The Origins of Neuro Linguistic Programming brings together the recollections and thoughts of some of the main protagonists from the very early days of NLP. In 1971 Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik were students at Kresege College at the University of California Santa Cruz. They had a strong mutual interest in Gestalt Therapy, Frank because of his traumatic time in Vietnam and because he had been working with some disaffected and drug-addicted kids, and Richard because he had been working with Science and Behavior Books on transcribing and editing Fritz Perls’ seminal work, The Gestalt Approach and Eyewitness to Therapy. They started a local gestalt group and ran 2-3 sessions a week collaborating and experimenting with the language of therapy. They started achieving some brilliant results but were having problems transferring their skills to others and so Richard invited one of their college professors, John Grinder, to observe what they were doing in order that he would, hopefully, be able to deconstruct what they were doing that was so effective. John was a professor of Linguistics and was instantly impressed with the work that they were doing. He was able to add more structure and in due course the three of them formalised what is now known as the Meta Model. NLP was born.
John and Frank and each of the other contributors give their own personal account of this period of collaboration when something magical was happening in northern California. Of particular interest is the role Gregory Bateson played, particularly in bringing John and Richard together with Milton H Erickson. Contributors include:
• Robert Dilts
• Stephen Gilligan
• Judith Delozier
• Byron Lewis
• Terry McClendon (author of the first history of NLP,
The Wild Days).
An extremely insightful and riveting read for anyone interested in NLP.
To Richard BandlerYour voice is not here, only echoes of it. Your intelligence, your fear-lessness, and your presence are apparent in many of the narratives. Weformed a team, the three of us, then the two of us, and against all odds,we succeeded in creating something distinct and radical and set it free inthe world.It was a great adventure!John GrinderFrank PucelikContentsPrologue: A Suggestion to the Reader (Carmen Bostic-St. Clair) 1Introduction: Refections on Te Origins of Neuro-Linguistic 5Programming (John Grinder)Te Fundamental Strategy 11Part 1Chapter 1: Lots of “Times,” Some Easy, Some Fun, Some Hard 21(R. Frank Pucelik)Te “Originals” that Chose Not to Contribute toTis Compilation of Chapters 36Chapter 2: My Road to NLP (Terry McClendon) 41Gestalt with Richard 42Parts Party 44Te Meta Model 45Hypnosis in the Santa Cruz Mountains 45Ongoing Development 46Current Refections 48Chapter 3: Te Early Days of NLP (Judith DeLozier) 51Chapter 4: Youth Services in Santa Cruz: Te First NLP CommunityTesting Ground (David R. Wick) 55Te Creation of Youth Services 56Finding Neuro-Linguistic Programming 57NLP: Te Wild and Crazy People 58Integrating NLP into Youth Services 59Did It Work? 60Epilogue 63Chapter 5: My Parts Party: Early Dissociated State Terapy 65(Byron Lewis)UCSC Special Studies: Eric 66Alba Road 67Alba Road Revisited 68Te Exorcism 69M.E.T.A. Institute 71M.E.T.A. International 72Substance Abuse Treatment 72Postscript 73Part 2Introduction to Part 2 (John Grinder) 77Te Love Song of NLP (Joyce Michaelson) 79Chapter 6: Te Middle of Know Where: My Early Days in NLP 81(Stephen Gilligan)Chapter 7: Commentary on “Te Middle of Know Where” 95(John Grinder)Chapter 8: “It’s a Fresh Wind that Blows against the Empire” 105(James Eicher)A Voice of Signifcance 105Prologue: Context 106Part 1: Te Family Ballet or “What, Specifcally?” 107Part 2: Bateson Sighting 116Part 3: Something about Tomato Plants, But It’s All a Bit Fuzzy 119Part 4: Trough the Corpus Callosum – From the Meta Modelto the Milty Model: Te Birth of NLP 125From Families to Organizations: My Personal andProfessional Journey 129Chapter 9: Commentary on “It’s a Fresh Wind that Blows against 133the Empire” (John Grinder)Chapter 10: My Early History with NLP (Robert Dilts) 145Chapter 11: “Te Answer, My Friend, is Blowin’ in the Wind”(John Grinder) 175Epilogue (Carmen Bostic-St. Clair) 225I. Te Stage and the Players 227II. Te Main Script: NLP Modeling 228III. Te Casting Calls 232IV. Group Improvisations: Te First and Second StagesUtilized for Rehearsals of the Play 238V. Unscripted Parts 246VI. Te Epilogue of the Play 251INTrOduCTIONRefections on The Origins ofNeuro-Linguistic ProgrammingJohn grinderTis book has as its purpose a description of the origins of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Note, please the use of the indefnitearticle a in the phrase, a description of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.Te co-editors of this book, Frank Pucelik and John Grinder, were twoof the three prime movers in the creation of NLP and one or both ofthem were present at the majority of the events described herein thatdefne the origins of NLP. A third voice, that of Richard Bandler, is notpresent in this book as he elected not to participate.Te presentation of the origins of a feld presents an interesting chal-lenge for a number of reasons – among them, the fact that memory isreconstructive.Here is easily the most responsible act I, as an author