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Which NLP course should I take?


Dear all

I am interested in studying for an NLP qualification (distance learning) and wondered which route to take. I have a certifiate in life coaching and would like to at some point offer NLP as an extra services. If I want to offer this as a services do I need to take Certificate, Diploma,

Practitioner and Master Practitioner to do this or would I be okay with just the Diploma for the time being (then plan to do the

Practitioner and Master Practitioner at a later stage)

I am also interested in professional membership for NLP however there seem to be a lot of companies offering membership to NLP Practitioner and I wondered if there was a recognised organisation that I could join (for example similar to the Association of Coaching)

Any assistance would be appreciated

Many thanks

Jane Lowe

46 Responses

  1. Distance learning?

    Hi Jane

    Distance learning NLP doesn’t sound right to me…???

    I will recommend Pegasus NLP in Dorset though as they are different from the rest! (make that highly recommend)






  2. The reverse is true

    Hello Donald

    "Ever criticised NLP in front of a NLP practitioner? Like all fundamentalists they respond with the full force of the fanatic"

    I guess the reverse is also true as you don’t seem to have balance in your argument? I could argue that you are responding with "the full force of a fanatic"

    Wondering where you learned to be so scared of NLP?




  3. NLP course

    Hi Jane, like Steve I think that studying NLP via distance learning seems to miss the point. I would suggest you wait until time or money allow you to attend a face to face training. 

    In terms of associations I would go with ANLP who accredit to all levels.

    As for Donald’s comments, these views are held  by some people. There is a wide spectrum of people who have received NLP training and NLP practitioners. Some of them are not as professional as I would expect or like but  this to be true of all types of trainer and training and not just NLP. 

    I can provide many personal examples of how NLP trainers and training have provided positive outcomes. I cannot comment about the sweeping generlaisations that NLP trainers act in a shameful way or are a cult.







  4. Bad Courses


    I think you also highlight why it’s so important to choose your course with care. If you choose the wrong people to learn NLP from you are in danger of being one of the people who give NLP a bad name.


  5. Confused ….

    Hi Jane, I’m rather confused by your comment about offering NLP as an extra service.  By all means feel free to correct me but I thought NLP was integral to life coaching, a tool to use as necessary.  I’d be interested to hear how NLP could be an add on (if I’ve understood your question correctly), since surely one needs the other???

  6. NLP integral to Life Coaching?

    Please! Get a life not a coach. No wonder trainers are regarded as a bunch of faddish, non-empirical wasters.

  7. Generalisation

    "No wonder trainers are regarded as a bunch of faddish, non-empirical wasters"

    What..    ALL of them??



  8. Shame shame shame

    Donald, it’s a pity to see you hijack this thread.  For my part I’m a qualified life coach and the results generated from my coaching has been a total joy to see.  People’s lives have literally been changed by the coaching and I am immensely proud to have been a part of that change.  If you haven’t tried it for yourself I’m not entirely sure that is a good starting point from which to make such sweeping statements.  ūüôĀ

  9. ‘Qualified’ life coach?

    What exactly does a ‘qualified’ life coach mean? That you know more about ‘life’ than others? What is the qualification and who awards such qualifications? I have seen the training profession drift into a neverneverland of NLP, and life coaching, to its detriment, that’s why I try to defend the good work, based on sound scinetific method, rather than the snakeoil, where personal testament of the people who make money from selling these solutions, is the norm.

  10. Maybe

    In a “funny” sort of way you sort of have a point but I don’t think you are making a very good job of making it!

    Personally, I think you need more than just a qualification to coach and you certainly shouldn’t be coaching without being trained to coach…

    However, I think we have all met people with “qualifications” who you wouldn’t let take your dog for a walk…

    But isn’t that true for many roles? You could have an MBA and Management qualifications and be a terrible manager and business leader?

  11. Qualifications

    Clare hasn’t responded, but I’m genuinely curious about what quality assured organisation has awarded her a qualification in ‘Life Coaching’?

