Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, is an offshoot of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy renowned for helping people make significant changes in a short time. Caroline Jago and Simon Pimenta, our resident hypnotherapists and life coaches here at Bellenden, tell us more about this unique approach.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?

Simon: Simply put, NLP is an approach that gives people the tools to become more effective and successful in their lives.

NLP is an offshoot of Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, developed by Drs Bandler and Grinder after they studied successful psychotherapists working in gestalt therapy, family systems therapy and clinical hypnosis. Bandler and Grinder aimed to discover and model the successful patterns of behavior and communication distinguishing these exceptional individuals from others in their field of therapy.

NLP has three components:

  • ‘Neuro’ relates to the way the brain interprets our experience of the world. We experience the world through our senses, which activates our brain and affects our physiology, emotions and behaviour. This occurs differently in all of us. For instance, if two people are given a menu, one may feel pleasure, while the other, a person who finds making decisions difficult, may start to panic, creating stress in their body.
  • ‘Linguistic’ relates to the idea that the way we use language influences our experience.
  • ‘Programming’ looks at the way we do things: how we learn, make decisions and get results. A computer uses different software packages to do different tasks; the brain does the same. Some of these software packages are highly effective, others less so.

What does an NLP session involve?

Caroline: I incorporate NLP techniques into either coaching or hypnotherapy sessions, rather than conducting pure NLP sessions. So it really depends on the person I am seeing and what they wish to achieve.

Simon: In a session, I help the person explore and understand the way they think and speak, and their beliefs and strategies for doing things. NLP, in conjunction with hypnotherapy and coaching, can then help them achieve the changes they want, by developing more useful and effective strategies.

What are the main benefits of NLP?

Caroline: It can remove limiting ideas you have about yourself and your abilities and help you overcome low confidence, destructive thought patterns, and poor self esteem. It can also enhance your senses and increase your self awareness. It has the potential to modify the way in which you think, feel, and behave in order to achieve your life goals.

Simon: NLP helps people get really clear about the way they generate unhelpful responses to situations and how to change these, using a practical set of tools.

What attracted you to become NLP practitioners?

Caroline: I learnt about NLP as part of my hypnotherapy and coaching training. NLP techniques are simple yet powerful, and so it is a very effective skill to have in one’s toolbox as both a therapist and a coach.

Simon: Having trained as a therapist, I discovered that NLP could help people make lasting change more rapidly.

What have been the highlights of your careers in NLP so far?

Simon: I had one session with a musician who had a lifelong phobia of flying, who was about to embark on a month long tour of the USA. His partner later called saying he was able to get on the plane, feeling completely relaxed, now confident about flying. He even sent me a picture of him in the cockpit of a small plane (see above).

I also worked with a client who had been left wheelchair-bound after drinking polluted water. She did a training programme based on NLP principles, hypnotherapy and coaching and on the second day of the training, walked into the clinic. The following weekend, she went skiing; a few months later, she went on a week long holiday in Northern Norway, travelling round on electric sledges for hours, looking for polar bears!

Caroline: I love seeing someone have a eureka moment as things suddenly ‘click’ into place, or they are freed from a limiting belief that has held them back for so long. The speed of change can be one of the most impressive things about NLP, and it is also really beneficial to be able to teach people techniques that they can take away and use any time they need to, so that they are not reliant on therapy.

And lastly, have you learned any conscious or unconscious strategies from practicing NLP that have been particularly useful in your own lives?

Simon: I have learned to identify habitual, unhelpful unconscious responses, stop them in their tracks and practice new responses to make them my new default. Using these tools, I was able to give a speech at my daughter’s wedding, feeling extremely relaxed and confident.

Caroline: Definitely! My favourite strategy is reframing, which is looking at a problem from a different perspective – perhaps even being able to see a positive side, or the potential for a way through what seemed like an impasse. I guess it is the NLP equivalent of the proverbial phrase ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’


Simon Pimenta BSc has worked as a Hypnotherapist, NeuroLinguistic Programming Practitioner and Life Coach since 2006. Simon is a Member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy. To find out more about the other therapies he offers visit our pages on Building Resilience Training, Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching.

Caroline Jago is a fully qualified and insured hypnotherapist and coach with a practitioner diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and an NLP Coaching Certificate from London Hypnotherapy Academy. She graduated with the academy’s Rising Star award for outstanding achievement. Caroline’s therapy sessions are always tailored to individual needs, and she aims to resolve issues in as few sessions as possible. To find out more about the other therapies she offers visit our pages on Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching.

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