NLP or Psychology?

A lot of people ask me what is the difference between an NLP practitioner and a Psychologist?…

There are of course many differences as well as similarities, but for today I wanted to look at the 5 differences between what I do and what psychologists do!

1. NLP is not a model of psycho-pathology (mental illness).

NLP makes no diagnoses about a person’s mental health or illness. It’s focus is purely on results.

I don’t care what ‘dis-ease’ you have, or what name you call it – all I am listening for or caring about is… does this get you the result you want? If it does – keep it. If it doesn’t – we need to change a strategy.

NLP proposes that people are not broken – they work perfectly to produce the results they are getting – even if the results are not desirable. So YES – you are PERFECTLY doing a strategy to get results. We might need to change the strategy to get a different result, but there is nothing broken or wrong with what you are doing.

If a person doesn’t like the results they are getting, NLP provides tools to help them get the results they desire.

2. The Parts Model

Traditional psychology divides the mind into three essential partitions. The id, the ego and the super ego. While not all branches of psychology ‘buy’ this tripartite model, it remains the central and most widely used model in psychological literature and practice.

NLP also has a ‘parts model’, but it is metaphorical, positive and extensible. Originally modeled on the work of Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls in the 1970’s — NLP proposes that internal ‘parts’ should be understood and utilized metaphorically rather than as literal fact.

Most of us have heard the expression, “Part of me wants to do this, and part of me wants to do that.” In NLP this is called “parts incongruity.”

No part of us is considered dark or evil in NLP. Every part has a positive intention and a useful purpose, even if it is presently trying to fulfill its intention in a problematic way. Additionally, new parts can be created as needed and old parts can be changed or merged with ease.

3. NLP is Efficient

NLP declines to pursue unresolvable cause-effect question/answer sequences, such as, “Why? …Because. …Why? …Because. …Why? …Because…” …ad infinitum – since for every answer to “why”, the question “why?” can be applied again. There is literally no end to such cause-effect sequences, and thus no satisfying resolution. With a few very specific exceptions, NLP prefers to ask more useful questions such as, “How? What? When? Where? and Who?” The result is an efficiency in process that cannot be approached by modalities that remain concept-bound by cause-effect thinking.

NLP does not take long personal histories from clients for the purpose of causal analysis. NLP considers that to be an essentially expensive waste of time.

NLP does work with personal history when appropriate – directly, as it is presently coded in a person’s mind. NLP has powerful tools a person can use, if they desire, to make positive changes in their ongoing experience of personal history and its meaning, experientially imprinted patterns, and other historically limiting factors – without drugs, hypnosis, or years of analysis.

4. Different Definitions of “Behaviour”

NLP does not share the same definition of “behaviour” with psychology.

“NLP includes within its descriptive vocabulary terms which are not directly observable.” — Bandler, Grinder, Dilts, DeLozier, “NLP, vol. 1,” 1980.

In other words, “Just because they can’t see it, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing it or experiencing it.”

And, “Just because they can’t reproduce it, that doesn’t mean it didn’t work for you.”

In NLP, behaviours include thought structures like beliefs and values, patterns and sequences of cognition, memory, sensory representation, linguistic structures in thinking, etc., none of which can be directly observed externally, nor can their effects be directly, causally connected with measurable external observations. Yet no reasonable person would deny the importance and meaning of such internal experiences.

5. Psychology has no explicit integration or resolution process.

In psychology, integration and resolution are left to non-specific processes. As a result, many psychotherapy patients complain that their sessions lack structure; that they go in, let their thoughts wander for 50 minutes, and leave without any sense of progress; then they repeat this ritual for an indeterminate amount of time, sometimes lasting 10 years or more.

Often, after years of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or psycho-pharmaceutical treatment, while problems may have been explored and brought to conscious awareness, or at least treated to reduce their effects, a person is still left with ongoing patterns, which resulted from their cause. Resolution is often left unfinished.

This is not to say that traditional psychological models are useless or unhelpful. Many people have been greatly helped by them, and I would encourage anyone to explore them if that is their interest. But there is so much more that can be accomplished in far less time.

For those who have already invested in psychotherapy for a number of years, NLP can be an important finishing or resolution process when psychotherapy has concluded or reached a point of diminishing returns.

Source: In order to answer your questions in the easiest fashion possible, I took some of the information from the following website, which I think explains NLP and psychology really well:

To Your Success!

Natasha Althoff Signature


p.s. – Love to hear how this has helped in your riding decisions

p.p.s. – If you are a Dream Team member, or a Riding Success Program member, click here to read about stepping outside of your comfort zone. For more information on how to become a member of the Dream Team click here.