Our NLP Trainer, Jonathan Altfeld, at the Mastery InSight Institute

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Jonathan Altfeld

Committed to helping you achieve your goals and dreams, through exquisite abilities, deep skills, and profoundly useful strategies of communication & behavior.

Since 1997, after a successful career in AI (Artificial Intelligence), Jonathan has been offering unique and innovative NLP-based workshops around the globe.  In all of his training and coaching work, two themes have remained persistent:

1. Jonathan focuses less on learning NLP "In general" and more towards the successful use of NLP for specific business topics and skills.  Jonathan focuses on modeling successful strategies and then applying NLP to real-world business contexts.

2. Jonathan does not believe large-audience presentations leads to skilled practitioners.  Instead, students are far better served by small classes, active mentoring, and highly layered training experiences using advanced training methods like "the discovery method," and more.  You can expect this with us!

During live training, this helps you acquire deep, integrated skills. 

In coaching, this helps you achieve goals more efficiently, and thoroughly.

Jonathan's Academic and Corporate Background

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Jonathan's undergraduate work at Cornell University and Eckered College focused on Architecture, Computer Science, English and Philosophy. His graduate work was in robotics and artificial intelligence (but halfway through his MS, he left for a "dream job" in AI, and never looked back at academia).

    "I learned more about practical applications of artificial intelligence in 1 month of working at Inference Corporation than I think I had in years of academic work. It was a real trial by fire."

And Jonathan emerged from those trials victoriously... he rose to the top of the AI field, ultimately presenting some of his work at Equifax Payment Systems (while a consultant at Brightware Corporation) at an AI awards conference in 1996, along with selling and then delivering multi million dollar AI-based software projects.

The most relevant NLP aspect of this background is that Jonathan had already had a successful career doing cognitive modeling, before ever hearing of NLP Modeling.

Jonathan's NLP Background

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In 1996 & 1997, Jonathan was looking for something to augment his AI interviewing skills, to help him more effectively unpack experts' intelligent strategies. He found that in NLP. What he also found was that he was an absolute natural at NLP; NLP rapidly became another calling.

Then he attended weekend trainings from a handful of trainers, to get a broad overview and experience with a range of different trainers. Jonathan counts this as one of the most important contributors to the strength of his NLP foundation.

He chose Rex Steven Sikes for his 14-day Practitioner certification training, and is immensely glad he did so. Rex offered an amazingly strong and balanced skills-driven foundation. Rex is following his major passion today, making independent films! You can find out more about Rex Sikes here.

Jonathan chose Richard Bandler & John La Valle for both his Master Practitioner & Trainer certifications. These were formative learning experiences and were the right step for Jonathan to take his skills further. Nothing equates to learning from one of the field's co-founders. Or both, if you can (i.e., Richard Bandler co-created NLP with John Grinder).

Jonathan continued to train both for and with multiple other trainers and exemplars over the years since 1997, including NLP exemplar Frank Farrelly, creator of Provocative Therapy. Jonathan has been an invited trainer for Andy Szekely in Romania, Michael Kold in Denmark, Jeff Goodwin in Scotland, Michael Beale & Nigel Heath and Andy Smith and others in the UK, Roger Deaner in Melbourne, and has had his evening events sponsored or promoted by MANY others, including Inspiritive in Sydney, Blue Skye Transformation in Brisbane, and the list goes on.

He has also contributed multiple offerings of immense and innovative value to the NLP world, not the least of which is his "Knowledge Engineering" method of modeling beliefs and belief systems (now part of the Belief Craft training with Doug O'Brien). Multiple other training organizations around the world have invited Jonathan in to teach the analytical modeling portion of their Master Practitioner courses - including Andy Smith in Manchester UK, and Roger Deaner of LeaderVision in Melbourne Australia. Melbourne-based trainer James Tsakalos has been including a light version of KE in his Master Practitioner trainings for several years now.

While Jonathan does train occasional Practitioner & Master Practitioner courses, his primary interests are to offer short, targeted courses on specific applications/uses of NLP. I.e., "How to get best results applying NLP to Public Speaking, or Humor, or Nonverbal Communication, or Sales, etc." He leaves long theory-driven courses to other trainers, and focuses on reaching actual, measurable, powerful results.


