Definition of NLP

If you’re new to this field, you may be wondering…

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming?

And if you’ve been around for a while – feel free to pull out your old training manual because I’ve made a few updates to my definition here.

The truth is that there are many ways to answer the question, “What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming” so let’s start by breaking down the terms one by one, and then get into some of the definitions of NLP.

Neuro:  Our nervous system through which our experiences are processed AKA our physical body.  In a computer metaphor, this would be our 'hardware'.  The sense receptors of our nervous system are our primary interface with the outside world and it is within our nervous system that all 'information' from the outside world is input, experienced, and processed.

Linguistic:   Language and other forms of information that we use to encode our experiences in our mind-body system and to give those experiences meaning. In a computer metaphor, this would be our 'computer language' from which we code our software.  These are the components of our internal 'mapping' of the world.

‘Linguistics’ can be further broken down into two categories:

Sensory Representations:

  • Visual – Internal images & ‘movies’
  • Auditory – Sounds
  • Kinesthetic – Feelings
  • Olfactory – Smells
  • Gustatory – Tastes

Language (Meta-Sensory Representations)

  • Auditory Digital – Spoken Language/Self-Talk
  • Visual Digital – Written language
  • Kinesthetic Digital – i.e. Braille
  • Metaphor


Programming: Programming refers to the actual processes and patterns we use to sequence and layer our internal linguistic structures and the result of that sequencing.  In a computer metaphor, this would be our 'software'.  This "programming" generates our strategies for functioning and governs all of our behaviors, skills, capabilities, habits, and ultimately determines our outcomes.  We have and develop programs that govern all aspects of our behavior and communication.

Now that I have defined the terms we can delve a little more deeply into the question “What is NLP”.  Below are some of my favorite definitions of NLP, and perhaps I will further break them down in future articles.


My Favorite Definitions of NLP:

“NLP is the user’s manual for the mind” – Jason Schneider

“NLP is how our neurology (Neuro), is programmed (Programming) through language (Linguistics).” – Jason Schneider

“NLP is the study of the structure of subjective experience.” – Dilts, Grinder, Bandler, DeLosier

“NLP is an attitude and a methodology, that leaves behind a trail of techniques” – Richard Bandler

“NLP is a model of the structure of excellence so we can replicate genius” – Michael Hall, Ph.D, co-founder of Neuro-Semantics


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To your ever continuing growth,

Jason Schneider


Founder of the Perception Academy

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