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Contents

Articles
Neuro-linguistic programming 1
History of neuro-linguistic programming 11
NLP and science 16
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 22
Positive and negative (NLP) 29
Meta-model (NLP) 31
Milton model 40
Anchoring (NLP) 46
Therapeutic metaphor 51
Reframing 53
Representational systems (NLP) 55
Submodalities 60
Perceptual positions 63
Meta-programs 64
Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming 68
List of Neuro-linguistic programming topics 72
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 74

References
Article Sources and Contributors 86
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 88

Article Licenses
License 89
Neuro-linguistic programming 1

Neuro-linguistic programming

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to psychotherapy and organizational change based on "a
model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of
behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them" and "a system of alternative
therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change
their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour".[1]
The co-founders, Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder, believed that NLP would be useful in "finding ways to
help people have better, fuller and richer lives".[2] They coined the term "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" to
emphasize their belief in a connection between the neurological processes ("neuro"), language ("linguistic") and
behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience ("programming") and can be organized to achieve
specific goals in life.[3] [4] [5]
In early workshops by Bandler and Grinder and in books that followed, it was often claimed[6] that through the use
of NLP, problems especially phobias could be overcome in a single short session whereas traditional therapies would
have taken weeks, or even months of regular sessions to make progress.[7] [8] It was claimed that NLP was capable of
addressing the full range of problems that psychologists are likely to encounter, such as phobias, depression, habit
disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, and learning disorders.[9] It also espoused the potential for self-determination
through overcoming learned limitations[10] and emphasized well-being and healthy functioning. Later, it was
promoted as a "science of excellence", derived from the study or "modeling"[11] of how successful or outstanding
people in different fields obtain their results. Bandler and Grinder claimed that if the effective patterns of behaviour
of outstanding therapists (and other exceptional communicators) could be modeled then these patterns could be
acquired by others.[12]
NLP has been largely ignored by conventional social science in part due to a lack of professional credibility and
insufficient empirical evidence to substantiate its effectiveness[13] [14] , and is characterized by critics as a fringe or
cargo cult psychotherapy. NLP is seen from certain scientific, linguistic, and neuroscience perspectives as having a
pseudo-scientific name, concepts, terminology, and characteristics. NLP is used as an example of pseudo-science for
facilitating the teaching of scientific literacy at the professional and university level. NLP also appears on consensus
based expert-derived lists of discredited therapies and interventions.
Neuro-linguistic programming 2

