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What is not taught in NLP training about emotions?

What is not taught in an NLP training

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What is not taught in NLP training about emotions? It is the difference between a feeling and an emotions.

Feelings and emotions are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinct concepts.

To know the difference has a far reaching consequence for your life and those you advise and coach. That is, if you act and reflect upon the knowledge.

This makes it strange that I have to add it on the list about what is not taught in NLP training. 

What is not taught in NLP training about emotions?

Now you know something that 99% of the NLP trainers never learned or even thought about. Because NLP is not just about emotions, it is about thinking too. It offers tools to process emotions differently through thinking, which changes how we feel. Change the way you think, and you change how you feel and emote. And you can put these in any order, and it would still be true.

What about combined emotions?

My dad was in the world of fashion. I remember he would sit at the kitchen table with different colors, combining them to make something new. Even more impressive, he could walk into any home and detect seven shades of white with ease. He could tell me that the white in my living room was one shade darker than that of my bedroom. To me, they were the same. Even today, you don’t want to make me the boss of the fashion department.

Emotions work like a color palette, where we combine emotions to make another one. And with practice and talent, you can sense exactly what mix of emotions you are feeling and how they display in the body.

Psychologist Robert Plutchik put forth a “wheel of emotions” that worked something like my dad’s color wheel. He discovered that emotions are more like building blocks. Sometimes more complex. Research in this ever-evolving though, as he said that joy and trust equal the feeling of love.

What about NLP?

Well, we take 11 million bits per second from the environment through our 5 senses; this causes us to have an emotion. This emotion in interpreted through our past experiences, our culture, our beliefs, our personality, meta-programs, etc. We turn that into a thought process, which creates the feeling.

In NLP, we look at thoughts as an “internal behavior.” And when we experience an emotion, a thought and a feeling we also display “external behavior.” And external behavior can be observed by others as well.

NLP & external behavior

We can observe others by paying attention to:

– The language and words they use.

– Tonality, volume, body language.

– Observing eye movement is taught in the NLP training and tells us how someone uses their brain.

– Behavior.

Internal behavior & the way we code information

What we do inside our head is a major head:

– We use different perceptions: self, other, observer, group, “god-view.”

– The way we relate to our past, present, and future.

– The way we code our experiences in the brain, and how they display in our minds visually, auditorily, and kinesthetically.

NLP Training

In essence, you can consider the NLP techniques to fall into 4 categories:

1) Part of an NLP Practitioner program toolset and for all emotions.

2) Part of an NLP Practitioner program toolset and for some emotions.

3) Part of an NLP Practitioner program toolset for 1 emotion.

4) Any of the above but designed by a well an NLP Master Practitioner who has been taught how to create their own techniques (very few programs dedicate time to this, unfortunately)

What is key in personal development & acquiring Emotional Intelligence?

This is by considering:

– Know what you are feeling, cultivating emotional self-awareness.

– Who or what is causing this emotion?

– How specifically is it created and processed in the brain?

– Is there an underlying strategy or step-by-step process a play?

This is why I feel the world of NLP can not be separated from the world of the science, and scientific study into emotions. And of course I bring this into our NLP training.

Resources: what is not taught in NLP training about emotions


Positivity: Groundbreaking Research to Release Your Inner Optimist and Thrive – Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D