the simple idea that all behaviors shoot from the neurological processes of sight (visual process), sound (auditory process), touch and feel (kinesthetic process), smell (olfactory process), and taste (gustatory process). Hence we experience the outside world through these 5 senses; and we make sense of that external world and react on it. Our neurology can come from the invisible thought processes and also the visible physiological reactions to ideas and events. The neuro-linguistic state engages the body and mind as one interconnected and inseparable system. 

‘Linguistic’ refers to the symbols or words we use to set our thoughts in an order that generate a behavior or action as we communicate ourselves with the outside world. And these words mirror what's in our mind when we think.

‘Programming’ derives its origin from the field of computer science, which demonstrates the ways in which we choose to organize our ideas and actions to produce the results that we want. When we repeatedly run this program, it gets into our neurology and ultimately develops itself as a habit. We then see and move in the world with that 'program', that mental software....and we hear, feel, talk, behave and navigate the world with that ' ...filter...perceptual filter.'  


The good news is that it’s programmable and reprogrammable. You can change the program, the mental software that habituates and that runs at auto mode beyond our level of conscious awareness.  We can upgrade and also replace it with more resourceful programs to produce the results or outcomes that we choose. Yes, we can certainly upgrade them!  


So what happens when you upgrade the mental software? When you upgrade and change your 'program', you will change your experience.  That is also another reason why NLP is also referred to one that deals with the structure of human subjective experience. 


Dr Michael Hall wrote that NLP, as a model of human functioning, takes a very different attitude from some of the old psychologies. In NLP, we do not start from the assumption that people are broken. No. Instead, we assume the opposite-- that people work perfectly well, that they have all the resources that they need, and that the only problem isn't with them, but with their 'programming' or their 'frame'.

 Dr Michael Hall

When I read what Dr Michael Hall wrote, it reminds me of the Arabic word "Husnuzzon" - meaning "Bersangka-Baik" in the Malay language, or "Well Intention/thought/perception" in English, a value that is taught in the teachings of Islam.  A value and a principle that I believe works extremely well in dealing with people.


The founders of NLP are Richard Bandler and Dr John Grinder (a linguistic professor in the special area of tranformational grammar).  It was back in the mid-70s when Richard was then studying at the University of California at Santa Cruz that they started to work together.

They teamed up to see if they could figure out the magic of Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, two therapeutic wizards of the time. So there on the campus of the University, Richard used what he knew about patterns in mathematics and computers and John used what he knew about patterns in linguistics to create a model about the Perls and Satir model.


Neuro-Semantics is a newer development of NLP. It sets a new level of subjective experience. It is a model of how a human functions in the way he creates, uses and expresses meanings to his experience. We are a meaning-maker, are we not? How we attach meanings to our experience makes a lot of difference.  A difference that makes a difference. The meaning we create, we use and we express determines the quality of our performance, our relationship, our hope, our expectation, our success…our life.

Neuro-Semantics literally means mind-body where meanings (semantics) are embodied in our neurology.

Neuro-Semantics is also about three main things;
1. Living and performing at your highest and best meanings.
2. Adding richer and robust meanings to your performance.
3. Terminating old non-useful meanings.


The Neuro-Semantics model has its development generated from the field of the cognitive behavioural sciences. It also has its stem from developmental psychology, the neurosciences, general semantics, NLP, cognitive linguistics, cybernetics and system dynamics. It is an inter-disciplinary field.


The Meta-States model is a brainchild of Dr Michael Hall, the man who first developed this model in 1994. Since then it has placed NLP at yet a higher level of understanding and performance. Dr Michael Hall studied NLP from many sources including the co-founder Richard Bandler. Dr Michael Hall, who is a trained psychologist in the Cognitive-Behavioural Psychology, in his initial years of NLP wrote several articles for Richard Bandler. Dr Michael Hall is a prolific writer, developer, master trainer, researcher and a co-founder of the International Society of Neuro-Semantics (ISNS) based in Colorado, USA. He also co-founded the Meta-Coach Foundation (MCF) with Master Coach Michelle Duval and have trained hundreds of coaches around the world.

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