History and founding


NLP originated when Richard Bandler, a student at University of California, Santa Cruz, was listening to and
selecting portions of taped therapy sessions of the late Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls as a project for Robert Spitzer.[15]
[16]
Bandler believed he recognized particular word and sentence structures which facilitated the acceptance of Perls'
therapeutic suggestions. Bandler took this idea to one of his university lecturers, John Grinder, a linguist. Together
they studied Perls's utterances on tape and observed a second therapist Virginia Satir to produce what they termed
the meta model, a model for gathering information and challenging a client's language and underlying thinking.[17]
The meta model was presented in 1975 in two volumes, The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and
Therapy and The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change, in which the authors expressed
their belief that the therapeutic "magic" as performed in therapy by Perls and Satir, and by performers in any
complex human activity, had structure that could be learned by others given the appropriate models. They believed
that implicit in the behavior of Perls and Satir was the ability to challenge distortion, generalization and deletion in a
client's language. The linguistic aspects were based in part on previous work by Grinder using Noam Chomsky's
transformational grammar.[18]
Challenging linguistic distortions, specifying generalizations, and recovery of deleted information in the client
utterances, the surface structure, was supposed to yield a more complete representation of the underlying deep
structure, and to have therapeutic benefit.[19] They drew ideas from Gregory Bateson and Alfred Korzybski,
particularly about human modeling and ideas associated with their expression, "the map is not the territory".[20] [21]
Satir and Bateson each agreed to write a preface to Bandler and Grinder's first book. Bateson also introduced the pair
to Milton Erickson who became their third model. Erickson also wrote a preface to Bandler and Grinder's
two-volume book series based on their observations of Erickson working with clients, Patterns of the Hypnotic
Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volumes I & II.[22] These volumes also focused on the language patterns and
some non-verbal patterns that Bandler and Grinder believed they observed in Erickson. While the meta model is
intentionally specific, the Milton model was described as "artfully vague" and metaphoric; the inverse of the meta
model. It was used in combination with the meta model as a softener, to induce trance, and to deliver indirect
therapeutic suggestion. In addition to the first two models, Bandler, Grinder and a group of students who joined them
during the early period of development of NLP, proposed other models and techniques, such as anchoring,
reframing, submodalities, perceptual positions, and representational systems.
At the time, the human potential movement was developing into an industry; at the centre of this growth was the
Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. Perls had led numerous Gestalt therapy seminars at Esalen. Satir was an early
leader and Bateson was a guest teacher. Bandler and Grinder claimed that in addition to being a therapeutic method,
NLP was also a study of communication, and by the late 1970s Grinder and Bandler were marketing it as a business
tool, claiming that "if any human being can do anything, so can you". After 150 students paid $1,000 each for a
ten-day workshop in Santa Cruz, California, Bandler and Grinder gave up academic writing and produced popular
books from seminar transcripts, such as Frogs into Princes, which sold more than 270,000 copies. According to
court documents, Bandler's NLP business made more than $800,000 in 1980.[17]

Applications

Psychotherapeutic
The early books about NLP had a psychotherapeutic focus especially given that the early models were
psychotherapists. As an approach to psychotherapy, NLP shares similar core assumptions and foundations in
common with some contemporary brief and systemic practices,[23] [24] [25] such as solution focused brief therapy.[26]
[27]
NLP has also been acknowledged as having influenced these practices[25] [28] with its reframing techniques[29]
[30]
which seeks to achieve behaviour change by shifting its context or meaning,[31] for example, by finding the
positive connotation of a thought or behaviour.
Neuro-linguistic programming 3

The two main therapeutic uses of NLP are: (1) use as an adjunct by therapists[32] practicing in other therapeutic
disciplines, and (2) as a specific therapy called Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy[33] which is recognized by the United
Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy[34] with accreditation governed at first by the Association for Neuro Linguistic
Programming[35] and more recently by its daughter organization the Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and
Counselling Association.[36]

Other uses
While the original goals of neuro-linguistic programming were therapeutic, the patterns have also been adapted for
use outside psychotherapy for interpersonal communications and persuasion including business communication,
management training,[37] sales,[38] sports,[39] and interpersonal influence,[40] used for coaching, team building, public
speaking, negotiation,[41] and communication. The UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development includes a
number of NLP courses including an application of NLP to coaching in its 2010 training programme.[42] A range of
books have been published related to the application of NLP to coaching.[43]

