Frequently Asked Questions
What Is NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)?
NLP is the study of the structure of human experience. It is a communication toolkit that provides the ability to discover, utilize, and change our programmed thoughts and behaviors, assisting us in having new experiences in life that are more satisfying, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
This goes beyond just thinking “positive”, practicing visualization, meditating, or developing mindfulness. Rather, we go to the heart of how human beings generate their experience of the world at the level of pictures, sounds, feelings, and the meanings and beliefs they made—creating a set of information from which our experience of reality can be directly revised.
How did NLP start?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming was developed in the early-to-middle 1970s by John Grinder, a professor of linguistics at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and Richard Bandler, one of his brilliant students. They wondered how it is that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre or worse.
That wondering led to two questions: “What is the difference that is making the difference? Is it possible to identify the differences that make the difference between excellence and the lack of it?” and “If so, can we make these differences teachable and learnable to enhance life experience for everyone?” In short, they set out to “model” human excellence in such fields as education, business and therapy. What emerged from their work came to be called Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
What does the name “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” mean?
Neuro refers to the brain and neural pathways of the human organism through which our experience is processed via our five senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory).
Linguistic is about the content that moves across and along these pathways. It is about the language and nonverbal communication systems through which our neural representations are coded, ordered, and given meaning. These include: pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells, and words.
Programming is the way the content is directed, sequenced, and connected by each of us to produce the thinking patterns and behaviors that are our experience of life.
Through our neuro-linguistic programming process, we each create our own, unique internal map of reality that determines our view of reality and our beliefs about life and ourselves. However, as we say in NLP, “The map is not the territory” — it is not necessarily the same as external reality. Often our internal map is inaccurate, outdated, and self-limiting. If we change our map, we can change our experience of life. Training in NLP provides the ability to discover and change these programs that make up our map, to assist us to have new experiences in life that are more satisfying, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
Think of it as being like a railroad system. The Neuro part of NLP is like the tracks. Linguistic is the engines and cars. Programming is how the switches are set. How the switches are set determines where the engines and cars go. With the switches set a particular way, the train can only follow a particular path that is determined by how those switches are set. In this analogy, the objective of NLP is to assist you to change how your switches are set.
What is the difference between NLP and NLP Marin?
The term NLP covers a lot of varied territory. NLP is an amazing toolbox for communication and change, for connection with people and change within ourselves. In contrast to psychotherapy, the focus is on the structure of experience rather than only the content. An NLP practitioner pays more attention to how experience is structured than why it happened, and he or she changes the client’s experience by changing the structure of the representations that are causing the suffering.
There are some major differences between conventional NLP and what we call Transformational NLP. One significant difference is that mainstream NLP tends to use stand-alone techniques, done while standing or walking. Our NLP works while seated in conversation that looks like psychotherapy, although the practitioner uses many of the tools of NLP during the conversation.
In recent years NLP has become identified with things like covert persuasion in sales, so-called “speed seduction” in pick-up bars, and other unsavory applications. It’s true that NLP shows us how to step into other people’s “maps of reality,” and that this helps people to feel safe and welcome with us, and that this goes a long way to increasing influence on others. But our NLP is not about persuading others about anything; it’s about changing our experience of being ourselves, so that we can have more and more of what we truly want and value in life.
What makes NLP Marin different as a transformational body of work?
NLP Marin’s NLP is incomparable to the NLP you can learn anywhere in the world. We hold life and the full human experience of each person's life with respect and appreciation. What our students learn goes beyond a series of procedures to what is most important: the powerful, self-discovered, graceful art of creating a new relationship with themselves.
For that reason, we have had an outstanding 25+ year long reputation for providing a training that enhances personal growth and professional success simultaneously. However, our style of NLP is very much more focused on deep personal change as a priority, which then results in greater professional results. Our style is also not about a bunch of procedures or techniques. Each student is encouraged to develop and grow their own expression of NLP to succeed in any context in life they choose.
We also have one senior Training Assistant (TA) to every 3-5 students so that the rate and depth at which students learn the NLP toolkit, is deeper and of the highest quality. Over the years, we have grown and developed a network of such fantastically refined support staff—this is something that can’t be reproduced overnight.
Of course, none of what we do excludes the wonderful validity of all outcomes in your life, whether they be professional, personal, interpersonal, spiritual, or philanthropic. Rather, our NLP serves to augment those experiences and goals, all while coming into greater rapport with who you are, who you have been, and who you can be. Our NLP encourages and seeks to help you reveal and express your beauty and true nature from within.
Why should I learn NLP at NLP Marin?
For most people, getting change in their life comes with the instinct to push harder, get stronger, exercise willpower, and overcome their limitations. And, getting lasting change in their life sometimes seem like an insurmountable mountain.
But if you are in an arm-wrestle with yourself, who exactly is it who wins? Perhaps there is a better way. One that doesn't require as much struggle, and one that works with the natural forces of your life, for your life, and for life. At NLP Marin, we teach our students how to get elegant and sustainable change without crushing, defeating, or overcoming yourself.
Our curricula and toolbox assist our students to resolve this illusion conflict and war within and prepare us for the experience of enduring happiness. Positive change can occur in wonderful and easeful ways that don’t require you to remember to be any different or have to effort to sustain the difference you achieve.
How has NLP helped students who have taken your courses?
Some people participate in NLP Marin trainings so that they may learn the NLP toolbox for use in work and professional applications. Others take the courses to experience personal transformation. Many people are eager to have both kinds of experiences. Whichever focus a person may have, everyone ultimately gains both benefits—personal change and professional growth—because these two outcomes are always connected.
Our NLP promotes personal transformation at a deep level. The class format at NLP Marin combines the presentation of NLP (both conventional and Transformational NLP) theories and tools for communication and change, frequent live demonstrations of everything related to what is being taught, and much student practice of the material. Students are encouraged to speak up with questions and comments and to share about their experience and personal stories.
