NLP vs. Neuro-Semantics – The Top 5 Neuro-Semantic Paradigm Shifts that Changed My Life

I’m going to be completely honest here…

When I first heard about Neuro-Semantics I thought it was just another group repackaging and rebranding the same old NLP…

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

What began for me as a short exploration turned into an exciting journey into the new models, new skills, new tools, new patterns and new understandings that have been developing over the past 23+ years.  Among these understandings were some massive paradigm shifts from the old NLP models that not only transformed my Coaching Practice, but dramatically shifted my life path, my level of self-management and fulfillment.

Over the past few years of helping people upgrade their NLP & Coaching with Neuro-Semantics I have seen these paradigm shifts capture the minds and hearts of countless others….. so I thought, why not write an article summarizing some of the key paradigm shifts I notice in people first beginning on this exploration into the wonderful field of Neuro-Semantics.

I am not saying that the ideas below don’t exist in NLP, but I wrote this article to focus on the emphasis on these paradigms in Neuro-Semantics as well as in my personal practice.

So let’s dig into my top 5 Neuro-Semantics paradigm shifts to empower you on your journey to become a master of perception, a master coach and a master of yourself.

Paradigm Shift #1: From Applying NLP on Others to Applying it to Yourself First

When I first started learning NLP I wanted to learn all of the amazing techniques that I could do on others.  I had a high intention of becoming a powerful wizard in facilitating others to have magical transformations in their life.

With years of practicing NLP in this way I became quite successful in these types of applications — getting quick and seemingly magical results with others — but what I found was that at the end of they day, when my head hit the pillow, I was deeply unfulfilled and unhappy.

Since discovering the Neuro-Semantics & Meta-States emphasis on ‘apply to self’ my life has completely changed.  Not only would I rather be the person receiving the change as opposed to ‘the all powerful wizard’ – but I am much more congruent in the change work that I do with others, and I am much more empowered to practice what I preach and to authentically lead by example.  Not only that, but my clients leave our conversations more empowered and take a higher level of ownership for their personal growth.

When your primary focus is on using your power to transform others you actually disempower yourself and your clients in the long run.  Personal power, congruence, and true fulfillment comes from applying to self first.

Paradigm Shift #2: From Influencing Others to Understanding Others

Along those same lines, when I first came across NLP I was fascinated with the power these techniques had to influence others.  With the highest of intentions I was fascinated to learn techniques for covert influence, covert hypnosis, unconscious rapport…. the list goes on.

It wasn’t until years later when I realized that way of operating was laden with flawed premises.

These types of beliefs/belief systems limited my effectiveness of getting what I wanted, and while they helped me ‘get what I wanted’ in the short term, in the long term I discovered that ‘what I wanted’ was a false gratifier for what I really needed, and ultimately installed a pattern that kept me from being fulfilled.

In learning to ‘influence others’ I was learning skills that, while they seemed flashy and cool, actually prevented me from achieving and experiencing what I truly needed.

When we learn NLP in a way that focuses on understanding others as opposed to influencing them we open ourselves to deeper relationships, ecological influence, and the opportunity to move ourselves and those around us towards a truly fulfilled life.

Paradigm Shift #3:  From Outcome Achievement to Self-Actualization

Another game changer for me was the Neuro-Semantic recognition of Self-Actualization as the highest application of NLP.

When we use NLP for typical sales/influence/dating applications or anything less than unleashing the highest and best in ourselves and others we cheapen these amazing tools.

We are using them for simple parlour tricks as opposed to the highest possible magic that they are capable of.

Even in a coaching context – facilitating someone to achieve ‘what they want’ could actually be pulling them away from their highest and best.

The paradox is that when we use these tools for actualizing our highest and best — we become more influential, better at sales, and we more easily and authentically attract the relationships that allow us to continue to flourish.

Gaining a deeper understanding of what Self-Actualization actually means, and what the experience of Self-Actualization feels like dramatically enhances our use of NLP for personal development and coaching applications.

Paradigm Shift #4: From Submodalities to Meta-Level Frames

When I first learned NLP the vast majority of the training was focused on submodality change work.  We would spend 20-30 minutes running a submodality map across pattern, then we would read a little script at the end of the pattern, and the change would stick about 25% of the time.

This made me VERY curious!

Weren’t all of these patterns pretty much exactly the same (besides the script I was taught to read at the end)?  And why did the patterns work sometimes and not others?

I was initially taught that the ‘difference that makes a difference’ was in the submodalities… but I was later to discover that the majority of the time the true difference that makes a difference was in the script!

That the difference that makes a difference between whether a change would last over time, or slowly fade back to the old pattern, was at the meta-levels  – it depended on the frames that were set, the frames that were not set, and if there were the meta-frames creating incongruence and conflict.

Paradigm Shift #5: From a Grab Bag of Tricks to An Integrated Systemic Model

Another fascinating change that I learned from my study and practice of Neuro-Semantics is that Representations, State, Language &  Meta-Programs give us multiple and overlapping viewpoints of the same thing!  They all are just different ways of looking at Subjective Experience, and any experience can be looked through these multiple perspectives for an enriched understanding.

When I initially learned NLP we learned these as separate models that we could use to leverage change in others…. but there was no synthesis.  There was no explanation as to how all of these pieces fit together – they were just presented as a grab bag of tricks that you could pick and choose from based on your intuition.

In recognizing the overlapping nature of these models you are able to have a more rich, full, holistic, and systemic view of somebody’s (including your own) model of the world and therefore have MUCH more choice in where the leverage points are.

Rather than needing to hold multiple models in your mind, you become able to hold a single model that ties together all of the meta-domains of NLP & Neuro-Semantics.

These paradigm shifts have helped a ton of my clients in the past with taking their NLP, Personal Development & Coaching to the next level so if you have any questions, feel free to reach out and ask.  I’m here to help!

Jason Schneider

Founder of Perception Academy


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