Talk:Neuro-linguistic programming

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Former featured article candidateNeuro-linguistic programming is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
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January 29, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
May 17, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
December 28, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
February 5, 2007Peer reviewReviewed
December 12, 2007Good article nomineeNot listed
November 29, 2012Peer reviewReviewed
Current status: Former featured article candidate

This article is dismissive of the inevitable and existing successes of NLP[edit]

NLP is an umbrella term for many (hundreds of) practices, which is why denouncing it as a whole in this article is severely inappropriate and biased. Studies such as one published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research found psychotherapy patients with an improvement in their symptoms and quality of life following NLP treatment, noticeably different from the control group. There is a limited amount of research done on NLP compared to established therapies- therefore it is not accurate to claim it is completely ineffective. Changing the way that people think about things is inevitably going to work for some, even from the standpoint of PLACEBO. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Astrologers use the same reasoning. Astrology cannot be refuted because you always refute only those astrologers who participated in the study, and their specific methods. But unfalsifiability is not a good property for a serious worldview to have. The burden of proof is on the NLP side.
Independent of that, you need reliable sources making this argument about NLP, otherwise the article cannot talk about it. --Hob Gadling (talk) 15:30, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

HeartfeltRationalism (talk) 15:43, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Which is why I included a study in the above comment... I have also now added an edit request with multiple credible referencesReply[reply]

  • What I think should be changed:

"There is no scientific evidence supporting the claims made by NLP advocates"(subtract) (add into the introduction) "NLP is an umbrella term for hundreds of techniques and practices. Some of which, such as reframing- otherwise called 'cognitive reappraisal' (The reframing of stimuli and experiences) are also used in [behavioral therapy|Cognitive Behavioral Therapy] (CBT). "Cognitive reappraisal, is one powerful way of skillfully nudging your emotions back toward baseline" [1] Cognitive reappraisal has been found "one of the most effective strategies for emotion regulation. [2]. Another proven technique often used by NLP practitioners is Anchoring. The anchoring effect is one of the most robust cognitive heuristics. [3]

Studies such as one published in the journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research found psychotherapy patients with an improvement in their symptoms and quality of life following NLP treatment, noticeably different from the control group. There is a limited amount of research done on NLP compared to established therapies- therefore it is not accurate to claim it is completely ineffective, especially considering its breath of different techniques.

  • Why it should be changed: This request asks that false statements be removed and some information added for a more balanced, non-biased article. As already mentioned in the talk section by another user: "one of the sited studies in the introduction appear to cover the breadth of NLP and meet the correlational (observational and non-experimental) requirement. In an absence of properly performed studies by unconflicted researchers, the general claim that NPL is pseudoscience is likely a simple attempt to discredit the technique and bias the reader*, and thus inappropriate here on Wikipedia." I suggest at the very least SOME additions and edits that will be more appropriate for this article. Likely to update with more information at a future point.

HeartfeltRationalism (talk) 15:35, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Barlow, D.W. et al. (2011). Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders: Therapist Guide. London: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Webb, Thomas; Miles, Eleanor; Sheeran, Paschal (2012). "Dealing with feeling: A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of strategies derived from the process model of emotion regulation". Psychological Bulletin. 138 (4): 775–808.
  3. ^ Furnham, A., & Boo, H. C. (2011). A literature review of the anchoring effect. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 40(1), 35–42.‌
 Not done for now: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 15:37, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WP:PRIMARY studies are not good enough. There are primary studies claiming that sugar which has undergone a magic ritual (homeopathy) helps against illnesses, and anyone who concludes that homeapthy works because of those does not understand how science works. Same here. You need WP:SECONDARY sources that are good enough to cancel the existing ones saying the opposite.
Also, integrating a few useful ideas into a pseudoscience does not turn them magically into science. --Hob Gadling (talk) 17:29, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have referenced Zaharia et al below as an example of a secondary source meta-analysis for the effectiveness of NLP. Mekaneeky (talk) 23:42, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