Criticism and controversy

Empirical validity
In the early 1980s, NLP was hailed as an important advance in psychotherapy and counseling,[44] and attracted some
interest in counseling research and clinical psychology. In the mid-1980s, reviews in The Journal of Counseling
Psychology[45] and by the National Research Council (1988; NRC) committee[40] found little or no empirical basis
for the claims about preferred representational systems (PRS) or assumptions of NLP. In an article published in
2005, psychologist Grant Devilly stated that at the time it was introduced, NLP was heralded as a breakthrough in
therapy, and advertisements for training workshops, videos and books began to appear in trade magazines. The
workshops provided certification. However, controlled studies shed such a poor light on the practice, and those
promoting the intervention made such extreme and changeable claims that researchers began to question the wisdom
of researching the area further.[44]
The experimental research that does exist was mostly done in the 1980s and 1990s, and on the whole was
unsupportive of the central assumptions and core models of NLP. It consisted of laboratory experimentation testing
Bandler and Grinder's hypotheses[46] that a person's preferred sensory mode of thinking can be revealed by observing
eye movement cues and sensory predicates in language use.[41] A research review conducted by Christopher
Sharpley which focused on preferred representational systems, in 1984,[47] followed by another review in 1987 in
response to a critique published by Einspruch and Forman,[48] concluded that there was little evidence for its
usefulness as an effective counseling tool. Reviewing the literature in 1988, Michael Heap also concluded that
objective and fair investigations had shown no support for NLP claims about "preferred representational
systems".[14]
A research committee[40] working for the United States National Research Council led by Daniel Druckman came to
two conclusions. First, the committee "found little if any" evidence to support NLP's assumptions or to indicate that
it is effective as a strategy for social influence. "It assumes that by tracking another's eye movements and language,
an NLP trainer can shape the person's thoughts, feelings, and opinions (Dilts, 1983[49] ). There is no scientific
support for these assumptions."[50] Secondly, the committee members "were impressed with the modeling approach
used to develop the technique. The technique was developed from careful observations of the way three master
psychotherapists conducted their sessions, emphasizing imitation of verbal and nonverbal behaviors... This then led
the committee to take up the topic of expert modeling in the second phase of its work."(Druckman, 2004)[50] Von
Bergen et al. (1997) state that "the most telling commentary on NLP may be that the latest revision of his text on
enhancing human performance, Druckman (Druckman & Bjork 1991) omitted all reference to Neurolinguistic
Programming."[51] These studies, in particular Sharpley's literature review, marked a decline in empirical research of
Neuro-linguistic programming 4

NLP, and particularly in matching sensory predicates and its use in counsellor-client relationship in counseling
psychology.
NLP practitioners and academics Tosey and Mathison have argued that the experimental approach is not always
appropriate for researching NLP, instead proposing that NLP should be researched phenomenologically.[52] [53]
Gareth Roderique-Davies (2009) stated that "Phenomenological research is free from hypotheses, pre-conceptions
and assumptions, and seeks to describe rather than explain. Given the claims made by proponents of NLP, this adds
little to the credibility debate and would produce reports concerning the experience from the perspective of the
individual rather than confirmation of the claimed efficacy. The fact remains that NLP proponents make specific
claims about how NLP works and what it can do and this compels providing evidence to substantiate these claims."
He argued that the proposal to conduct phenomenology research using NLP modeling "constitutes an admission that
NLP does not have an evidence base and that NLP practitioners are seeking a post-hoc credibility."[54]