When students talk about the traumas and challenges in their personal histories, they discover that they are not unique or alone in these experiences and that the other students have similar issues. When they describe the personality and behavior patterning they have that they do not want, they are more and more able to dis-identify with them. Students learn that who they are is not their personality or behavior patterning, or even their beliefs, and that any of this can be changed. This dis-identification is reinforced as the students practice the change-work they are learning.
What’s the learning experience like at NLP Marin?
The first question an NLP Marin practitioner asks is, “What would you like?” Whatever your answer, we proceed with the assumption that if what you desire is possible for anyone, it is possible for you. For all humans, having the experience we want in life is a function of two things: how we view and represent life (ourselves, others, the world, and life itself) in our mind, and how we relate to (understand, connect with, and communicate with) those with whom we interact in our lives. Personal change results from new perceptions about self and life.
Our NLP does not tell you what you should believe. Rather, it assists you to reveal and release those beliefs and perceptions that have limited you, and then congruently integrate new beliefs and perceptions that make the life experience you desire possible. In addition, our courses teach a practical model for understanding human behavior and specific tools that enable students to express themselves more effectively in their personal and professional lives.
In our classrooms, students also learn by watching the demonstration of how it is that humans create and get caught in negative patterning, and how this old patterning can be revised. In addition to having a chance to observe theory being put directly into practice, many students spontaneously identify with the experience of the demonstration subject to the extent that the change-work integrates into them as well. Because we do not discuss problems without also describing and implementing solutions, the very pain and confusion that are such a large part of being human become catalysts that open the way to better, more fulfilling experiences in the future.
The students are asked to apply new ideas and tools almost immediately after they are first offered. They spend much of each class day sitting in small groups, trying out every new method that is presented. A Teaching Assistant (TA) facilitates each practice group, answering questions and assisting in any way that may be helpful. Each student takes turns programming another student, being programmed, and observing one student program another.
When students practice with one another, the so-called subject, programmer, and observer all experience healing and change that brings them closer to their personal goal. They also learn how to work with potential future clients to assist them in the transformation they want so they can achieve their desires.
I’m new to NLP Marin, where should I start?
This is a great question. First, we recommend you attend one of our intro workshops to experience our change work live-in-person, so you can decide if continuing your learning with us is something that you would like. If you are from out-of-town, reach out to our Enrollment Director to gain private access to more complimentary material that can be of service to you and your life.
With any of our trainers, graduates, and alumni practitioners. For over 25+ years, we have built and sustained our reputation for delivering the finest NLP training in the world. The growth of our community is not solely due to our trainers, but by our students who have taken the work and facilitated positive changes for many people around the world.
Lastly, if you are still unsure as to where to start, and would love some assistant, reach out to us at [email protected]. Our Enrollment Director will be in touch with you to assist.
Can I undertake courses remotely?
Yes. We’ve had many students train this way from all around the world (Australia, Europe, UK, Canada, and out-of-state) and to great success. You would register for the course online with the remote training option. From there, you will be included in all course-related communications and integrated into the class as a remote participant. You are also welcome to attend any part of the training in person at no additional cost.
We don’t livestream our trainings. But as soon as the videos are processed from each training weekend (usually takes a week), you will have private access to the videos. You will also get access to a printable version of the training material.
Additionally, there are weekly study groups for our certification NLP track courses, Core Competencies, Intensive Training Course, and Masters. A number of these are typically held on zoom, which you are free to attend as many as you would like. These study groups are Training Assistant (TA) supervised study groups where you can practice with other students, ask questions, and get feedback and training support as you go through the program.
If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to our Enrollment Director to get assistance.
What if I can’t attend all the course dates?
All students have access to a course portal where videos, audio recordings and PDF links to handouts are available if you miss a class. We find students catch up quickly after watching the videos. For our certification tracks of Core Competencies, Intensive Training Core, and Masters—we stress that students attend their weekly study groups (facilitated by experienced Teacher Assistants) as that is where they deeply integrate the material. If you want more help regarding your specific situation, contact our Enrollment Director to get advice.
What guarantee or refunds do you provide?
For our initial certification courses (Core Competencies & Intensive Training Core (ITC)), we stand by our product, and if by the end of the second training weekend for Core or second training day for ITC, you decide the course is not for you, we will refund you your money. Over the 25+ years of having successfully delivered the highest quality NLP trainings in the world, we have rarely had this happen.
For all other courses, we offer a full refund for cancellations up to 14 days before a course starts. After that, we offer course credit that can be used for up to one year (can be applied to any course within one year).
What’s the difference between the Intensive Training Core (ITC) and the Core Competencies program?
Both courses cover the same material and lead to the same certification. However, they are delivered in a different format. First, the length and pace of the training. ITC consists of 2 x 5-day modules and is an accelerated version of the 6-month Core Competencies program (6 x 3-day modules). With Core Competencies, students get a longer time to practice and integrate the material. ITC is typically undertaken by students who have an accelerated learning preference, or who are traveling to undertake our courses from out of town (internationally and/or interstate).
Where do people stay when they come into town?
There are several options. First, the hotel (Novato Oaks Best Western Inn) offers a 10% discount on rooms for NLP Marin students. Many students prefer to book an Airbnb in the local area. We have several graduates who also offer Airbnb and discounts on their spaces (email us for more information).
Are there any discounts for your courses?
We offer both single-pay and payment plan options. The single pay is the best tuition rate.
Additionally, there are several work trade positions available for each course in exchange for a portion of tuition. However, these are typically given to individuals in the community who have already undertaken a certification track with us, and whose natural tendencies and capabilities are aligned with those roles. You may always inquire to see what is available.