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After obtaining a Master in Cognitive Science from the department of Psychology from the K.U.Leuven in Belgium (one of Europe's oldest universities) in 1992, I got interested in the field of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), and made that the area of my PhD research.

The aim of my PhD was to respond to the (valid) criticism that NLP research often lacks scientific proof, especially when seen through the research methodology now used in psychology.

I set up an NLP inspired modeling and research approach which adheres to the principles set out for medical statistics and statistics as used in the field of Psychology. I applied my methodology to Whiplash and adult learning. The Whiplash research projects resulted in a peer reviewed paper in a journal of Insurance Medicine. The paper was published in july 1999 in Consilio Manuque (Vol26,3), a peer reviewed journal published in Belgium. The other research resulted a chapter in a book on adult learning. [1]

That NLP could be used in a scientific responsible way is actually not surprising. NLP was created in the 1970s in the multidisciplinary environment of the University of California in Santa-Cruz. John Grinder had obtained a PhD in Transformational Grammar, prior to co-founding NLP). He was lecturing in an academic environment where psychology, antropology, philosophy, linguistics, mathematcis and computer sciences were combined. These sciences are now considered the foundation of cognitive sciences, a discipline that only got its name around 1983. Hence, my Point of View is that NLP can be seen as "applied cognitive science".

As is demonstrated by the practical research projects I did, the conclusion of my PhD is that distinctions such as NLP meta programs can be used for research projects in a way that will be acceptable to scientists from fields such as psychology and medicine, and will pass peer-review.

Further evidence that this can be done, is provided by Marilyn Powell, who will be finalizing her PhD in 2009 at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Her work builds on mine and applies NLP metaprograms to the selection of medical students.

Since late 2000, my findings are being used by for applications in the HR industry (applications include modeling excellence for pre-employment testing, coaching, team-building, etc). My involvement with jobEQ resulted in delaying my own PhD...

I co-authored several books, including 2 which are available in English: "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence" (2001) and "Mastering Mentoring and Coaching with Emotional Intelligence" (2004).

I've tried to contribute to several pages on the topic of NLP and areas that relate to my work for jobEQ, but I've mostly given up, due to the high number of edits these pages get (over 500 in less than 6 months), many which could be considered page-vandalism.

More about me at

  1. ^ see:"The Strategic Role for Learning in the New Economy and its Implications", published in "Levenslang Leren en de actieve Welvaartsstaat" (Herman Baert, Luc Dekeyser & Geert Sterck et al, 2002, Acco)