Scientific criticism
NLP has been criticized beyond its lack of reliable evidence for effectiveness. Certain neuroscientists, linguists and
psychologists have written that; neuro-linguistic programming is a pseudo-scientific title; NLP uses pseudo-scientific
claims, concepts and terminology; NLP exhibits characteristics that identify pseudo-scientific developments; and
NLP appears on lists of discredited therapies.
The term neuro-linguistic programming has been identified by some sources as a pseudo-scientific title.
Roderique-Davies (2009) says that the name of neuro-linguistic programming is pseudo-scientific and wholly
inappropriate as it offers no explanation of behavior at the neurological level. Witkowski (2010) also states that at
the neuronal level NLP provides no explanation at all and it has nothing in common with academic linguistics or
programming. Similarly, Corballis (1999) has stated that "NLP is a thoroughly fake title, designed to give the
impression of scientific respectability".[55]
Witkowski (2010) states that NLP uses impressive sounding and similarly empty expressions such as;
pragmagraphics, surface structure, deep structure, accessing cues, non-accessing movement etc. Beyerstein (1995)
also says that NLP contains pseudo-scientifically applied terms such as eye accessing cues, metamodeling,
micromodeling, metaprogramming, neurological levels, presuppositions, representational systems, and
submodalities. He says this is to obfuscate and to give the impression of a scientific discipline. According to
Beyerstein (1995) "though it claims neuroscience in its pedigree, NLP's outmoded view of the relationship between
cognitive style and brain function ultimately boils down to crude analogies."[56]
With regard to the perceived promotion of popular myths and anti-scientific perspectives, Beyerstein (1995) has
implicated NLP in promoting a set of neuro-mythologies of the New Age involving a relativistic perspective and the
use of “you create your own reality” in an attempt to gain immunity from scientific testing. Devilly (2005) has used
NLP as an example of a type of pseudo-science called a “power therapy”, and has outlined a number of
characteristics that identify such pseudo-sciences. Such characteristics include the promotion of unobtainable goals,
rationalization traps, manufactured credibility, a set of specific beliefs, self generated persuasion, vivid appeals, the
use of common misconceptions, and attacks on critics through the use of innuendo.
NLP has also been included in literature critiquing pseudo-science in general. Sources include books such as Crazy
Therapies (1997), the Encyclopedia of Pseudo-science (2000), Science and Pseudo-science in Clinical Psychology
(2002) The Skeptic's Dictionary (2003) and Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain (2007). NLP has more recently
been used as a key example of pseudo-science to facilitate the understanding of the importance of rational and
critical thinking in a number of academic subjects. Lum (2001) uses NLP as an example for understanding the
difference between science and pseudo-science in language and speech therapy, and Lilienfeld et al (2001) and Dunn
et al (2008) have used NLP as an example of pseudo-science for teaching undergraduates how to identify
pseudo-scientific psychological interventions.
Neuro-linguistic programming 5

According to Witkowski (2010), NLP also appears on “the list of discredited therapies” published in the journal;
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. With reference to work by Carroll (2003), Della Sala (1999),
Lilienfeld et al (2003) and Singer and Lalich (1996) on identifying “pseudoscientific, unvalidated, or “quack”
psychotherapies”, Norcross et al. [57] have rated NLP on a continuum of discredited procedures. They listed
“Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for treatment of mental/behavioral disorders” at “3.87 (SD=0.92)” which
achieves a similar level of discredit as dolphin assisted therapy, equine therapy, psychosynthesis, scared straight
programs, and emotional freedom technique (EFT). Subsequent literature by Norcross et al. [58] shows that
“neurolinguistic programming for drug and alcohol dependence” was rated among the top ten most discredited of the
interventions included in the study, and in Glasner-Edwards and Rawson (2010), NLP is listed as “certainly
discredited”.

Intellectual property disputes


In the 1980s, shortly after publishing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I[59] with Robert Dilts and Judith
Delozier, Grinder and Bandler fell out. Amidst acrimony and intellectual property lawsuits, the NLP brand was
adopted by other training organizations.[40] Some time afterwards, John Grinder collaborated with various people to
develop a form of NLP called the New Code of NLP which claimed to restore a whole mind-body systemic approach
to NLP[21] [60] Richard Bandler also published new processes based on submodalities and Ericksonian hypnosis.[61]
In July 1996, after many years of legal controversy, Bandler filed a lawsuit against John Grinder and others, claiming
retrospective sole ownership of NLP, and also the sole right to use the term under trademark.[62] [63] At the same
time, Tony Clarkson (a UK practitioner) successfully asked the UK High Court to revoke Bandler's UK registered
trademark of "NLP", in order to clarify legally that "NLP" was a generic term rather than intellectual property.[64]
Despite the NLP community's being splintered, most NLP material acknowledges the early work of co-founders
Bandler and Grinder, as well as the development group that surrounded them in the 1970s. In June 2001, the lawsuits
were settled with Bandler and Grinder agreeing to be known as co-founders of NLP.