and a co-editor,can ofer you as the reader of this book. It takes the form of a warning.In approaching what you are about to read, keep in mind the followingthree points in what you encounter in this volume:1. A signifcant portion of what is described never happened!According the latest models of memory processes, memoriesare not stored as intact units to be retrieved and displayed. Teyare stored in distinct physical locations (the primary corticalareas for each of the corresponding input channels) of the cen-tral nervous system; more specifcally in separate representa-tional systems. Te connections among them are mediated bysynesthesia circuitry.To remember, then, is to reassemble portions of experiencestored in separate locations into what appears (in the present)to be a coherent representation of some experience in the past,one that satisfes the present intentions and requirements ofthe person doing the remembering. Such present intentionsand requirements of the person remembering operate as flterson the search mechanisms that reconstitute the memory.Tus, all such representations are ultimately, and profoundly,works of fction. By the way, the fact that they are fction isNOT a disqualifcation, simply an epistemological warningabout the veracity of what you are reading.So, what do you suppose is the probability of getting thesepieces reassembled so as to match the archival representationof some omniscient, ever present (and non-existent) audio vis-ual 360 degree recording apparatus in the sky?2. Memory is selective and essentially incomplete!Tus, memories can be expected to vary as a function not onlyof the state, intentions, and fltering that existed at the time ofthe actual event but also as a function of state, present inten-tions, and fltering of the person reconstructing the memoryin the present. Distinct portions of the reconstruction beingreported will be identifed and presented and others will not. Asthe state, intentions, and requirements of the person remem-bering shift, so will the representations of what occurred.Some of these diferences will depend on the granularity of therepresentation (its specifcity) and whether it is confned to aspecifc logical type of representation – description, interpre-tation, and evaluation (assuming that the person making thereconstruction, or indeed the reader, can make the distinctionamong these varying modes of representation). Tis is unlikelyas the vast majority of the members of the fourth estate haveyet to notice or are unable or unwilling to respect.Test it for yourself – remember the last dinner you ate in a res-taurant. OK, ready – make a representation of what occurred …Got it!Cool, but what about the color of the border of the menu? Didthe servers actually present the fresh dishes from one side ofthe diner and remove the used dishes from the other side?How were the portions of the dinner arranged on the servingplatters? Were the chargers color coordinated with the fowerson the sideboard (what sideboard!)? Who spoke frst after theordering was complete? Did the following speakers at the tablereplicate the rhythm of the frst speaker’s voice or was there asignifcant contrast? Did the volume of sound in the restaurantrise and fall with a certain temporal frequency? Did the textureof the side dishes complement the texture of the main dish?How clearly could you hear the sounds of the kitchen whereyour food was being prepared? How frequently did the peoplesitting beside each other mirror the others’ physical move-ments as compared with people facing one another either atthe same table or the one to your left as you sat at the table?Did the chairs you all sat in make a loud sound when movedduring the seating ritual? Was the waiter/waitress right or lefthanded? Was the tablecloth arranged as a square or a diamondwith respect to the table it covered … a furry of questions,most of little or no interest for most people.Te point here is that in reconstructing a memory, you areconfronted with the task of selecting from among a very large(although fnite) set of possible things to represent. Tosethings that actually end up in your reconstruction are thereas an indicator of your intentions and interests, now, as youreconstruct the memory. In the provocations above about yourdinner at the restaurant, I confned myself largely to physi-cal aspects of the event. What if we were to venture into therelationships implicit at that table and the complex operationsimplied by these relationships? Now the situation gets evenmore complex. If you were able to compare what you recon-structed with respect to the dinner in the restaurant withthis archive, do you suppose that your reconstruction wouldcontain more or less than the archival fle referred to above.Surprisingly, the answer is both – you would fnd a vast arrayof things that were not reconstructed in your representationand some things in your representation would NOT be presentin the archive captured by that ubiquitous recording system inthe sky.Tere are higher level diferences that emerge in addition to theessentially incomplete and selective nature of your reconstruc-tion of the dinner. Was your representation biased, focusinglargely on the visual aspects of that dinner/restaurant event?Was any attention given to the sounds of the environment(the