    This is precisely the problem with NLP qualifications. There isn’t a reputable  academic psychologist or psychology department on the planet that would have anything to do with it, so the qualifications are awarded by the snakeoil companies that sell the concept. It’s the training equivalent of astrology.

  12. Got the answer

    "I’ve blogged and spoken out against NLP for years"

    Donald…if you went on a half decent NLP course you would realise why you were on this crusade and be able to stop yourself!

    In a "NLP kind of way" its pefectly clear to me but as you say its a load of twaddle!

  13. This is very interesting stuff

    I welcome Donald’s contributions and the furore it has created.

    As a twenty eight year learning and development or whatever we call ourselves person I have watched the NLP movement from a very deliberate distance.

    Although I quite like some of the terminology of NLP I have been most put off by the almost messianic zeal of many  converts who too often for me, dismiss all other approaches to development and learning in favour of their own.

    Yes, I feel it can feel a bit cult-like, and I feel NLP harbours many people who have not pursued a development path that grounds them thoroughly in the true fundamentals of learning and creating real value and genuine supported behaviour changes, prefering the instant expert ticket. Againt this, many people for whom I have considerable respect see value in NLP, and have gained insights that I do not have, so I will not suggest it has no value.

    I just fear as Donald does, that a significant element within NLP and sometimes associated practices such as life coaching have become a refuge for those with no appetite for learning about learning.

    The proliferation of ‘coaches’ with no qualifications beyond a smiley faced picture on their websites worries me as it seems our ‘profession’ can be infiltrated by anyone who sees commercial opportunity.

    This is one reason I have maintained twenty five years after graduation, my CIPD membership…in part to distinguish myself from those for whom such a path is unthinkable.

    Donald has not hijacked this debate, he has introduced a very interesting context, I hope there are more posts to come on this topic.

    Andrew Gibbons

  14. Crackers

     Sorry Andrew – the moderator has warned me off commenting for using the word ‘fruitcakes’ (seriously). However, as you’ll notice, in reading the above thread, it was someone else who introduced the term! So I’m off to a forum where some real debate takes place free from the cake police.

  15. (Cake) crumbs of no comfort

    That’s a big shame as this thread is as far as I am concerned, robust and challenging, and not at all improper.

  16. Challenging?

    Not sure it is very challenging at all…

    1 guy who see’s the letters "NLP" and goes off on his usual rant that its a load of nonsense and 2 or 3 others who try and make him see that he could do with a bit of NLP to help with the ranting…


    Lets hope there are more challenges today…

  17. Just to clarify…

    I am the moderator who ‘warned’ Donald about his conduct on this thread.  My mistake entirely for letting this rumble on; I should have made an announcement here about what was happening at our end.

    The OP made a very specific request; she asked: "I am interested in studying for an NLP qualification (distance learning) and wondered which route to take."  This was a very specific question which required a specific answer.  Any Answers is not a place to have debates: we welcome debate on articles and in the discussion groups, this is great – fill your boots!  But when a valued member asks a specific question in Any Answers, we do not look kindly to other members hijacking it with their opinions.

    Donald – I sent you a very polite email asking you to be more considerate about what you had posted because we received a complaint.  We have to respond to feedback from our members, particularly when someone feels they have been attacked in any way.  I am sorry you took it to heart, it really was not intended to rile you and I am surprised it has.

    I suspect this will now spark off an attack on me/TZ about our moderation etc., but the point stands – Any Answers is for the asking and answering of questions NOT for personal opinions and debates.  Please take these to the articles and discussion groups.

    Thank you

  18. Fruitcake warning

    Absolutely Steve. Take your point on ‘debate’ within a ‘answers’ thread but that’s not what your email said. On the principle of ‘fairness’ Steve , did you receive the ‘Fruitcake’ warning?