Practitioner standards
Since 1978, a 20-day NLP practitioner certification program had been in existence for training therapists to apply
NLP as an adjunct to their professional qualifications. As NLP evolved, and the applications began to be extended
beyond therapy, new ways of training were developed and the course structures and design changed. Course lengths
and style vary from institute to institute. In the 1990s, following attempts to put NLP on a regulated footing in the
UK, other governments began certifying NLP courses and providers; for example, in Australia, a Graduate
Certificate in Neuro-linguistic programming is accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework.[65]
However, NLP continues to be an open field of training with no "official" best practice. With different authors,
individual trainers and practitioners having developed their own methods, concepts and labels, often branding them
as "NLP",[66] the training standards and quality differ greatly.[67] The multiplicity and general lack of controls has
led to difficulty discerning the comparative level of competence, skill and attitude in different NLP trainings.
According to Peter Schütz, the length of training in Europe varies from 2–3 days for the hobbyist to 35–40 days over
at least nine months to achieve a professional level of competence.[67]
In Europe, the European NLP therapy association has been promoting its training in line with European therapy
standards.
In 2001, neuro-linguistic psychotherapy, a derivative of NLP, was recognized by the United Kingdom Council for
Psychotherapy as an experimental constructivist form of psychotherapy.[68]
Today, there are many competing organisations offering varying forms of NLP training and certification in what can
be a lucrative business. The Guardian reported that in 2006 that a seven day course by Paul McKenna's company for
600 delegates produced £1m of revenue.[69] Many variants of the practice are found in seminars, workshops, books
and audio programs in the form of exercises and principles intended to influence behavioral and emotional change in
Neuro-linguistic programming 6

self and others. There is great variation in the depth and breadth of training and standards of practitioners, and some
disagreement between those in the field about which patterns are, or are not, "NLP".[45] [70]

