NLP vs Psychotherapy

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Are you wondering about the difference between NLP and Traditional Psychotherapy? Keep reading to know the differences, similarities, when and why should we have recourse to each one of them.

NLP and Psychotherapy: Definitions

Traditional Psychotherapy is a way to defeat several mental illnesses. It helps the patient talk about his psychological issues to free him from mental heavy load and develop solutions to his problems and mental concerns by blending different theoretical perspectives and approaches and using medication if need be.

Therefore, the Psychotherapy long-term sessions are usually unstructured, with the intention of extracting the maximum feelings and thoughts possible from the patient and progressively enhance his mental health condition.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a therapeutic technique used to detect and re-program unconscious patterns of thoughts and behavior in order to alter psychological responses. This approach was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, as we specified earlier in NLP History.

Thus, NLP is more focused and modeled while Psychotherapy is quite broad, got several approaches and based on theory. To learn more about NLP, check out our previous article What is NLP ?

NLP and Psychotherapy Differences

Let’s list some differences between NLP and Psychotherapy:

  • NLP and Psychotherapy don’t have the same definition of behaviors.
  • NLP is efficient; no need for client history to work forward on his current situation.
  • Psychotherapy calls the necessity of making a diagnostic of the individual’s mental health, while no need for that when it comes to NLP.
  • Psychotherapy may include drugs in the patient’s therapy when needed.
  • The NLP Practitioner doesn’t call his clients “patients”, as he is not considered as a doctor, and his clients are not necessarily subject of mental illness.
  • NLP is more structured unlike Psychotherapy which doesn’t set up clear strategy to achieve a final goal.

NLP or Psychotherapy: When and why?

People recourse to Psychotherapy for different reasons and under various circumstances. The patients belong to different age groups, from children to older people. It is particularly required when the person is faced with social, biological or psychological disease. Hence, the psychotherapy may include medical treatments. NLP doesn’t apply the medical aspect; unlike the psychotherapy, no medical prescriptions are allowed.

The NLP, as approach, is a part of the psychology. When the patient is starting a psychotherapy and reached to the phase where he is ready to apply changes to his situation, here where the NLP practitioner will have the huge added value.

This doesn’t mean that NLP is important only when the patient was exposed to Psychotherapy! NLP Practitioner can intervene at any time specially when the client has personal or professional concerns and doesn’t suffer from any specific mental illness. NLP then will help him getting rid of chaos getting his life together.

NLP and Psychotherapy Client’s Satisfaction

NLP and Psychotherapy have different fundamentals regarding the human brain and its connection with the body. This is a major metric that makes the psychotherapist and the NLP practitioner have different expectations about the patient or the client’s interaction, and response.

For the Psychotherapy, the patient is expected to work for the long-term with the psychotherapist after assessment to build trust, set up various sessions to talk about the problem and try different approaches to progress and recover.

However, for the NLP, only few focused sessions with a good strategy and daily practice can be effective, by deeply stimulating the brain to engender optimal responses and achieve the final goal within an optimal time.


Either if you have social and communication problems or uncomplicated psychological problems that don’t need medical treatment, if you already invested in psychotherapy and still need resolution, if you need to change yourself, your behavior and your way to see the world around you, we highly recommend to go for NLP sessions. This will take you street to the point by giving you effective tools and techniques to help you enhance your personal and professional life, change your vision and achieve happiness and satisfaction.

Become a certified NLP practitioner and work with people to make them benefit from your experience. Contact us to learn more about our Empowering NLP Practitioner Certification Training, and find out how you can expand the vision of yourself, get clear of your life purpose, grow your leadership, enhance your emotional intelligence and create from your passion. Excel yourself way beyond traditional NLP and Life Coaching methodologies with Know Thyself, the best Coaching Institute in Dubai.