hack – verb. (Computers) to devise or modify (a computer program), usually skilfully.”

neuro-linguistic hacker – noun. (Psychology) a person capable of reprogramming [their own and] other peoples minds with verbal streams of data [specific patterns of language and behaviour]…” (Neil Stephenson – Snow Crash).

Inspired by Neil Stephenson’s book Snow Crash, I have recently started describing myself as a Neuro-Linguistic Hacker rather than a Neuro-Linguistic Programmer.

what’s the difference between a neuro-linguistic programming and neuro-linguistic hacking?

Richard Bandler (the co-creator of NLP) explains that NLP was specifically developed to study (model) the strategies (programmes) of others to help people learn new ways of doing things (re-programme ourselves). So for example, when Bandler was looking at ways to “cure” phobias, he found people who had cured their own phobias, learnt how they did it and then taught that to people with phobias. The result become formalised as the “Fast Phobia Cure”.

Neuro Linguistic Hackers uses the principles of NLP to “hack” their own brains, but rather than using someone else programmes, they create our own.

Neuro Linguistic Hackers are also adept at implanting a “thought virus” into the minds of other people.

Whereas NLP is remedial in nature (problem solving), NLH is generative (creating new, more effective ways of thinking, acting and communicating).

But NLH is more than that. Ideologically, NLH takes NLP back to its roots of exploration, fun and creativity, escaping from the overly formulaic and restrictive nature of the what NLP has become. It is a reaction to the attempts to overly mollycoddle and tie NLP into a formal framework, strangling it of it’s innovation and resourcefulness.

To learn more about Neuro Linguistic Hacking, how it can help you and how you can become a Neuro Linguistic Hacker please go to


Below is a list of my upcoming 2011 training dates. This year I am doing things a little differently…

In a previous post here, I talked about keeping it simple, and, taking my own advice, I have reorganised how I present my trainings. They will now be split into qualification trainings, that offer specific NLP qualifications, and Master Classes that are seminars and workshops focusing on a specific area of NLP or associated fields.

For more details please click here to visit the Master Class page.

In addition, I have re-launched and completely updated my Business Practitioner of NLP training programme, this is thoroughly unique training, taking NLP for business in a new direction.

The dates for 2011 are:

nlp practitioner training

spring module 1: 06 – 08 May
spring module 2: 20 – 22 May

autumn module 1: 30 Sept – 02 Oct
autumn module 2: 07- 09 Oct

An NLP Practitioner is someone who has learned to use the attitudes, principles and techniques of NLP as they are intended to be used, by its creator, for themselves and with others.

For more information on this course, click here.

This course carries certification from the Society of NLP

master practitioner training

module 1: 10 – 13 Jun
module 2: 24 – 27 Jun

A MASTER Practitioner of NLP is someone who has mastered the creative and innovative applications of the principles and methodology of NLP. They are highly skilled communicators, able to easily change their own behaviours and those of others.

For more information on this course, click here.

This course carries certification from the Society of NLP

business practitioner of nlp

spring module 1: 08 – 11 Apr
spring module 2: 15 – 18 Apr

autumn module 1: 09 – 12 Sept
autumn module 2: 23 – 26 Sept

A Business Practitioner of NLP is someone who has learned to apply the attitude, skills and methodology to the NLP in a corporate environment.

For more information on this course, click here.

This course carries certification from the Society of NLP

master class series

My NLP Master Classes are one and two day workshops and seminars on a particular area of NLP or associated fields. They are designed for someone already experienced in NLP to deepen and broaden their knowledge and skill.

1-day workshops are £97 + VAT
2-day workshops are £149 + VAT
3-day workshops are £199 + VAT

To book on any of these workshops, please click here.

developing your dynamic voice – 05 feb

A good communicator takes responsibility for all nuances of their communication. Yet, it astounds me how many professional communicators and NLPers pay very little attention to the quality of their speaking voice. In this workshop you will understand how the voice works, as well as go through vocal warm up exercises to help you improve the quality of your voice.

business applications of nlp – 05-06 Mar

NLP strategies are becoming more and more prevalent in the business world and learning to apply the attitude, skills and methodology to the NLP in a corporate environment can drastically increase your

If you have no NLP training or experience you can elect to do you Business
Practitioner as part of our flagship Practitioner training.

