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NLP does not have the same model of "problem" and "solution" as clinical psychiatry, instead its model is based upon helping clients to overcome their own self-perceived problems (subjective) rather than those that others may feel they have. It seeks to do this while respecting their own capabilities and wisdom to choose additional goals for the intervention as they learn more about their problems, and to modify and specify those goals further as a result of the extended interaction.
The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The therapist/counselor uses respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending to any moves towards it whether these are small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem. Scaling is also used as a tool to measure progress.
This differs from common clinical practice based upon certain conditions defined as "illness". NLP interventions are not usually guided by DSM's list of illness criteria; rather it views any condition whereby a person subjectively considers their life could be improved, equally appropriate to work with.
NLP can be used on a small scale, as separable techniques and principles, but individual methods are often not as effective or dependable used alone. By design it is also an entire model of diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Used this way, the diagnostic aspect is intrinsic to and intertwined with the treatment. The NLP diagnosis determines the NLP intervention, every interaction in the treatment might modify the approach and diagnosis, and the client identifies, by considering the practitioner's input, whether there is useful material to them to consider.
So in a sense the efficacy of any intervention is in many ways considered to be a client judgement, rather than a clinical judgement, insofar as it is usually the client who had the perception of a problem initially and had judged the need to approach a therapist because of this.
Also because of this, terms like "cure" are not part of NLP, primarily because NLP does not necessarily see presenting symptoms in terms of "illness" and "cure", per se.
David Aldridge states in his review of complementary therapies, that NLP's approach is to "recognize maladaptive ... patterns" and "intervene by talking directly to the somatic system responsible for the problem". ("research in complementary therapies papers revisited and continued", p.11) 
Dr Richard Bolstad states in his 2003 paper connecting NLP back to neurological research results, that: "People come to psychotherapists and counsellors to solve a variety of problems. Most of these are due to strategies which are run by state-dependent neural networks that are quite dramatically separated from the rest of the person's brain. This means that the person [may well have] all the skills they need to solve their own problem, but those skills are kept in neural networks which are not able to connect with the networks from which their problems are run. The task of NLP change agents is often to [experientially help to] transfer skills from functional networks (networks that do things the person is pleased with) to less functional networks (networks that do things they are not happy about)." ("Putting The 'Neuro' Back Into NLP", 2003) 
Main article: Research on NLP
- Milton H. Erickson
- Fritz Perls
- Virginia Satir
- Milton model
- Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy
- Solution focused brief therapy
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