  19. Yes challenging

    Hmmm I prefer the debate inspiring posts here to the ‘I am right you are wrong’ ones that are simply a platform for opinions without sustantiation.

    Thus I like Donald’s contribution and I note the lack of substance and counter-proposals from those that seem to have little to offer beyond rejection of a point of view contrary to their own.

    I feel all of the above helps make a reasoned judgement in response to the initial posting.

    Come on some of you regular posters let’s see more analysis and reasoned thinking beyond a few dismissive lines…or is that too challenging for you?


  20. Astronomy or astrology?

     Thanks for that Andrew. It sometimes seems as though the profession of training has been hijacked by the equivalent of astrologers, namely NLP practitioners, life coaches et al. TrainingZone seems, at times, to be more than willing to publish articles that are thinly disguised as ads or prompts  for ads for new age courses. It’s only right that we at least debate what ‘training’ is, or should be, rather than crushing that debate. This is important, as many believe that ‘training’ is painting itself into an inglenook of  irrelevance.

  21. though it is still not answering the original question…….

    …there are over 60 million individual, unique people in this country alone.  

    Some need "life coaching" and some don’t.

    Some find NLP works for them and some don’t.

    Some find God (or one of his/her/it’s hundred names) works for them and some don’t.

    Some like smiley faces and some don’t.

    Some like fruitcake and some don’t.

    It is (supposed to be) a free country….



    I’m not "qualified" to answer your question with a recommendation but good luck with your search


  22. Original question

    I think you just highlighted why there is no real answer to the original question.

    Similarly for “Who offers the best Train the Trainer” etc etc

    We all have our own preferences and there are those that like fluffy toys and tennis balls and those that think hmmmmmmm

  23. Let’s have some more impressive analysis please

    I feel this thread has a lot of good and some very unimpressive contributions.

    Donald has taken the trouble to post a detailed and to some challenging series of points that have not been countered by those with differing views.

    I personally fail to be impressed by those to pop in for a one minute dig without making coherent well founded informed points.

    Thus a potentially informative debate descends into something less challenging and rather silly. Can we please for the sake of the original poster, have a thourough defence of NLP?

    This I feel would add balance and hopefully move us on from snide comments and childish nonsense.

  24. NLP
    You may have just demonstrated one of the principles of NLP

    You do what you do and I will do what I do and the only thing we can change is the way we feel about it, not the way others feel
    about it…

    That might not be the analysis you require but it sort indicates that some of the principles of NLP are quite useful?

  25. Keep going Steve

    Well Steve, that’s the start of something more constructive.

    That was your one minute drop in why not go on to a more detailed analysis – the absence of which is making this thread less beneficial to the original poster.

  26. NLP Part 2
    “the absence of which is making this thread less beneficial to the original poster”

    NLP Part 2…remember we are not responsible for the feelings of others!

  27. Can no-one out there provide a pro NLP position in more than one

    Steve, you quote 14 words of mine and add 12 of your own.

    Is this all you can offer this thread? You criticise Donald, who to his credit provided a detailed summary of his views, ironically sniped at in one minute postings many times since, yet I have not seen from you Steve or any others as carefully considered a position that counters specifically the points he had raised.

    So, I ask again – is there anyone in the house that can provide a more than three line or two minute posting in support of NLP?

  28. Huh?

    I think it’s entirely up to me what I write here and up to moderator and the moderator only to decide if its appropriate.

    How can you possibly have a major league analysis of NLP when both sides of the argument are so entrenched that it would be like
    Christians Vs Buddhists trying to convince the other that they were the best religion.

    There really is no argument to be had…the original poster wants to know which course to take and hopefully they will see some of the comments here and decide if NLP is for them afterall…

    PS: Also worth noting that original poster hasn’t been back so I not that much interest all round really!

  29. Odd

    I see, not much interest you say, yet 475 viewings at the time of putting this together..

    I am disappointed still that neither you Steve, nor anyone else have posted a riposte to Donald, despite the rather unimpressive to me at least criticism of his views.