psykologika esoterika – 02 Apr

Let me take you on a strange journey into the weirder side of psychological understanding…

An entertaining day of using NLP and hypnosis for fun (and profit!). These impressive skills are not magic tricks, they are applications of psychological techniques, including NLP and hypnosis for entertainment purposes.

coaching applications of nlp – 04 – 05 Jun

More and more individuals and businesses are asking for coaching and the growth of coaching companies is dramatically increasing. If you are already an NLP Practitioner or Master Practitioner, you can do a 2-day “fast-track” training to become a licensed NLP Coach.

business building training – 03 – 04 Sept

Go from Business “Novice” to Professional Practitioner in Just 2 Days.
In this Master Class you will be taken step-by-step through the process that will take you from scratch to having a complete business and marketing plan in JUST 2 days!

mindfulness and nlp – 22 -23 Oct

Mindfulness is a HOT topic right now, with Mindfulness Based CBT becoming one of the most sought -after therapeutic applications of the moment.

Mindfulness and NLP go hand in hand and by learning about Mindfulness you can improve your own NLP skills and have additional approaches that can improve your success rate with clients.

supervision days

2 July
26 Nov

Supervision days are a loose and relaxed day of practicing and revising the skills you have learned on your NLP training so far. Before each day I send out a question to find out what it is you want to practice in the day.

remember: these works assume a working knowledge of NLP, although you do not need to have a formal qualification in NLP to attend, it is essential that you have some experience or my find it will all go over your head. If you are unsure please contact me to have a chat about it.

To book on any of these workshops, please click here.


NLP Training Demystified
In a previous blog entry (you can read it here) I talked about how NLP has grown beyond a single field of study and likened it to the lineages found in martial arts.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of companies offering NLP training in the UK, each one is different to the next, with different styles and bias’s. With that much choice, how do you know which one is right for you?

Every NLP training company offers slightly different trainings and what suits you will come down to your personal preferences. With so many companies offering NLP trainings the good thing is you have a wealth of choice available to you, the bad thing is, to the newcomer to NLP, it can be a huge and confusing field and it is very difficult to find all the information to make the right decision about which training to book on.

With so many different styles and types of training out there, it is ESSENTIAL that you do your research before booking on a course, rather than just booking on the first one you find on Google (of the people I meet who were unhappy with their NLP training, I hear the same thing again and again – they just booked on the first one they found, or the most convenient, or the cheapest and gave no thought to quality or style of the training).

I am realistic and recognise that the course I run is not going to be for everyone, or maybe you live in a part of the world where it is just not possible to attend one of my trainings!

So to help you make the right decision, here are a suggested six steps for you to follow:

1) Start With Your Outcome in Mind

It is important that you have an idea of what you want to achieve from your training. Having a purpose will help you get the most out of NLP and help you to find the right NLP course for you – one that will help you to get what you want.

Do you want to use NLP predominantly in a business setting? Are you interested personal development? Do you want to start your own coaching or therapy practice (or already involved in coaching or therapy and want to add NLP to your skill base)?

2) Do Your Homework

It’s useful to understand something about NLP in advance of looking for a trainer. Having a basic knowledge of the subject will make it easier to select the trainer that can deliver what you want to get out of NLP. Be careful, however, to avoid “making up your mind” about what NLP actually “is” just by reading a few books before you attend a training. It is much harder to undo a misconception and keep an open mind (which is essential during an NLP training) and you may miss out on valuable information because it does not match your preconceptions.

3) Choose the Right Structure for You

There is no “standard” way to train NLP and each training company will have a different delivery style. It is important that you decide what style suits you best. Some things you are may want to consider are:

  • Do you like the idea of watching DVD’s and listening to CD’s before you attend the course, or does the idea of having to do all that pre-work turn you off?
  • Do you want to learn lots of prescriptive techniques or do you prefer a free-form training where you will be able to develop your own ideas, techniques and processes?
  • Do you want to get the training done in “one hit” or do you think you will be better suited spreading  (Maybe your diary doesn’t allow one of these options)?
  • Do you want to attend a larger group training where you will be able to remain somewhat anonymous or you do you want a smaller training with lots of hands on support?

4) What is Your Budget?

There isn’t a fixed price for NLP training and you can find training courses that offer exactly the same qualification for wildly different prices.