Notes and references


[1] Oxford English Dictionary, Draft revision September, 2009, "neurolinguistic programming n. a model of interpersonal communication chiefly
concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying
them; a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to
change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour." (http:/ / dictionary. oed. com/ cgi/ entry/ 00323586/ 00323586se1?single=1&
query_type=word& queryword=Neurolinguistic+ programming& first=1& max_to_show=10& hilite=00323586se1)
[2] From the book jacket of Bandler and Grinder (1975b)
[3] Tosey, P. & Mathison, J., (2006) " Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming (http:/ / www. som. surrey. ac. uk/ NLP/ Resources/
IntroducingNLP. pdf) Centre for Management Learning & Development, School of Management, University of Surrey.
[4] Dilts, R., Grinder, J., Delozier, J., and Bandler, R. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I: The Study of the Structure of Subjective
Experience. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. p. 2. ISBN 0-916990-07-9.
[5] However, Bandler has claimed that people are literally programmable. "When I started using the term 'programming,' people became really
angry. They said things like, 'You're saying we're like machines. We're human beings, not robots.' Actually, what I was saying was just the
opposite. We're the only machine that can program itself. We are 'meta-programmable.' We can set deliberately designed, automated programs
that work by themselves to take care of boring, mundane tasks, thus freeing up our minds to do other, more interesting and creative, things."
Bandler, R., (2008) Richard Bandler's Guide to Trance-formation: How to Harness the Power of Hypnosis to Ignite Effortless and Lasting
Change Publisher: Health Communications (HCi) ISBN 0-7573-0777-9
[6] e.g. (Steve Andreas in Bandler & Grinder, 1979 forward p.ii; and Stephen Lankton, 1980, pp 9–13)
[7] Full reference missing. According to Michael Heap in a paper on NLP written in 1988 for The Psychologist (the monthly magazine of the
British Psychological Society p. 261–262), one NLP workshop announcement claimed that spelling problems may be eliminated in five
minutes (NLP Training Programme).
[8] Bandler and Grinder state, "Our desire in this book [The Structure of Magic] is not to question the magical quality of our experience of these
therapeutic wizards, but rather to show that this magic that they perform – psychotherapy...like other complex human activities such as
painting, composing music, or placing a man on the moon – has structure and is, therefore learnable, given the appropriate resources. Neither
is it our intention to claim that reading a book can ensure that you will have these dynamic qualities. We especially do not wish to make the
claim that we have discovered the 'right' or most power approach to psychotherapy. We only desire to present a specific set of tools that seem
to us to be implicit in the actions of these therapists, so you may begin or continue the never-ending process to improve, enrich and enlarge the
skills you offer as a people-helper".
[9] It was even alleged (Grinder & Bandler, 1981, p. 166) that a single session of NLP combined with hypnosis can eliminate certain eyesight
problems such as myopia, and can even cure a common cold (op.cit., p. 174)...(Also, op.cit., p. 169) Bandler and Grinder make the claim that
by combining NLP methods with hypnotic regression, a person can be not only effectively cured of a problem, but also rendered amnesic for
the fact that they had the problem in the first place. Thus, after a session of therapy, smokers may deny that they smoked before, even when
their family and friends insisted otherwise, and they are unable to account for such evidence as nicotine stains.
[10] e.g. Bandler & Andreas 1985
[11] p.6 Bandler, R. & Grinder, J. 1975b, The Structure of Magic: a book about language and therapy. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books
[12] O'Connor, Joseph & John Seymour (1993). Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Psychological Skills for Understanding and
Influencing People. London, UK: Thorsons. ISBN 1-85538-344-6.(see p.xii)
[13] Berne, Eric (2005) "Chapter 10: How useful are 'popular' models of interpersonal communication?" in Interpersonal Communication; Taylor
& Francis, United Kingdom. p162–180. ISBN 978-0-415-18107-5
[14] Heap. M., (1988) Neurolinguistic programming: An interim verdict (http:/ / www. mheap. com/ nlp1. pdf). In M. Heap (Ed.) Hypnosis:
Current Clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices. London: Croom Helm, pp.268–280.
[15] According to Robert Spitzer (1992), Bandler selected portions of Perls transcripts to be published in The Gestalt Approach and Eye Witness
to Therapy (1973).
[16] Spitzer, R. (1992) Virginia Satir and the Origins of NLP (http:/ / www. nlpanchorpoint. com/ Satir395. pdf), Anchor Point, 6(7)
[17] Frank Clancy and Heidi Yorkshire (1989) "The Bandler Method". 'Mother Jones' Magazine
[18] John Grinder, Suzette Elgin (1973). "A Guide to Transformational Grammar: History, Theory, Practice". Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN
0-03-080126-5. Reviewed by Frank H. Nuessel, Jr. The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 58, No. 5/6 (Sep. – Oct., 1974), pp. 282–283
[19] Bradley, E., Biedermann, HJ. (1985) "Bandler and Grinder's neurolinguistic programming: Its historical context and contribution."
Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 22(1) pp.59–62.
[20] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science &
Behavior Books. ISBN 4-88848-212-8.
[21] Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises. ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
[22] Grinder, J., Bandler, R. (1976) Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume I ISBN 091699001X
[23] Rubin Battino (2002) Expectation: The Very Brief Therapy Book. Crown House Publishing. ISBN 1-84590-028-6
