Learn NLP - what are the options for Learning NLP?


In learning NLP, like in so many areas of life, your budget plays a major part in the decision making process. Can you afford to take that expensive course? Can you get by with a few books and CDs?

Below I have covered the options available. The sections in this article are organized in cost order from the most expensive to least expensive way to learn NLP.

Take an NLP Practitioner Training

The best way to learn NLP is via an NLP Practitioner Training course. But do be aware that not all courses are equal. Some trainers have not updated their NLP trainings in years!

If you want a wild time with lots of trance and stretching your boundaries then learn NLP with Richard Bandler or someone who has worked with him, such as John La Valle, Michael Breen, Paul McKenna, or Gabe Guerrero. John Grinder who co-created NLP with Richard Bandler also gives NLP Practitioner trainings, and many of his trainers rave about John's work, but I have not trained with John so cannot give a strong recommendation but I believe from what I have heard that training with John Grinder is very worthwhile if you can find a course.

There are many other companies offering their own NLP trainings but please do your research carefully and try to speak to their previous clients. Some organizations teach NLP in a very 'classroom' style. NLP should be taught in a practical rather than academic style. Think learning to ride a bike rather than learning chemistry.

When looking at a possible NLP training company find out the following:

  • Are the trainers well known in the NLP community?
  • Who trained them?
  • What NLP organization do they claim to be affiliated to?
    • Be aware that many NLP trainers simply create their own 'official' NLP certification organizations along with their own trademarked 'technologies'. Anyone can create an official sounding organization.

      Aside from NLP Practitioner courses, there are many other NLP courses. If you are serious about learning NLP then the Practitioner course is really the best place to start. Courses such as NLP business courses are going to be structured specifically for that application and you may miss out on some of the most interesting stuff.

      Learn NLP via NLP Practice Groups

      I have tried out several practice groups, and have found that their quality varies hugely. Personally I found it quite frustrating and disappointing. NLP Groups seem to fit one of three styles:

      • NLP Marketing Groups
      • Post NLP Course Groups
      • Guru Practice Groups
      • Pure Practice Groups

      Often people start a practice group with the best intentions but over time these NLP groups turn into Marketing groups. This usually happens because it's difficult to get good speakers for group meetings or the group creators find they don't have time themselves to prepare content for regular meetings.

Basically as a participant you end up paying a smallish fee each meeting to listen to someone try and sell you their course by dripfeeding you a taster for it. Even so, these kind of meetings can be useful, especially if you were thinking of taking an NLP training with the booked speaker, but otherwise listening to someone trying to sell you their course while you pay for the privilege gets old rather quickly.

Many organizations create NLP practice groups for the people who have been on their courses - these can be good if people are willing to stick around and keep the group going, but this is unusual and most post NLP course groups wither away.

Guru Practice groups are another style I dislike. These are really like a one person marketing group and post NLP course group rolled together. The meetings always seem to be run by the same person who is using the group purely to promote their NLP courses to both new and old customers, while massaging their own egos.

Finding a pure NLP practice group is more difficult, but the best way to learn NLP in a NLP practice group type environment. It may even be worth setting up your own NLP practice group if there isn't one close by. The biggest problem this kind of group faces is getting members who actually know enough NLP to lead sessions and add value - someone you can learn NLP from in a sense. Running a group where every member is inexperienced is not a good idea for many reasons. Also if you set up your own group be prepared to put a lot of effort into it - planning regular sessions is not trivial.

Learn NLP at Home? Home Study Courses? You're kidding me!

I've just been doing a little research online and writing this section is probably the best way to quell my anger. I've written previously about my hatred of the way that NLP is often marketed in the articles on NLP Secrets and NLP EBooks, but have just seen several websites that really made my blood boil.


  • If someone is offering to tell you the secrets that other NLP trainers don't want you to know ...
  • If someone lists a pile of 'qualifications' in technologies made up and taught by a single company ...
  • If someone states that other trainers are offering rip off versions of their 'original work' ...
  • If someone imply's that you can learn NLP to use on other people via home study ...
  • If someone fills their web text with bold text implying that you should 'buy now' or something similar ...
  • If someone is offering you a pile of extra free stuff when you buy their course or ebook ...
  • If someone is offering you a knockdown price or a price that is only valid today ...
  • If someone has a single sales page full of testimonials, that goes on and on and on ...

then my advice is to find someone else to train you.

The subject of NLP contains some great skills, and some great trainers. Unfortunately, it also attracts many unethical and unrealistic people who believe that after they have an NLP certificate or two they can simply lie, exaggerate their own skills (nothing new in the personal improvement business), regurgitate other NLP trainers material (usually while rubbishing them) or simply state that they know NLP that other trainers can't or won't teach (they're lying).

If you're looking for a book on NLP then rather than an ebook, buy a real book - preferably one by an NLP trainer who is well known and has trained others.

NLP Books

I've written elsewhere about learning NLP from books, but if you are completely new to NLP then books are a good and cheap way to dip your toe in. Just be aware that they do not really prepare you for a good NLP Practitioner training. A book such as Richard Bandler's Using Your Brain for a Change gives a great introduction to some NLP techniques that you can use on yourself. I have reviewed several books useful for beginners in the section on NLP Book Reviews.

Free Online NLP Training

PlanetNLP currently provides many articles to help you learn NLP. Free NLP Techniques, Exercises, and Lessons is a good place to start. If you have any questions, comment on the articles, or contact planetnlp and I will respond as soon as possible.


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