There is no correlation between the training fee and the quality of the course. Often the price of the course will be affected by things outside of the training – cost of the venue, how much the company spends on marketing, etc.

You will often pay more for an experienced trainer, but that is not strictly the case. I have seen two very experienced and respected NLP trainers offer their practitioner training for £999, and I have seen unknown, inexperienced trainers charge in excess of £2000!

5) The Most Important Element: Finding the Right Trainer for You

In NLP, the most important part of the training is not the qualification, or the qualifying body, or the length, cost, location or date of the course. It is the trainer.

Sadly, it is quite possible to do your Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer qualification and set yourself up as an NLP trainer in as little as a few months, without every gaining any real practical NLP experience. So it is important to check the trainers experience and credentials to teach what they do.

Don’t just believe the marketing blurb on their website. Although it is illegal to lie about what you have done, can do and offer, it is common for NLP trainers to embellish such things as a their experience and length of time they have been training.

Make sure they have actually USED NLP in the setting in which they train it. For example, I have known several “Business NLP trainers” who have little or even no business experience…

6) Create a Shortlist

The obvious starting point for any search nowadays is the internet; you go to your favourite search engine and type in the criteria that you want.

The problem with relying on the internet is that the training companies who appear at the top of the search engines aren’t necessarily the best trainers, they are just the ones that have spent the most money on marketing.

Don’t give in after page one, take your time to look through some of the listings further down as well. Armed with the information we have covered you should be able to create a reasonably short list of “possibles”…

Compare the trainer’s approaches and speak with them via telephone or email. Assure yourself that you are making the right decision and the best investment of your time and money.

If you want to learn much more about NLP qualifications, trainings and how to go about choosing the right one for you, I have written a Kindle report  “NLP Training Demystified” that includes:

  • The 3 worst reasons to choose an NLP training
  • The 3 most common misconceptions about NLP training
  • Details of each of the qualifying bodies (as best as I can research!)
  • An expanded suggested process of how to choose the right training for you
  • A list of essential questions to ask the training company
  • An important checklist of information you MUST know before you book on a training
  • What to do during a training to make sure you get the best from the training
  • What do to if you are unhappy with the training

You can get you copy on Amazon for just £1/$1. UK here. US here.

I once heard a well-respected and experienced trainer discussing how he could not find “authentic NLP” anywhere, he also once suggested that Bandler and Grinder didn’t really understand fully what they had stumbled upon when they discovered NLP.

I think he is partially right on the second point, which makes the first complaint about the lack of authentic NLP somewhat of a red herring. Bandler and Grinder were just excited about what they had discovered and had this bunch of stuff, they then retroactively named and tried to define what they had found. Because of this NLP has always lacked a succinct definition and pretty much every NLPer will define NLP in a different way.

I quite like that…

3rd generation nlp

Robert Dilts considers that we are now in the “3rd generation” of NLP where the “model” has gone beyond a small controlling group and has now spread far and wide, it is used in pretty much all aspects of modern life, from therapy to sales to teaching to sports to personal development…the list goes on.

(I wonder if Bandler and Grinder, when they developed NLP back in the mid 70’s ever thought it would become such a huge creature that would break away form its creators like a rebellious teenage Frankenstein monster?)

With NLP spreading way beyond the original small group of creators, I now think it is time to look at the idea of “authentic” NLP in a different way.

There is no longer just “one type” of NLP. The problem with this is that is as meant the NLP scene can appear a chaotic and terrible muddle.

Having sat back and observed the ructions, spats, disagreements and outright hostility between different NLPers (and having, foolishly, gotten involved on several occasions and been unfairly mean about certain trainers – for those that I have been mean about I offer a full and public apology right here, it was wrong of me, I was naïve and full of self importance…), I have always found it hard to explain or justify to people new to NLP how all this bickering and aggression has filled a field that holds communication, flexibility and “relativism” as some of it’s basic tenants.

More than once I have come across someone who said they were interested in NLP, but put off by the aggression shown by one NLPer to another.

a solution?

So, here I offer a perspective that may help heal some wounds in the NLP world for the good of everyone!

In this post, I put forward the idea that NLP wasn’t a science, nor does it need to be. I discussed how it is advantageous to consider NLP as a craft, or better still, a discipline and likened it to a martial art.

We can expand this analogy of NLP as a martial art to discuss the concept of “authentic” NLP. If you have studied martial arts, you will probably recognise this idea, if you haven’t I will do my best to explain it.