[24] Kerry, S. (2009) Pretreatment expectations of psychotherapy clients, University of Alberta (Canada),
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[25] Beyebach, M., & Rodríguez Morejón, A. (1999). Some thoughts on integration in solution-focused therapy. Journal of Systemic Therapies,
18, 24–42.
[26] Bill O'Connell (2005) Solution-focused therapy (Brief therapy series). Sage; Second Edition edition Google books p.9 (http:/ / books.
google. com. au/ books?lr=& doi=GVC4lJzyjBMC& q=Bandler+ Grinder)
[27] Windy Dryden (2007) Dryden's handbook of individual therapy. 5th edition. Sage. ISBN 1-4129-2238-0 p.382, Google books (http:/ /
books. google. com. au/ books?hl=en& lr=& id=nT8jqeRXBmYC& oi=fnd& pg=PR9#v=onepage& q=Bandler Grinder& f=false)
[28] By Pesut, Daniel J. (1991) The art, science, and techniques of reframing in psychiatric mental health nursing. Issues in Mental Health
Nursing, Vol 12, 9–18. doi:10.3109/01612849109058206
[29] John W Maag (1999) Why they say no: Foundational precises and techniques for managing resistance. Focus on Exceptional Children. 32,1.
[30] John W Maag (2000) Managing resistance, Intervention in School and Clinic 35,3.
[31] Bandler & Grinder 1982 as cited by Maag 1999, 2000
[32] Field, ES., (1990) Neurolinguistic programming as an adjunct to other psychotherapeutic/hypnotherapeutic interventions. American Journal
of Clinical Hypnosis. PubMed (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 2296919)
[33] Bridoux, D., Weaver, M., (2000) "Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy." In Therapeutic perspectives on working with lesbian, gay and bisexual
clients. Davies, Dominic (Ed); Neal, Charles (Ed). (pp. 73–90). Buckingham, England: Open University Press (2000) xviii, 187 pp. ISBN
0-335-20333-7
[34] UKCP. "United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy – List of Recognized Experimental Constructivist forms of therapies" (http:/ / web.
archive. org/ web/ 20080612155128/ http:/ / www. psychotherapy. org. uk/ experiential_constuctivist. html). Psychotherapy.org.uk. Archived
from the original (http:/ / www. psychotherapy. org. uk/ experiential_constuctivist. html) on 2008-06-12. . Retrieved 2009-08-19.
[35] "The road to recognition: NLP in Psychotherapy and Counselling" (http:/ / www. cleanlanguage. co. uk/ validation. html). . Retrieved 29
January 2010.
[36] "Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy Counselling Association NLPtCA" (http:/ / www. psychotherapy. org. uk/ iqs/ dbitemid. 84/ sfa. view/ cs1.
html). . Retrieved 29 January 2010.
[37] Yemm, G., (2006) "Can NLP help or harm your business?" Industrial and Commercial Training, 38(1), pp. 12–17(6) doi:10.1108/
00197850610645990
[38] Zastrow, C., "Social workers and salesworkers: Similarities and differences." Journal of Independent Social Work. 4(3) p.7-16
[39] Ingalls, Joan S. (1988) "Cognition and athletic behavior: An investigation of the NLP principle of congruence." Dissertation Abstracts
International. Vol 48(7-B), pp.2090. OCLC 42614014
[40] Druckman and Swets (eds.) (1988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques (http:/ / darwin. nap. edu/ books/
0309037921/ html/ 133. html), Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Academy Press.
doi:10.1002/hrdq.3920010212
[41] Tosey P. & Mathison, J., "Fabulous Creatures Of HRD: A Critical Natural History Of Neuro-Linguistic Programming ", University of
Surrey Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice across Europe, Oxford
Brookes Business School, 26th–28th June 2007
[42] (http:/ / www. cipd. co. uk/ training/ COACNLP/ about. htm)
[43] O'Connor, J. & Lages, A. (2004) Coaching with NLP, Element Books Ltd.
[44] Devilly GJ (2005) "Power therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry" Australian and New Zealand Journal
of Psychiatry 39:437–45(9) doi:10.1111/j.1440-1614.2005.01601.x
[45] Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory" (http:/ / eric. ed.
gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails& ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ352101&
ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b8005c1ac). Journal of Counseling Psychology 34 (1): 103–107, 105.
doi:10.1037/0022-0167.34.1.103. .
[46] Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press. pp. 149 (p.8 (quote),
pp.15,24, 30, 45,52). ISBN 0-911226-19-2.
[47] Sharpley, C.F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 31(2), 238–248.
[48] Einspruch, E.L., & Forman, B.D. (1985). "Observations Concerning Research Literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming". Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 589–596. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.32.4.589
[49] Dilts, Robert (1983) Roots of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Meta Publications, Capitola, CA, ISBN 0-916990-12-5
[50] Druckman, Daniel (2004) "Be All That You Can Be: Enhancing Human Performance" Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 34,
Number 11, November 2004, pp. 2234–2260(27) doi:doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2004.tb01975.x
[51] Von Bergen et al (1997) Selected alternative training techniques in HRD. Human Resource Development
Quarterly8,281–294.doi:10.1002/hrdq.3920080403
[52] "Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Research" (http:/ / www. som. surrey. ac. uk/ NLP/ Research/ index. asp). . Retrieved 22 February
2010.
[53] Mathison, J. & Tosey, P. (2010) "Exploring inner landscapes through psychophenomenology: The contribution of neuro-linguistic
programming to innovations in researching first person experience" Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International
Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, 2010 , pp. 63–82(20 doi:10.1108/17465641011042035
[54] http:/ / jarhe. research. glam. ac. uk/ media/ files/ documents/ 2009-07-17/ JARHE_V1. 2_Jul09_Web_pp57-63. pdf
Neuro-linguistic programming 8

