NLP Master Practitioner Certification

Admission by consultation with Linda Ferguson. Please call 416-928-2394 at least 2 weeks before the beginning of any practitioner training.

Completing an NLP Master Practitioner Certification includes eight days of group training (two days of Masters only training and six days of working with NLP Practitioners). Training may also include one-to-one sessions with Dr. Linda Ferguson as required.

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NLP was developed to model patterns of excellence so that their behaviour could be transferred and their results could be replicated. The original models for NLP were models of excellence in psychotherapy, and the focus of NLP became the states, behaviours and strategies that allow one person to have a predictable influence on another. In the practitioner course, you learned the elements of influence and how to use them to “shift” the perspectives, states and behaviours of yourself or of another person. In the Masters course, you will gain skill in taking these elements and developing flexible, effective strategies for influence.

The work of the course is divided into three sections.  In the first section, Shiftwork, you will become more flexible and more elegant in eliciting the structure of a person’s experience and the strategies they use to get the results they are getting. You’ll also become more adept at identifying leverage points and building the rapport necessary to get permission to do changework. Some participants will be more interested in coaching applications and others will be interested in influence at work as leaders or sales professionals.

In the second section, you will attend and participate in the practitioner training.  You will use the training as a laboratory for building three key competencies:

Personal State Management. Your influence in one-to-one interactions depends on your ability to hold congruent outcomes. As a master practitioner, you will become more expert in knowing when you are congruent, in choosing and supporting the states in which you are able to hold congruent outcomes, and in identifying areas where you need to do work in order to better manage your state.

Calibration. In the practitioner course, you played calibration games to heighten your sensory acuity and build unconscious competence in recognizing states. As a master, you will calibrate using all the tools available to you: sensory acuity, metaphor, language patterns, and perceptual positions. Throughout all phases of the training, you will practice noticing states, identifying them, and finding ways to verify your observation.  Much of the verification will now take place by observing changes in rapport. You will still think of rapport in conventional terms as the outward sign of a willingness to meet on common ground.  You will also begin to think of rapport as a way to observe the most accurate information about a client’s state and strategies and to use rapport to know when you have permission to introduce change.

Framing. The most elegant way to influence someone is often hidden in plain sight. Framing means using the context around an intervention or edit to shift perception and possibility. In the practitioner course, you were conscious of framing in the Six Step Reframe edit, but you were influenced by framing as the trainers set up different exercises or sequenced exercises in specific ways. Framing is a matter of both intention (you can set up contexts to privilege the responses you want) and incorporation (you can heighten your awareness of context to make use of whatever the context provides). You will observe and use linguistic frames (explanations and stories) and physical context to strengthen your influence or develop new opportunities.

The third section of the course is Storywork. In this section (the final day of the course), you will revisit the narratives of the practitioner training with particular emphasis on strategies and frames. You’ll practice developing and delivering stories as a way of noticing and influencing the way conscious and unconscious processes interact in your own state and in the states experienced by the people you influence. You’ll notice the relationship between stories and perceptual positions and appreciate the way that a narrative frame structures an interaction and opens and closes feedback loops. This will naturally lead us to consider the process of influence and to notice the storyline we develop in each interaction. 

Recommended Reading

The course comes with a manual that covers our practitioner material from a different perspective, a copy of the current practitioner manual if you don't have one, and a recommendation that you buy My Voice Will Go with You: The Teaching Tales of Milton Erickson (available from Kobo as an ebook or online from or We’ll refer to this as Tales throughout this manual.

Shiftwork by Dr. Linda Ferguson is a useful complement to this manual, explaining and demonstrating the principles of personal change and choice. Click on the link on the right to order your copy.

If you are interested in understanding where NLP fits into the world of coaching and change models, I recommend NLP Coaching: An evidence-based approach for coaches, leaders and individuals (Susie Linder-Pelz, London: Kogan Page, 2010). This book is quite technical and not all masters will benefit from it but it does allow you to place your training into the broader fields of coaching and coaching psychology.

We used to require that Masters purchase Turtles All the Way Down  (Grinder & DeLozier) because it is the source of New Code NLP. Unfortunately, it is now out of print.  You may wish to browse through our copies during the course and decide whether or not you’d like to track down a copy through or Excerpts from Turtles All the Way Down (TAWD) appear throughout the manual.