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One of Jonathan's very good friends, James Tsakalos, an NLP trainer based in Melbourne Australia, wrote a beautiful exposé on NLP Certification. We agree with every word!

Certification in the NLP marketplace is a business concept. It isn't taken as licensure or any form of legal approval by any country or state board (exception: the Collingwoods in Sydney have created a nationally accredited Graduate cert program). It isn't recognized by any professional organizations outside of the field of NLP, such as in law, or medicine, or psychology, etc. It's a distinction within the field of NLP. Most certifying bodies are owned by single trainers. It's a business distinction. It was a way for disparate training organizations to exclude each other (some of which is a good thing, in today's market, with all the garbage NLP training there is out there).

Jonathan used to certify through the Society of NLP, and chose to stop doing so years ago. Some years ago, certifications in NLP ceased to mean much of anything. If you do the research, you'll find that what one training organization thinks is a "Practitioner" does not necessarily even remotely match what another organization thinks is a "Practitioner."

Our opinion: Certification is about money. Perhaps it used to be primarily about quality -- Jonathan likes to think it originally was. But when one organization can certify you as a practitioner after 3 weeks or more of training, another can certify you in a week, and now -- worse -- you can get certified by taking an online class -- the concept of certification having anything to do with your skill level is ridiculous.

We wish certification as a practitioner no matter where you go for training would mean you'd reached a certain level of knowledge and behavioral integration. Don't be fooled; as a generalization across the entire field, we think it doesn't. You are free to do the research yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Evidence of our commitment to high skill levels: With the Master Practitioner courses Jonathan runs with either Doug O'Brien (the weekend module format) or Rex Sikes (the intensive format), most "7-day or less Practitioner training graduates" would NOT be accepted/allowed into our courses. They'd be overwhelmed before day 1 was over. We start at a significantly higher level than most of today's Practitioner courses end.

More evidence: We commit to ensuring that our Practitioners will be amongst the best-prepared students for any other Master Practitioner courses. Our students have even found some other trainers' Master Practitioner courses fun, but disappointingly rudimentary.

What should you expect from an NLP Trainer?

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Ideally speaking, anyone from whom you seek NLP Training should be an NLP Practitioner, an NLP Master Practitioner, and a Trainer of NLP, mostly trained by either (or perhaps both) of the two co-founders of NLP.

Your NLP trainer should be able, on the fly, to not only be able to explain NLP topics to you, but masterfully demonstrate them as well, without notes, without planning.

Your NLP trainer should encourage you to train with as many different trainers as possible, across multiple camps (even if just briefly - so you can get a sense of their training style, personally). This is congruent with the Basic NLP Tenet of Requisite Variety. Requisite Variety suggests that the more varied our experiences, the richer and more flexible we become.

And yes, Jonathan Altfeld matches all of the above criteria.

Warning Signs to AVOID from NLP Trainers

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We've seen trainers in videos reading most or all of their examples from a cheat-sheet. This is exceedingly disappointing. It shows a lack of creativity and behavioral flexibility by the trainer.

Some trainers put on a major sales pitch for discounted "packages" of multiple certification trainings. This outright violates the NLP tenet of Requisite Variety! Behaviorally, it suggests they think their earnings are more important than the richness of your education and skill level. Choose a different trainer for every single certification training. You can thank us later.

Shockingly, some trainers certify online, or through a DVD or CD set! Disappointingly, some trainers certify with less than 7 long days of live training. In our opinion, 7 days is the minimum for even close to sufficient skill; even 7 days is excessively short in our opinion. We still do 10 full days of training.

Some trainers have NEVER trained with either of the co-founders, and became trainers certified by other trainers who aren't the founders. Consider this a behavioral equivalent of the kids game "Telephone," where the message gets distorted the further away one gets from the original founders of the field. Oh -- they'll deny it, vehemently. They may have a lot of good things to offer, but it's less like actual NLP, the further away a trainer gets from the founders. (As long as the co-founders are alive... there's really no excuse for this).