“A few useful ideas” you mean repeatedly proven practical techniques used in respected therapies such as CBT? (Also a collection of various concepts).. Therapies are rarely ever one concept or science, they are often interwoven and take contribution from other fields HeartfeltRationalism (talk) 12:13, 22 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When you mix "repeatedly proven practical techniques" with pseudoscience, fantasy and superstition, you get pseudoscience. Like mixing apple pie and cow pie: cow pie wins.
Listen, this is is Wikipedia. If you want to change the article to say NLP is science, you need reliable secondary sources saying NLP is science. --Hob Gadling (talk) 14:32, 22 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The suggested change appears to violate WP:MEDRS. XOR'easter (talk) 16:39, 22 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
HeartfeltRationalism, while those aspects that you mentioned are definitely supported by significant scientific evidence, what is needed if we're going to remove that statement is reliable secondary sources showing that NLP as a whole is supported by science. If you'd like more information about what that term means in the context of health-related content on Wikipedia, see WP:MEDSCI (and the other sections on that page). Secondly, you are requesting that information is added about the components of NLP that are supported by evidence. If we do that, then in the interests of accurately representing the evidence, we will also need to include information about each unsupported or disproven component of NLP - and at that point, it's too much detail for the lead section and would need to be moved into the body of the article. That is definitely an option, but it still won't lead to a change in the statement you requested to have removed, unless reliable secondary sources exist to support that change. --Xurizuri (talk) 06:09, 24 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is literally a mountain of academic research on NLP which supports the ethos and practice of NLP, it is a threat to psychology, psychiatry and other bodies of knowledge so be aware of who is writing and adding this information WilCC (talk) 23:56, 14 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If that is true, then please provide us with any number of sources from literal 'mountain of academic research'. MrEarlGray (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is NLP Pseudoscience[edit]

I almost split a gut when I read the lead paragraph of this article claiming, wiithout qualification, that NLP is pseudoscience. Well, I know better than to battle the religious ultra rationalists on Wikipedia so all I will do is say that Richard Bandler bragged that he could commit murder with an eye witness and get off using NLP on a jury then BANDLER COMMITTED MURDER WITH AN EYE WITNESS AND GOT OFF USING NLP ON A JURY. Pseudoscience works! Ronald Joe Record (talk) 03:48, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Or, maybe it was the 80s, and the jury just went with the testimony of the white guy over the cocaine dealer. Either way, Richard Bandler does not come out of it looking like the kind of guy your would listen to for advice. Iskandar323 (talk) 04:11, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are at least three other things wrong with this:
  1. Wikipedia will not say someone committed murder when he was acquitted.
  2. Courts of law do not decide whether is something is science.
  3. Conclusions drawn by Wikipedia users are not reliable sources. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:17, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I’m a humanist, so you’re so wide of the mark it’s hilarious. Of course it’s a pseudoscience. Demonstrate it’s a science by the same standard as physics, biology, chemistry, etc. if you’re so sure. Ambitus (talk) 08:30, 20 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I disagree with the premise, psychology in general does not hold the same experimental rigor as Physics/Chemistry. NLP should be held to a similar standard to psychology, and to similar treatments that are not considered pseudoscience such as CBT.
It is easy to prove that at least some of the interventions devised by NLP are valid (as NLP is both a framework for modelling behaviour and a collection of techniques that were developed from this framework). To take one technique called "Visual Kinesthetic Dissociation" here is some of the peer-reviewed research done on this technique found by a simple google scholar search
Additionally, there have been statistical studies of the effectiveness of NLP that found its effect to be positive on patient/client well-being. For example, Zaharia el al performs a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of NLP as a form of therapy and finds evidence for it, there are other studies which reach different conclusions. However, my premise is that since NLP has backing with scientific peer reviewed work, then it shouldn't be considered a pseudoscience. Mekaneeky (talk) 23:34, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pfft. Homeopathy has backing with scientific peer reviewed work too. With several meta-analyses in favor of it. Only, it turned out their methodology was faulty, as is common with science done by pseudoscience proponents. Unless that paper has gained traction and you can supply non-NLP sources agreeing with it, we have more than enough other sources to override that one.
That meta-analysis has to convince enough people to turn around the scientific consensus before we say that scientific consensus has changed. Let's wait until then. WP:NODEADLINE. It's only been seven years since it came out. --Hob Gadling (talk) 05:51, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Having a degree in Behavioral Psychology as well as having attended NLP practitioner trainings; I know that in fact, NLP trainings and practitioners use behavioral observation similar to that used in Behavioral Psychological. Yet, on a subtler or finer level of physiological observation.

