Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) originated when Richard Bandler - a student at University of California Santa Cruz - and linguist John Grinder were listening to and selecting portions of taped therapy sessions of the late Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls.
They recognised that the way people used language had some effect on their behaviour. Using this model they were able to come up with a whole range of complicated names of ways we use language and interect.
More ideas were developed when the pair were introduced to Milton Erikson - his use of language and the individual way he addressed each person made them realise that it was an effective way to taylor therapy.
NLP was originally promoted by its co-founders in the 1970s as an effective and rapid form of therapy capable of addressing the full range of problems such as phobias, depression, habit disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, and learning disorders.
There is some debate how effective NLP can be, but certainly the fast phobia technique and the Swish have proven to be effective, certainly to myself and the clients I have used it on. Using metaphors and reframing situations can help getting people focusing on the more positive aspects of their lives. Such techniques as anchors are repeatedly used in sports hypnosis, to fix a certain feeling, thought or action firmly in the mind of the sportsperson so they perform exactly how they rehearsed mentally. If you watch sports events carefully, you may see a sportsperson move their hand or finger in a slightly odd way, this is the anchoring technique in action.