Our 15+ Years of Training History

Here is a complete history of the public courses Jonathan Altfeld has taught around the world:

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Seminar Title & LinkLocationDateHost
Personal Enhancement Tampa, FL Sept. 1997  
NLP Practitioner Training Ft. Lauderdale, FL January 1998  
NLP Skills-Builders Washington DC Sept. 1998  
NLP Practitioner Training Tampa, FL October 1998  
Knowledge Engineering London UK Dec. 1998  
Self-Empowerment Los Angeles Dec. 1998  
NLP Skills-Builders Boca Raton, FL January 1999  
NLP Skills-Builders San Francisco CA March 1999  
NLP Skills-Builders London UK May 1999  
NLP Skills-Builders Sydney Australia July 1999  
Knowledge Engineering Melbourne Austr. July 1999  
NLP Skills-Builders Houston TX October 1999  
NLP Practitioner Training Tampa FL October 1999  
Linguistic Wizardry Boston MA January 2000  
NLP Skills-Builders Cincinnati OH May 2000  
Linguistic Wizardry Washington DC May 2000  
Linguistic Wizardry London UK June 2000  
Linguistic Wizardry Sydney Australia July 2000  
FLIRTOPIA Orlando FL Sept. 2000  
Knowledge Engineering London UK Dec. 2000  
Knowledge Engineering Los Angeles CAJanuary 2001  
Irresistible Voice New York, NY March 2001  
Linguistic Wizardry Boca Raton, FL April 2001  
Linguistic Wizardry Dallas, TX May 2001
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL August 2001
Practitioner Training (mod.3) Milton Keynes, UK October 2001 Michael Beale / PPI
Linguistic Wizardry London UK October 2001
Persuasion Summit Tampa, FL Nov. 2001
Linguistic Wizardry Washington, DC Dec. 2001
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL January 2002
Linguistic Wizardry Cincinnati, OH March 2002
Linguistic Wizardry Miami, FL April 2002
A Taste of Wizardry Boston, NYC, Toronto April 2002
Linguistic Wizardry Boston, MA August 2002
Linguistic Wizardry Los Angeles, CA October 2002
Linguistic Wizardry London, UK Nov. 2002
Beyond Linguistic Wizardry London, UK Dec. 2002
Linguistic Wizardry New York, NY April 2003
Linguistic Wizardry Sydney, Australia April 2003
Knowledge Engineering Manchester, UK May 2003 Coaching Leaders
Linguistic Wizardry London, UK May 2003
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL June 2003
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL October 2003
NLP Skills-Builders Orlando, FL October 2003
Linguistic Wizardry Orlando, FL October 2003
Knowledge Engineering Orlando, FL October 2003
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL Feb. 2004
Knowledge Engineering Los Angeles, CA March 2004
Linguistic Wizardry San Francisco, CA April 2004
Belief Craft (w/ O'Brien)London, UK June 2004
Knowledge Engineering Melbourne Austr.July 2004
Linguistic Wizardry Toronto, Ontario Sept. 2004
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL October 2004
Belief Craft (w/ O'Brien)Orlando, FL Nov. 2004
Linguistic Wizardry London, UK Dec. 2004
Holographic Communication London, UK Dec. 2004
Linguistic Wizardry Dallas, TX March 2005
Linguistic Wizardry Tampa, FL April 2005
Holographic Communication San Francisco, CA May 2005
UK Evening Event Tour 5 Cities in the UK June 2005 Multiple hosts
Holographic Communication Melbourne Austr. July 2005
NLP & Selling Bucharest, Romania October 2005 Andy Szekely
Linguistic Wizardry Amsterdam, NL Nov. 2005
Linguistic Wizardry Los Angeles, CA March 2006
