|What is NLP?|
NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Please refer to books by Richard Bandler (computer scientist and systems theorist) and/or John Grinder (Professor of Liguistics). In the early '70s these two men along with Leslie Cameron (a psychologist) and Judith DeLozier (a cultural anthropologist) began studying what made really effective therapists better than average.
Rather than approach that question from the perspective of psychological theory, however, they used the disciplines at which they were already skilled: Transformational Linguistics (see Noam Chomsky), Systems Analysis, Family Systems Theory, and Cultural Anthropology. They studied therapists such as Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls, who were known to be therapeutic wizards. Therapist's therapists, if you will.
Because the founders of NLP came from other disciplines and were not bound by the models of psychology, they were able to notice distinctions that the therapeutic community had missed or thought were not important. They used videotape and reductionist methods to take apart the micro-behaviors of these super people-helpers. And they were extraordinarily successful at it. In many cases they were able to teach new councilors to be better clinicians than they could learn to be in traditional university settings or even from the therapists whom the NLP's built their models.
Out of this research came not only models of how to help people change but also models of how to build models of peoples behavior: Meta-models. These skills of modeling the difference that created the difference between excellence and mediocrity are the heart of NLP. Although most NLP trainings today tend to teach therapeutic techniques and call that NLP, the core of NLP remains those skills that allow you to find out how someone thinks and acts, and replicate that person's success in yourself or other people.