The Myths of Seven day NLP “practitioner” trainings

In recent years, there has been growing controversy within the NLP community regarding qualifications in NLP, standards and quality for training and what constitutes appropriate hours for NLP practitioner courses. In this article, we explore some of the myths promoted by some NLP trainers

In the NLP community, there have been three levels of certification: practitioner, master practitioner, and trainer of NLP. In the last few years some organisations have added a Master Trainer certification. And recently, we accredited a formal post-graduate qualification in NLP, the Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The Grad Cert NLP is in fact the first formal credential in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The previous certificates were non-accredited and not recognised as formal qualifications.

To be certified as a practitioner of NLP, a NLP student needed to attend between 20 and 24 days of training. For master practitioner, an additional 20 days were required and at least 15 days with an apprenticeship period for trainer certification.

In recent years some training organisations have begun to hold short 7-day NLP trainings marketed as “practitioner” certification training. There is a number of myths espoused in their marketing of these short-change training programs. Here are some of the myths of the 7-day “accelerated practitioner” training courses.

Myth 1.” We use ‘accelerated learning’ so that you can gain NLP certification in only 7 days”.

The unstated subtext they are implying is that trainers of full-length practitioner training don’t use NLP to teach NLP! By its very nature, NLP is a technology that, when used effectively, produces accelerated learning.

Any competent NLP trainer can teach in an accelerated way without the props (coloured pens and music) of accelerated learning rituals. To quote John Grinder (co-creator of NLP) and Judith DeLozier, “NLP is an accelerated learning strategy for the detection and utilisation of patterns in the world.

The accelerated learning argument is just an excuse for short-change training.

Myth 2. “You can listen to a set of course tapes a couple of times and that is adequate instead of a full length training”.

The argument that listening to a set of tapes is as good as being in live training is nonsense. A fundamental part of NLP is advanced communication with an emphasis on tracking nonverbal behaviour, learning to see subtle shifts in skin colour, muscle tone, posture, and gesture. And tracking that in relationship to tone, tempo, and words is best learned through live experience. The sequence of training demonstrations followed by supervised exercises is essential for developing skill with NLP.

The argument that tapes are equivalent to live experience is just an excuse for short-term training. Even Michael Hall who teaches a 7-day practitioner training advocates full-length training and warns against short training!

“Personally, we do not believe in the “correspondence course” approach to NLP or in the short training programs that promise mastery in five days. Instead look for those programs that provide the necessary depth and quality essential for becoming an effective practitioner.” pp. xv-xvi The Sourcebook of Magic by L. Michael Hall and Barbara P. Belnap (1999). It would be excellent if Michael took his own advice.

Myth 3. “Any trainers teaching full length practitioner training are not very good in that if they were good at training NLP then they would do it in 7 days”.

The really excellent trainers in NLP tend to be interested in and committed to NLP and their students. They want their students to be able to apply NLP effectively in their lives. Subsequently, they teach comprehensive, full-length training. The field of NLP is rich in patterns, and shortening contact time cuts out essential parts of NLP and reduces skill acquisition. The real question to consider is what is being left out?

The full-length trainers are not good at teaching NLP arguments, which is just an excuse for leaving out essential parts of NLP.

Myth 4. “We have the latest development in (or supersedes) NLP. That’s why we can teach the practitioner of NLP in only 7 days. Full length training is out of date”.

Competent NLP trainers are constantly evolving themselves and their comprehensive NLP training. A common strategy used to promote short training is to take some aspect of NLP and market it as a new development. Timelines are repackaged as Time Line Therapy(1), use of logical levels and meta positions is repackaged as meta states(2).

Myth 5. “You can gain 2 or 3 (depends on the NLP training company) certifications in the one 7 day training”.

By carving up NLP into various applications, they can be offered as separate certifications that can be obtained during the one short training. “you can have three certifications all in just one week”.

These certifications are awarded through organisations / associations owned or controlled by the trainer / “world leader in the field” and have no meaning outside of the particular private company or association. All reputable NLP associations and NLP training providers insist on full-length (at least 20-day) programs for practitioner of NLP certification.

In Australia, we have replaced NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner training with a government-accredited professional qualification, the 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which has standards with quality control and thorough assessment!

The Real Benefits of short NLP practitioner trainings

  1. An NLP trainer has more time to conduct more training in a year in more places. How many short ‘practitioner’ trainings can be fitted into a year in contrast to comprehensive full-length programs?
  2. A trainer can charge more fees for less work as most short NLP trainings are marketed for a similar price to full-length, comprehensive training.
  3. Because of what is left out of short-change training a trainer can market another course of additional material later as an add-on for graduates who want more skills in NLP. Too often, graduates of short training don’t know that they don’t know.

The Benefits of the Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming training

  1. Comprehensiveness. A breadth of NLP patterns are learned through live, hands-on training involving thorough framing of the material, demonstrations, exercises, feedback and discussion sessions.
  2. Elaboration. Through immersion in the NLP experience and through carefully designed sequencing of the training material, the student is able to elaborate the underlying patterns, processes, and skills of NLP richly into multiple areas of application in the world.
  3. Generalisation. The NLP skills become usable in every area of life.
  4. Quality Control. Competencies and assessment criteria are incorporated throughout the entire training.
  5. Real Qualification. Students who pass both the experiential and conceptual evaluations receive a formal post-graduate qualification in NLP that reflects their acquisition of skills in NLP.

(1) Timeline Therapy is a trademark of Tad James
(2) Meta States¹ is a trademark of Michael Hall

Relevant Links

Link to Steve Andreas views on NLP training standards in his 2001 interview

Learn more

Check out our 10970NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming program.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP, you can get a copy of our latest Kindle book, ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

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Learn more about NLP by reading our Ultimate Compendium of NLP

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