NLP - Background

NLP is a relatively new discipline dating back to the mid-1970s. The term Neuro Linguistic Programming was originated by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Dr John Grinder was a professor of linguistics at the University of California in Santa Cruz and, at that time, had already published a number of books in the field of linguistics known as Transformational Grammar. Richard Bandler was a student of mathematics and computers also at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

Richard Bandler discovered that he had an inherent gift for modeling and hearing patterns. He became interested in Fritz Perls' work on this Gestalt Therapy and he discovered that he could detect and replicate patterns in Gestalt Therapy from just a very limited exposure. Bandler Subsequently discovered that he could model Perls' therapeutic processes and he achieved immediate and powerful results with clients through his use of those techniques.

Richard also discovered that he could model others and, with encouragement from Grinder, he was given the opportunity to model one of the world's foremost family therapists Virginia Satir. He almost immediately identified that Virginia utilised seven specific patterns and, as he and John began to apply those patterns, they discovered that they were able to replicate Virginia's therapies with equal success.

Richard applied his computer programming knowledge and experience by breaking down processes into component parts. To this very basic metaphor, John added his extensive knowledge of transformational grammar. This was the basis for their model of human programming.

Bandler and Grinder were later introduced to Milton Eriksson MD by the well-known anthropologist, and neighbour of theirs, Gregory Bateson. Eriksson had developed the model of communication that we now know as Erikssonian hypnosis and, as Bandler and Grinder modeled Eriksson, they discovered that they could achieve similar results. Many of today's NLP techniques can be traced back to the initial modeling of Erikssonian hypnotic processes.

From their research and their original experiences, Bandler and Grinder developed their first model of communication. This model provides us with a theoretical understanding of how we as humans are programmed by languages and how we develop regular and systematic behaviours and responses. The model also provided the means for individuals to achieve personal improvement and change.

The original NLP model then expanded to incorporate materials from other disciplines including Cybernetics, philosophy, cognitive psychology, and neurology. Today, NLP is being applied worldwide across many disciplines including business, education, athletics, medicine and of course within many branches of therapy.

Most NLP practitioners will tell you that Neuro Linguistic Programming primarily focuses on the study of excellence. Whatever you wish to improve you should study the best. NLP offers you a model for learning how to recognize excellence and how to emulate it.

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