    Personally I bristle at posts that state opinions as fact.

    My recent posts have sought to tempt out a thorough explanation of NLP – could it be that this is a rather bigger ask than I thought?


  30. More evidence…

    Sharpley’s 1984 literature review found "little research evidence supporting its usefulness as an effective counseling tool" no support for preferred representational systems (PRS) and predicate matching, then in a 1987 study states "there are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the principles and procedures of NLP have failed to be supported by those data".

    Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.

    Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory".Communication and Cognition Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1987 Vol. 34, No. 1: 103-107,105.

    United States National Research Council

    USNRC produced a report, overseen by a board fo 14 academic experts, stating that "individually, and as a group, these studies fail to provide an empirical base of support for NLP assumptions…or NLP effectiveness. The committee cannot recommend the employment of such an unvalidated technique". The whole edifice of influence and rapport techniques "instead of being grounded in contemporary, scientifically derived neurological theory, NLP is based on outdated metaphors of brain functioning and is laced with numerous factual errors".

    Druckman and Swets (eds) (l988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques, National Academy Press.


    Barry Beyerstein (1990) asserts that "though it claims neuroscience in its pedigree, NLP’s outmoded view of the relationship between cognitive style and brain function ultimately boils down to crude analogies." With reference to all the ‘neuromythologies’ covered in his article, including NLP, he states "In the long run perhaps the heaviest cost extracted by neuromythologists is the one common to all pseudosciences—deterioration in the already low levels of scientific literacy and critical thinking in society. "

    Beyerstein.B.L (1990). Brainscams: Neuromythologies of the New Age. International Journal of Mental Health 19(3): 27-36,27.


    Efran and Lukens (1990) stated that the "original interest in NLP turned to disillusionment after the research and now it is rarely even mentioned in psychotherapy".

    Efran, J S. Lukens M.D. (1990) Language, structure, and change: frameworks of meaning in psychotherapy, Published by W.W. Norton, New York. p.122

    Mutual exchange of myths

    In his book, The Death of Psychotherapy, Eisner couldn’t find ‘one iota of clinical research’ to support NLP. This is in direct contradiction to the claims made by NLP practitioners, who laud it as a great leap forward in understanding the mind. To be fair Eisner doesn’t just finger NLP he also demolishes; Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Cathartic Therapies, Recovered Memory Therapies, Humanistic Psychotherapy, Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy, Strategic Family Systems Therapy, NLP, EFT, CBT, BCBT, DHE, EMDR, Gestalt Therapy, Implosion Therapy, Palm Therapy, Person Centred Therapy, Primal Therapy, Reframing, Thought Field Therapy, Direct Exposure Therapy, Spiritual Therapy and many others. The sheer scale of clinically unproven therapies is astounding. The Myth of Psychotherapy: Mental Healing As Religion, Rhetoric, and Repression by Thomas Stephen Szasz is similarly damning. His claim is that almost anyone can sit down with anyone else, have a chat, and call it psychotherapy. The practitioners are unaccredited, or self-accredited, and the theories scientifically unsubstantiated. It is the mutual exchange of myths.

    (Quick Fix + Pseudoscientific Gloss) x Credulous Public = High Income

    This is the description of NLP by Lilienfield et al (2002) who conclude that NLP is "a scientifically unsubstantiated therapeutic method that purports to "program" brain functioning through a variety of techniques, including mirroring the postures and nonverbal behaviors of clients" and include it in their description "

    Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, Jeffrey M. Lohr (eds) (2004) Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology

    Grandfather of CBT dismissive

    Even Albert Ellis, the grandfather of cognitive behavioral therapy, famous for developing REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) specifically identified NLP as one of those, “techniques that are avoided”. This was the one therapy he abhorred because of its “dubious validity” (Dryden & Ellis, in Dobson, 2001: 331). Then again, Ellis published a book in 1965 entitled Homosexuality: Its Causes and Cure. Psychotherapists have a habit of seeing everything as a pathological condition that can be cured by their methods.

