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Practicing NLP


My partner has his masters degree in nlp, he wants to start practicing phobia cures, self help etc. I want to know what legalities there are involved, does he need to register as a business? Pay tax? He has a job and only wants to do it on the side. Any help would be appreciated!


Hi Hayley,

There are 4 parts to this query.

Firstly, can anyone say they are an NLP Practitioner?

As far as I know, (from when I did my training) there is no governing body of NLP. Meaning anyone can hang up his or her sign to say they are an NLP Practitioner. This is the case in Australia certainly. Your business association can tell you what kinds of occupations need to be registered.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing. A plumber or hair dresser has to meet a certain level of training and be registered. You can’t just call yourself a doctor or lawyer, you have to be registered.

Secondly, what types of advertising or claims can you make?

There are certain safe claims such as self development, motivation, smoking cessation and confidence. Whether you can claim cures for cancer, or even phobias is a different thing. Many countries have fine lines about what you can say you can achieve.

So for instance, even if a cosmetic cream effectively eliminates wrinkles overnight, you can’t say this. This is why ads say “reduces the appearance of wrinkles”

Check out the claims made by bigger NLP practitioners/trainers. You will see they are pretty conservative.

Thirdly, registering a business

In Australia, I can set up as a sole practitioner using my own name, but if I use another name like “The NLP Practice” I have to register that name. This is so clients know who is behind the name. Your business association will be able to make it clear if this is the same in UK.

Fourthly, paying tax and what it means to “be in business”

Once again, in Australia, pretty well any additional income you earn is subject to tax unless you can prove it is a hobby. And this is difficult to prove here if the income is regular. It is one thing to sell something you found in the attic and another to go to antique fairs to buy and sell stuff regularly.

However, we can also claim the expenses we incurred in gaining that income, like advertising, telephone and electricity related to consulting space, mileage, stationery, business cards etc.

English tax law likely has similar provisions. Check with the tax department or your accountant.

This isn’t something I can advise you on. Business, consumer and tax laws vary in different countries. I would think though that the UK has a business start up organization which can give you some solid advice.

Maybe other practitioners in the UK would like to comment on this? I think it’s a really good topic to open up.

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