restaurant)? What about the tastes and combinations andsequences of tastes, the developing of various topics in theconversation, and how the feelings of the people at the tableshifted with the development of the conversations about thesevarious topics?3. Does it really matter what happened historically?What is the point of examining the historical development ofsomething as complex as the birth of a new feld? Are you hop-ing to catch a glimpse of the processes of discovery, possiblyeven with the intention of using such processes in making com-parable discoveries yourself? Are you so naive as to think thattwo human beings confronted with the “same” set of stimuli(experiences) will respond in the “same” way? Te same’s are inquotes to remind you that the same set of stimuli are NOT thesame when processed through distinct neurologies. Is it reallyrelevant to you as a researcher to know how someone else witha completely distinct background responded to the stimulithat were available at the origin of NLP? Do you really thinkthat playing the music of and dancing to Congolese traditionalrhythms, and training and riding Arabian trail horses … willassist you in becoming a better modeler? Does having devel-oped a set of efective patterns help guide young people outof the thick jungle of drugs towards a lighted path from whichsome of them can then reach back and guide their formermates? Is it really an advantage to speak some eight languages;or have a deep appreciation of battlefeld injuries and the cor-responding life-saving interventions required; or know how toderail a train with a minimum of plastic explosives; or hit a golfball 300 yards down the middle of the fairway; or to have a deepcomputational competency in automata theory; or how to rig aautomatic watering system for horse trough; or …Personally, I don’t think so. But then, it is very dangerous togeneralize from a sample of one.Yet, as I move around the globe ofering training, conferences, anddemonstrations, one of the most frequent questions is the historyquestion: What happened at the origin of the feld now known as NLP?and How did it happen? What ensues, if the person asked is willing toaccept the question, is a series of bedtime stories, meeting the require-ments of the speaker’s present intentions in presenting themselves tostrengthen the image of whoever the speaker is and what s/he wishesthe audience to carry away with them.So, step back a moment here before plunging into this maelstrom andask yourself the obvious question:What is the relationship, if any, between the technology of mod-eling and the history of discovery, assimilation, and coding of pat-terning in the feld now known as NLP?Isn’t the point of this simple but difcult adventure called the mod-eling of genius to detect, assimilate unconsciously, code, and dissemi-nate the patterning of geniuses? If this cycle of deep learning has anypoint, it is to make available the patterning of geniuses in a learnableform that integrates these patterns of genius into the performance ofpeople wishing to achieve higher quality and more efective results intheir worlds of application. Tis results in the raising of the bar in thatprofession. For example, the modeling of Dr. Milton Erickson requiredsome 10 months or so between frst contact and the coding of the pat-terning (see Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson,M.D. Volumes I and II).1 How many people have the time (10 months) aswell as the tolerance for the inherent ambiguity of the task of modelingand the competency to code the assimilated patterns into a descriptionthat would allow others to gain access to these patterns without thisenormous investment of time and talent?In medieval Europe, the accumulated tacit knowledge of various profes-sions, say, for example, of masonry, was passed from master to appren-tice through direct modeling – there were no shortcuts. Te apprenticemason prepared the site, carried the materials, did the clean up, andwhilst doing all this, if this apprentice were to succeed in becoming amason, he would notice and mark how, specifcally, the master masonapproached the various aspects of actually building that structure, set-ting up that foundation, and executing the plans of the architect.I recognize that the depth of integration of the patterning is quite dis-tinct (at least initially) as a function of the method of assimilation.If learning the patterning is accomplished inductively and throughunconscious assimilation, the patterns belong in a deep sense to thelearner. Such a learner then has the leisure to revisit such patterns andmay then ferret out the essential elements of the patterns and theirsequencing – the formal pattern itself or some functional equivalent.Tose learners following a conscious approach will certainly upgradetheir game; whether they ever achieve the depth of integration ofpatterning arrived at inductively is an open question. In our presentcontext, few people, if anyone, are prepared to enter the strange anddisorienting world of deep inductive learning, thus, the niche of mod-eler emerges.So, what will you do with these reconstructed tales fowing downthrough the decades since their actual occurrence, and channeledthrough the intentions, interests, and self-images of the people ofer-ing these representations?Good question!