Of course, you will probably think of lots of different analogies, maybe some that you understand more (or even fit better with the idea I putting across), I am picking martial arts for 2 reasons; 1) it fits with my original discussion and 2) I know quite a bit about martial arts!


In most martial arts, the importance of lineage is highly valued; the idea that you can trace your teachings back, in an uninterrupted line, to the “source” of that martial art. For more modern martial arts, the source can be quite easily recognised, for others, this true source is often lost in the sands of time and has become a myth. The idea is to trace it back as far as you can…

The idea of lineage is important in many different martial art styles; karate, kung fu, tai chi, even boxing has a lineage of sorts.

For the sake of this example, I am going to use Tai Chi, just because it is the martial art that I know the most about (at this time).

In Tai Chi, you have several different styles or lineages. The lineages often come from a break away from an earlier lineage. So for example you have the Wu style, the Chen style, the Yang style, etc. Each one is different from the next, but all have shared core methodologies with each other and can be traced back to the “source”.

It is important to stress at this point, no lineage is fundamentally “better” or “worse” than another. They are different, and which one you may choose to study depends on your personal preferences and interests and outcomes. People may try one or more styles until they settle on the one they feel most comfortable with.

We can use the same idea to look at the current major qualifying bodies in NLP and consider them as different lineages of the same art. They are different, and have different styles, ways of doing things, and place more importance on certain things.

But one lineage is not better (or worse) than any other, just different, and each lineage suits different people (most probably the reason the splits occurred in the first place?).

If different lineages can exist side by side in different martial arts (with, admittedly, a little bickering from time to time), then surely the different lineages in NLP can co-exist?

NLP celebrates difference. It is the “study of subjective experience” after all. It should recognise that one style or lineage is no better (or worse) than another, just different and suits different people.

I make the attempt here on my website, and on my trainings, to make it clear what “lineage” of NLP I do and who would suit it, I am endeavouring to be as transparent as possible so that people choose the “best fit” for themselves.

I have heard complaints about certain NLP companies, and often these complaints come down the trainee picking a “lineage” they weren’t comfortable with. Easily done with the current state of NLP.

what are the major lineages in nlp?

Let’s look at the major “lineages” of NLP (that I have discovered). I have split these into each major qualifying body. These are listed in no particular order.

the american board of nlp (ABNLP)

current lead trainer: Tad James

what they say: “Founded by Dr. A. M. Krasner as an adjunct to the American Board of Hypnotherapy. We believe in NLP and we believe in Hypnosis as being most excellent ways of creating our own personal growth and development.”

training style: Minimum of 120 hours of training – Most commonly 7 days face-to-face training combined with pre-course audio study.

international institute for humanistic neuro linguistic psychology (INHNLP)

current lead trainers: John Overdurf & Julie Silverthorn

what they say: “INHNLP’s mission is to provide a network for collaboration, mentorship and research for certified NLP & HNLP Trainers who embrace Humanistic and spiritual values in their work and their lives.”

training style: Minimum of 130 hours of training – Most commonly 7 days face-to-face training combined with pre-course audio study.

the internationa nlp trainers association (INLPTA)

current lead trainer: Wyatt Woodsmall

what they say: “Founded in 1993, the INLPTA is an international world-wide active NLP-Trainer and NLP-Coach Association dedicated to quality, professionalism and ethics. Our focus is on the application of NLP in the business world and in personal development.”

training style: Minimum 130 hours tuition over a period of 15 to 18 days (used to be 21 days) formal face-to-face training.

society of nlp (SNLP)

current lead trainer: Richard Bandler

what they say: “The Society of NLP was formed in 1979 by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (the co-creators of NLP). It is the first and largest NLP certification, training, validation and quality control organisation in the world.”

training style: Typically 6 to 7 days face-to-face training

international trainers academy of nlp (ITA)

current lead trainer: John Grinder

what they say: “The ITA was set up to ensure member trainers run quality courses that create competent practitioners. This means having high standards and effective assessment procedures at NLP courses.”

training style: Can be 8 days face-to-face training combined with DVD home study. Usually 13-14 Days face-to-face training.

If you have trained with any of these different “lineages” and would like to discuss more details about each one, or if you think I have missed a “lineage” out, please leave a comment below.