Simplified Neuro-Linguistic Programming for all!

Psychology has taken many advancements in the past 20-30 years, and one of the major branches that’s experimental, effective yet controversial is NLP – Neuro-Linguistic Programming. No matter how debated this methodology has been, its popularity and craze are because of its practicality and effectiveness. This technique of positively altering human emotions and behaviours was developed through converting sessions of learned and seasoned psychotherapist Virginia Satir into remarkably applicable methods. NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder through their careful listening and analysis of psychology session recordings of Virginia Satir. This blog post will support you to understand the basic principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to effectively and easily apply in your life. You will be able to overcome detrimental behaviour patterns and snap out of unproductive thoughts.

Basic of NLP: What is Internal Representation (or IR)?

Now as this gets interesting, you would be keen to know how it is possible to snap out of any emotion? As per NLP, every thought in our head is stored in the form of images and sounds. Our sensory organs receive stimuli from the outside world and send them to the brain, which then stores the outer experience inside our heads in the form of these images and sounds. These internalised images and sounds in the head are called an internal representation or an IR. Everything that is happening outside is stored in the memory in the form of an IR. Now that everything inside is already an IR, and both, the good and bad, memories are also an IR, which are nothing but images or sounds in our brain, then how about attempting to alter them? All emotions stem from our thoughts, if thoughts are calm our emotions will be peaceful, and if the thoughts are distressful, so will our emotional state be. What if we could change our thoughts, shift our IR and then change the very emotional state it brings? Yes, that’s true and is possible! People practising NLP are doing it every time of the day! They sit for a while in silence and analyse their internal representations for good.

How to change an internal representation?

It all begins with silence. Whenever you are in a distressful emotion, sit for a while in silence and focus on your thoughts. Every thought carries with it an internal representation. Catch hold of all the images, sounds and emotions brought by the distressful period and be aware of them. Now as you know everything inside our head is intangible and is simply a form of an image, go an attempt to change this image of distress into an image of peace. 


Let me give you an example: Nandini always gets into a depressive emotional state whenever she remembers how badly she was insulted in front of everyone by her teacher in school. That’s an emotionally significant event for her and every thought of that day makes her take a downturn. Not only this, all her life’s subsequent events are impacted and moulded by the emotional impact of this day. Anything done with happiness is more rewarding than actions taken in unpleasant emotional states. So Nandini used the techniques of NLP and sat with her eyes closed. She recollected clearly what happened on that day. Memories began to flush her conscious state. The most disturbing thought was when the teacher was shouting at her and everyone in the class made fun of her. As soon as those images and laughter sounds of classmates surround her mind, she changes her Internal Representation (IR) of the entire episode by superimposing a white screen on the image of classmates laughing. She imagines intensely increasing the whiteness of the screen so much so that the image of classmates laughing becomes fully one with the peaceful white screen.


Proceeding further, even though the image was now gone and nothing more than the white screen was visible in her imagination, the sound of laughter still bothered her. She proceeds by attempting to imagine the sound of laughter coming from a music system and puts an imaginary effort to turn down the volume wheel till the time there was no sound. The image stored in her head was now of a calming white screen and all sound to it was muted. The stressful IR was now that of a peaceful IR.

How did this simple imagination trick change IR and shifted the emotional state?

As everything is stored in the mind in terms of images and sounds and results in a certain emotional state. When that image itself changed, it resulted in an entirely different emotion. By changing the IR of distressful insult into a white peaceful screen without any sound, the emotional charge that was distressful earlier was finally released and Nandini was now neutral to the ugly classroom experience. As the emotional charge of the emotionally significant event subsidised, a calm and peaceful emotional state was brought out in the mind. Her mind now stored the distressful event through a peaceful white screen with no sound, rather than storing it in the form of a worrisome insulting image of the classroom as earlier. Like Nandini, you can try this trick on every negative thought and see the emotional state it then brings you. It might seem to be a magic trick, but try and you’ll see how beautifully it works by making you more peaceful and sorted. These were the basics of NLP and there is no way than practice to see its beautiful result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *