Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy

Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt) is a systemic imaginative method of psychotherapy with an integrative-cognitive approach.
The principal idea of Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt) is the goal-orientated work with a person paying particular regard to his/her representation systems, metaphors and relation matrices.
In the course of the therapeutical work in NLPt the verbal and analogue shaping and the integration of the expressions of one’s life and digital information processes is given an equal share of attention.
The aim of the method consists in accompanying and giving support to human beings so that they can obtain ecologically compatible goals. Further the method helps to position the subjectively good intentions underlying the symptoms of illness and/or dysfunction so that old fixations about inner and outer unproductive behaviour and beliefs can be dissociated and new subjectively and intersubjectively sound behaviours and beliefs can be established and integrated.
Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt) as a method of personal development and communication training (NLP) is of course to be found in many other fields: education, counselling, supervision, coaching, management training, sport and health psychology. But as a method of psychotherapy it has a clearly distinguished, theoretically and methodologically elaborated core and wide application scope even though it originally was established in an “anti-psychotherapeutic subculture”.

In this context it is linked to a single, pair or group therapeutical setting. Within the framework of the psychotherapeutic contract, a protective frame, and professional discretion, the focus is turned to the achievement of goals in health and well being.
NLPt developed independently with reference to the basic elements created by Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls in the 60s and 70s. Because of the acceptance of NLP and NLPt concepts by other psychotherapy schools in the 90s as well as of the creation of a holographically integrative NLPt theory, an average well educated and specialized public often happens to forget – due to an understandable political positioning of the established associations’ interests in the face of younger schools – that NLPt was successfully passed on over three generations of psychotherapists, and that the theory of this method – compared to other schools – has an even longer tradition which is now well established and practiced whole over Europe.

The formation of the Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt) is based on five traditional theories that were created at different historical moments, which are complementary to each other, and it is based on an assumption resulting from the modelling process:

1. The Cybernetics of the Theory of the Mind by Gregory Bateson, in particular of the logical levels of Learning and of the Unified Field Theory as a further development by Robert Dilts.

2. The social-cognitive Theory of Learning by Albert Bandura together with the Modelling Approach, improved in practice by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.

3. The Transformational Grammar established by Noam Chomsky and the postulates advanced by Alfred Korzybski’s concept of time binding, and Glasersfeld’s, which served as a basis and influenced the linguistic models developed by Bandler and Grinder.

4. The assumption of a fundamental orientation of human action towards goals (Pribram, Galanter, Miller, TOTE, 1960)

5. The theoretical writings of William James emphasizing the inherent sensory representation systems as basic elements of information processing and of subjective experience.

6. The assumption of the existence of functional and independent parts of one’s identity encompassing conscious and unconscious process elements, resulting from the practice of modelling the works of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson.

On the basis of these theories and assumptions as well as of the generatively designed modelling processes the NLPt range is laid out as an open architecture that may becomes wider because of new developments from ongoing practical work.

Similarities to and differences from other methods:

First, from a pragmatic point of view it has to be said, that the phenomenon of an intensive exchange of psychotherapists, representatives of the various psychotherapeutical orientations, can be observed at present in part also due to presentations/trainings of NLPt in Central and Western Europe.

Secondly, the actual, practical work of well trained psychotherapists relying on traditionally opposed theory concepts moves closer and closer.

In this context it should be clearly stated that the qualified psychotherapeutical work, performed in all psychotherapeutical associations in Central Europe is highly appreciated.

A detailed comparison between NLPt an other schools and a research biblographiy can be found at


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.