    Hanging around in HR

    Von Bergen et al (1997) showed that NLP had been abandoned by researchers in experimental psychology and Devilly (2005) makes the point that NLP has disappeared from clinical psychology and academic research only surviving in the world of pseudo new-age fakery and, although no longer as prevalent as it was in the 1970s or 1980s… is still practiced in small pockets of the human resource community. The science has come and gone, yet the belief still remains"

    Von Bergen, C W, Barlow Soper, Gary T Rosenthal, Lamar V Wilkinson (1997). "Selected alternative training techniques in HRD". Human Resource Development Quarterly 8(4): 281-294.

    Grant J. Devilly (2005) Power Therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry Vol.39 p.437


  31. Scientific Evidence

    This is getting more bizarre by the day…

    I’m not sure who’s job it is to tell me (or others) what to believe but I do know it will not be anyone from an on line forum.

    The original point of this discussion was to recommend an on line training course for NLP. (personally i think "on line" NLP would be like watching Gordon Ramsay make a black forest gateux…not quite the same unless you are there to share the experience and taste the cake)

    Banging on about scientific evidence to persuade people NLP is a pseudo science is about as likely to change their minds as those that bang on about global warming!

    NLP Lesson 3: People have the right to think what they think without you wanting them to think what you think!


  32. Getting out of the you said, I said dilemma

    Steve – the whole point of an ‘evidence-based’ approach is to avoid the you think/I think issue. It is not enough to say that anyone who criticises NLP is in need of NLP. This type of argument is totalitarian e.g. to crticise Marx is simply playing your part in the class system. It’s at its most common in pesudo psychotherapy, where any criticism is immediately interpreted as a psychological weakness on the part of the critic. This won’t wash. The scientific method demands evidence, so I have presented, not MY evidence but the evidence of experts and researchers on the issue. Do the managers in [company name removed by mod] rely on real data in actuarial work or read tealeaves?

  33. Clarity, and question everything…

    Jane – as the original poster here, you asked about what courses to take, and there have been some suggestions.

    Some people have questioned the efficacy of an NLP course by distance learning. My understanding and experience with NLP suggests that while you may learn knowledge of some of the models and frameworks of a particular interpretation of NLP, you are unlikely to develop sufficient skills in their use, hence I suspect why several people imply strongly that you take a face-2-face course, even though it will cost more and take up more time. I did my practitioner course in 5 x 4-day chunks, 1 chunk per month, with several hours of practice each week in between chunks.

    You may find, if you haven’t already, that no 2 providers seem to offer the same content or syllabus in their ‘practitioner’ and ‘master’ courses, hence my comment about a particular interpretation of NLP. To deal with this aspect I fear you may need to spend some more time to firstly be very clear about what you wish to fix, achieve and/or avoid in your business and in your personal lives, and find a course and provider that best fits this.

    The reason I also emphasise ‘some’ models and frameworks of NLP is because, in my experience, NLP is not a single ‘thing’ but rather seems to be a collection of techniques,  some (many?0 of which have been around from before the time of ‘NLP’, some of which have some good ‘face validity’, some of which seem to come from ‘woo woo land’. This may be one reason why there is apparently little credible evidence to suggest ‘NLP’ has any useful impact at all – I don’t know if the ‘science’ was done and found ‘NLP’ to be ‘lacking’ or if it’s just not been done much at all – and if it has been done, on what aspects or definition of ‘NLP’?

    I agree with Donald’s sentiment that there is a lot of ‘suspect’ stuff doing the rounds, portrayed as some kind of silver bullet, and that people’s unquestioning adherence or promotion of it puts our profession (if I can use that word!) in some danger. You may also be surprised at just how less effective many modern medicines and other medical procedures are in comparison to how good we (society) think they are – I’d like to see individuals and society be more questioning about everything…!