In behavioral psychology, observations are made regarding a target behavior that is going to be increased or decreased using positive or negative reinforcement patterns or schedules of reinforcement. The important point being, that these behaviors are defined in a way that two observers can agree on the target behavior using objective, sensory terms, of physical behavior.

A trained NLP Practitioner uses observation of physiology, and two observers use those physical observations, and can agree upon those observations in doing change work.

In NLP this is called “state.” In behavioral psychology this is called “desired behavior.”

One difference between Behavioral Psychology and Neuro Linguistic Programming, is that Behavioral Psychology only defines and observes external physical behavior. Where NLP observes a persons external physiology(state), as well as considers a persons internal experience or their subjective experience, through the own persons feedback.

If someone is in a state of joy, their physiology traits will be quite different than when observed in a state of panic or fear.

So because, objective, sensory observation is used in NLP. And these observations can be agreed upon using sensory terms between two observers; NLP is science based, not a pseudoscience, period.

The same stimulus response mechanisms taught in Behavioral psychology using a Skinner Box, are also used in NLP, but on a subtler level of peoples internal processes.

Since internal processes are subjective, NLP let’s the individuals subjectivity be interpreted and codified by the individual, using sub-modalities, such as the location of a feeling, the temperature or size of a feeling. NLP Isn’t a philosophy as such; but an experiential process. And it’s basic practices have roots in observation of physiological traits and uses a person’s physiology as a determinant, to apply treatment. Also, it uses physiological observation to determine successful outcomes or target states.

Indieside (talk) 17:40, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
None of this can be used for improving the article. This is not a forum. --Hob Gadling (talk) 17:58, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Complete quotation from Sturt et al[edit]

A more complete and appropriate quote than: 'A systematic review of experimental studies by Sturt et al (2012) concluded that "there is little evidence that NLP interventions improve health-related outcomes."[53]' is: 'A systematic review of experimental studies by Sturt et al (2012) concluded that "there is little evidence that NLP interventions improve health-related outcomes. This conclusion reflects the limited quantity and quality of NLP research, rather than robust evidence of no effect."'

There is much more to say about this particular treatment of "NLP" -- I have concluded from above that to continue would be like "pissing into the wind." I expect more "None of this can be used for improving the article. This is not a forum. --Hob Gadling (talk) 17:58, 25 September 2022 (UTC)" response. The Sturt et al (2012) [53] reference [1] is clearly a more objective assessment. (talk) 16:13, 12 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

contradiction of the Christian view. The Bible says man is a sinner and is saved by God's grace alone[edit]

Bovbjerg's secular critique of NLP is echoed in the conservative Christian perspective of the New Age as represented by Jeremiah (1995)[107] who argues, "The 'transformation' recommended by the founders and leaders of these business seminars [such as NLP] has spiritual implications that a non-Christian or new believer may not recognise. The belief that human beings can change themselves by calling upon the power (or god) within or their own infinite human potential is a contradiction of the Christian view. The Bible says man is a sinner and is saved by God's grace alone.[citation needed] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A601:AD9D:B700:8855:9BBF:D04:69AB (talk) 03:27, 20 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]