The evolution of the NLP Pre-suppositions

This week I am moving on to talk about some to the developments in NLP Pre-suppositions that have come about as thinking has evolved. This week I will look at the NLP pre-suppositions of John Overdurf and Julie Silverthorn.

Silverthorn and Overdurf originally co-trained with Tad James before moving on the create their own NLP school, “Neuro-Energetics”. They wanted to bring in a more
Humanistic approach to NLP and also something that reflected their own personal

Their NLP pre-suppositions are called the “Humanistic Neuro-Linguistic Psychology
Basic Pre-suppositions.”

Today I’ll introduce you to the first of their NLP pre-suppositions which from my perspective is the most powerful.

“No matter what you think you are, you are always more than that.”

 This NLP pre-supposition is related to the NLP pre-supposition “we have all the
resources we need.” What I find interesting about this example is the impact it has on people even without an explanation.

I often write this statement up on a flip chart and pin it to the wall before beginning many of my corporate training courses. In these courses I am teaching anything from time
management through to leadership skills.

Often I notice people writing it down carefully and filing it away in their notes. At other
times people will comment on how much they like the statement and sometimes they even mention that it is the most important thing they have learned on the course!

Bear in mind this often without me even explaining the statement!

This is an indication to me that many people want to understand and accept their own value and self worth.  By considering that we are more than what we think we are there is an opening up within.

So what does this NLP pre-supposition mean?

Well in the simplest sense it is a reminder that we do have the resources within us to deal with whatever life throws at us, (see my earlier blog for more on this).

Overdurf and Silverthorn explain it more fully. Consider a person experiencing depression.
For this person their perspective has become very narrow. All they can see, hear or feel is evidence about how unhappy they are and how few options they have.

What they can not appreciate while in this state is that there are options and they do have the potential to be happy and live a good life.

Our job as practitioners is to help the person step back from this narrowed perspective
perhaps by asking a question.

“Is that all you think you are?”

As part of the process of widening the client’s perspective we will steer them into
recognising that:

“No matter what you think you are, you are always and in all ways more than that.”

Adding in the ambiguity around always/ all ways allows for further stretching of this
position. At GWiz  we have combined this excellent NLP pre-supposition with the idea of “enough”. In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about the power of the statement “I am enough!”

As a reminder, this was part of my research into how NLP can improve self-esteem. This statement was introduced at an early stage on the workshop. Many of the delegates wrote
about the impact of this statement in response to my qualitative research questions six weeks after the workshop.

For those of you who would like to know more, my research has just been published in the
International  NLP Research Journal. You can get a copy from the ANLP by following the link below:

The combination of the two statements,  “No matter what you think you are, you are always more than that” and encouraging them to say to themselves “I am enough” have a very powerful impact in the change process.

From my personal experience I would suggest that for people who lack a background in NLP both  of statements are far more accessible and meaningful. People on my corporate courses can connect to these statements easily even without explanation.

Of course by adopting these statements into our own lives we are accepting our own
magnificence! We are role modelling for our clients and leading them to greater self-awareness and happiness. If we refuse to accept our own self-worth and value how can we expect our clients to believe us when we tell them they have value?

Next week we will look at a few more examples from the HNLP basic pre-suppositions. For those of you who would like to know more about John and Julie you can check out their

Although they no longer train together you can still buy their audio products from this website.

In 2010 we (myself and Joe Cheal)  formed a new school of NLP with Julie Silverthorn. Our school is the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistic Psychology.  Our
intention is to build on the work started by Julie and John with HNLP.  Our school is PSiNLP for short based on the shortening of our name and also reference to the psychology symbol Psi. All three of us have undergraduate and post graduate degrees in psychology.  For more see our website:

The GWiz Learning Partnership and PSiNLP have just received approval for our Practitioner, Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer’s Training to count as 90 credits toward a full Masters degree in Applied Coaching with a British University. For more details contact me direct.

So more next week, have  great week.

About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
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