NLP & Selling (Twice) Knoxville, TN March 2006 Private corp. host
Knowledge Engineering San Francisco, CA April 2006
Knowledge Engineering Melbourne Austr. April 2006
Holographic Communication Oxford, UK May 2006 Nigel Heath
(So.UK NLP Group)
NLP & Selling Tampa, FL August 2006
Linguistic Wizardry Toronto, Canada Sept. 2006
NE USA Evening Events Toronto, DC, NYC, Boston Sept. 2006
Knowledge Engineering Tampa, FL October 2006
Linguistic Wizardry Glasgow, Scotland October 2006 NLP Scotland
Knowledge Engineering Melbourne Austr. Nov. 2006 LeaderVision
The FAST(R) Advantage Melbourne Austr. Nov. 2006
NLP & Selling Tampa, FL Dec. 2006
Holographic Communication Tampa, FL Feb. 2007
Linguistic Wizardry New York City March 2007 Doug O'Brien
Knowledge Engineering Glasgow, Scotland May 2007 NLP Scotland
Holographic Communication Oxford, UK May 2007 Nigel Heath
(So.UK NLP Group)
Linguistic Wizardry Seattle, WA July 2007  
Linguistic Wizardry Amsterdam, NL Sept. 2007  
Your Irresistible Voice London, UK Sept. 2007  
Holographic Communication Orlando, FL October 2007  
Your Irresistible Voice New York City October 2007  
Knowledge Engineering Atlanta, GA Dec. 2007  
Linguistic Wizardry Los Angeles, CA Jan. 2008  
Holographic Communication Copenhagen, Denmark April 2008 NLP Europe
Your Irresistible Voice Melbourne, Austr. May 2008  
Belief Craft Tampa, FL June 2008 Doug O'Brien
NLP Master Practitioner Tampa, FL June 2008 Doug O'Brien
Holographic Communication New York City October 2008  
Your Irresistible Voice San Francisco, CA November 2008  
Holographic Communication Amsterdam, NL Nov/Dec 2008  
NLP & Selling Dallas, TX Jan. 2009  
Holographic Communication Toronto, Canada Jan. 2009  
Your Irresistible Voice Denver, CO April 2009  
Silent Exchanges New York City July 2009  
Silent Exchanges New York City July 2009  
Linguistic WizardryCharlotte NC Aug. 2009  
Speaking Ingeniously Melbourne Australia Oct. 2009  
Irresistible Voice New York City Nov. 2009  
Speaking Ingeniously New York City Dec. 2009  
FAST™ Training DesignChambersburg Jan. 2010  
Outrageously Funny Baltimore, MD May 2010  
NLP Sales Wizardry New York City Aug. 2010  
Irresistible Voice Baltimore, MD Oct. 2010  
Outrageously Funny New York City Nov. 2010  
NLP Sales Wizardry Charlotte, NC Jan. 2011  
Your Irresistible Voice Los Angeles, CA Feb. 2011  
NLP Practitioner Gaithersburg, MD Feb-Apr '11 
Speaking Ingeniously Portland, OR May 2011  
Belief Craft Burlington, VT July 2011 Doug O'Brien
NLP Master Practitioner Burlington, VT July 2011 Doug O'Brien
NLP Sales Wizardry Washington DC September 2011  
Outrageously Funny Secaucus NJNovember 2011  
NLP Sales Wizardry Washington DC December 2011  
NLP Practioner ModulesWashington DC Dec. 2011 - Feb. 2012  
NLP Practitioner Intensive Washington DC February 2012  
Speaking Ingeniously Orlando, FL May 2012  
Belief Craft Washington DCJuly 2012  
NLP Sales Wizardry Washington DC August 2012  
NLP Practitioner Intensive Orlando, FLNovember 2012  
Belief Craft Washington DCDecember 2012  
Rex Sikes Evening TourL.A., NYC, DCFebruary 2013  
NLP Sales WizardryBaltimore, MDMarch, 2013  
Speaking IngeniouslyWashington DCApril, 2013  
Becoming Outrageously FunnyWashington DCAugust, 2013  
Belief CraftNew York CitySeptember 2013  
NLP Business PractitionerWashington DCOct/Nov/Dec 2013  
NLP Sales WizardryWashington DCJanuary 2014  
Speaking IngeniouslyWashington DCMarch 2014