    I have personally found elements of ‘NLP’ to have helped me personally, and to have helped some others, friends, family and clients. But I can’t tell you if this was the actual method or the simple fact that somebody was paying the person concerned some sincere attention and interest (cf the ‘Hawthorn’ effect).

    In summary I guess I’m saying, (1) be clear about what you want to do and why, then (2) look for an appropriate solution (it may not be NLP, or it may be some combination of things…) and (3) question everything, don’t accept things blindly…

    And the insight for me for today is to follow my own advice!

    Best wishes,



  34. Challenge

    Jane…yes this is still about your question!


    Donald…heres a challenge to anyone reading this and as 500 already have it’s a significant number.

    I am guessing there isn’t one single person who reads this who has "done" some NLP study / courses etc that hasn’t found it beneficial.

    It’s actually been a tiny part of my life personally and professionally but I have to say it has been 100% positive and would highly recommend it to anyone.



  35. More astrology

    No doubt all 500 have read and sometimes enjoyed astrology columns, that doesn’t mean it should be accepted as a serious theory of mind and adopted as good practice in training. Isn’t it puzzling that the academic psychologists wordwide reject it, yet it is kept alive in ‘training’ departments? And if we are to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ NLP – surely you need to assess the evidence, have some sort of controlled study and do the work?

  36. That’s that then….

    Mmmmm – that’s exactly the problem Steve. Do you put that line on your CV? No wonder the Financials Services industry is such a shambles.

  37. What do scientists know anyway?

    Hmmmm an interesting insight from Mr Robson.

    After all,  that Isaac Newton – not too sure about him, and as for that thicko Einstein.

    Maybe this is helping a bit – so NLP protaganists dismiss science, or is Steve in a minority on this issue?

    I am enjoying this thread, and I hope the original poster finds this informative.

  38. Well that’s Einstein sorted

    Steve, can I coax you away from your apparent comfort zone of one minute posts and criticisms without detailed, credible evidence based counter proposals and towards a thorough explanation of your quickie contributions?

    Presumably your links for instance support you rather odd notion that scientists are not to be trusted…can you take a few more minutes than usual to clarify?



  39. No


    "can you take a few more minutes than usual to clarify?"

    In short, No!

    If Jane needs scientific clarification then Jane can ask the question. (I couln’t offer it anyway as I am not interested and really haven’t got a clue if it has or hasn’t)

    I really don’t care whether NLP has scientific foundation or not…it does, however give me some useful tools to make my Training courses more interesting.

    Sorry if this is not to your liking. It also appears of little interest to the nearly 600 people who have visited so who is wrong?

  40. Time out

    Ok, so I think this argument is pretty much exhausted now. It’s really a matter of agreeing to disagree here and to be honest, it’s not really adding anything to the discussion – evidence of which is seen by the obvious lack of input from any other members. I’m sure the OP has enough information now to make their own mind up about NLP so can I suggest we wrap up the thread.

    Kind regards

    Verity Gough (editor)


    NLP training should be face-to-face as one key element is flexibility to calibrate and understand the map (reality) of others. Doing that online is like doing a postal course in hear dressing.

    If you just want to know about NLP then thats fine, or even read a book or watch youtube clips, but if you want skills and experience plus a recognised qualification and accreditation then attend a course.

    Where are you based?

    take a look at for NLP and coaching training



  42. Best NLP training

    It is really important to carefully consider the NLP course you do.

    The training of NLP is not regulated and courses vary in quality.

    There are many institutions that promise all sorts and don't deliver.

    Check out who the trainer is and what their experience is.

    Check what certification you will receive and who it is accredited by. E.G, ABNLP, ANLP or SNLP. 

    Also see what you are getting for the price you are paying. Prices can very a lot and some courses are longer and others shorter.

    Speak to the provider and get a feel to make sure you are happy with what you are going to get.

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