Welcome to NLP protoscience org. for a survey of proto-scientific research into Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The relationship between scientists and NLP practitioners has not always been very fruitful. With the advent of NLP in the eighties, psychologists set out to prove that NLP was wrong. This kind of research resulted in science having hardly any interest in NLP and NLP practitioners having not much interest in science. Which is an opportunity missed because science has some very interesting ideas that NLP practitioners can learn from and vice versa.
Nevertheless it is important to state up-front that NLP is not a science, nor is there any psychological or neuroscientific research that validates NLP. To make claims for being a science would make NLP a pseudo-science so it is important for NLP practitioners to never make such claims. However, as laymen NLP practitioners can do proto-scientific research. In proto-scientific research laypersons collect data while respecting scientific rules and regulations. This is done in order to stimulate an interest with scientists to duplicate the research so that they can either reject it or use it to base real science on. Of course there is more to say about NLP and proto-science and this is what we do here: foster a debate about NLP & proto-science.
There are three major reasons why we want to do proto-scientific research:
- It makes the world a better place. NLP practitioners who are well-trained have ample anecdotical evidence of how NLP helps people overcome problems and lead better lives. If we can validate NLP and the best practices within NLP, NLP holds the promise of helping a lot of people, with more and more recognition, especially from scientists.
- It creates better training programs. Feedback is central to improvement and optimization through NLP. And yet most NLP trainers lack the tools to get quality feedback of the results of NLP exercises and whether students actually did the exercises. With proto-scientific research there is no place to hide.
- It helps people use their brain more effectively. A scientific outlook on life helps people live more rationally. Some people are too skeptical for their own good and science can help them overcome their skepticism. On the other had, many people have irrational beliefs and science can help them put their ideas into a more sensible perspective.
Finally, not only can science be an important help for NLP practitioners, but NLP also offers some good lessons for science. While NLP may look like some kind of theory about psychology, it has in fact more to do with philosophy. As such it has some very solid philosophical points that science finds very hard to put into practice while NLP has been doing so for more than forty years now.