[55] Corballis, MC., "Are we in our right minds?" In Sala, S., (ed.) (1999), Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions About the Mind and
Brain Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons. ISBN 0-471-98303-9 (pp. 25–41) see page p.41
[56] Beyerstein.B.L (1990). Brainscams: Neuromythologies of the New Age. International Journal of Mental Health 19(3): 27–36, 27.
[57] Norcross et. al. (2006) Discredited Psychological Treatments and Tests: A Delphi Poll. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,
American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/a0015240
[58] Norcross, John C. , Thomas P. Hogan, Gerald P. Koocher (2008) Clinician's Guide to Evidence-based Practices. Oxford University Press,
USA ISBN 978-0-19-533532-3 (Page 198)
[59] Dilts, R., Grinder, J., Delozier , J., and Bandler, R. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I: The Study of the Structure of
Subjective Experience. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 0-916990-07-9.
[60] Grinder, John & Judith DeLozier (1987). Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius. Scots Valley, CA: Grinder &
Associates. ISBN 1-55552-022-7.
[61] Bandler, R., Andreas, S. (ed) and Andreas, C. (ed) (1985) Using Your Brain-for a Change ISBN 0-911226-27-3
[62] "NLP Knowledge Centre" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 19990224225605/ http:/ / www. nlp. com. au/ action/ state. htm).
Web.archive.org. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. nlp. com. au/ action/ state. htm) on 1999-02-24. . Retrieved 2009-08-19.
[63] "NLP Schedule" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080328182654/ http:/ / www. nlpschedule. com/ random/ lawsuit-nlpc. html). NLP
Schedule. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. nlpschedule. com/ random/ lawsuit-nlpc. html) on 2008-03-28. . Retrieved 2009-08-19.
[64] "ANLP News: NLP Matters" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20010406091232/ www. anlp. org/ anlpnews. htm#law). ANLP. .
[65] "NTIS: Graduate Certificate in Neuro-linguistic programming" (http:/ / www. ntis. gov. au/ ?/ AccreditedCourse/ 21576VIC). . Retrieved
2009-06-25.
[66] Carroll RT (2009-02-23). "neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)" (http:/ / skepdic. com/ neurolin. html). The Skeptic's Dictionary. .
Retrieved 2009-06-25.
[67] Schütz, P. "A consumer guide through the multiplicity of NLP certification training: A European perspective" (http:/ / www. nlpzentrum. at/
institutsvgl-english. htm). . Retrieved 2006-12-24.
[68] McDonald, L (2001). "Neurolinguistic programming in mental health". In France J; Krame S. Communication and Mental Illness. Jessica
Kingsley Publishers. pp. 297–302. ISBN 1-85302-732-4.
[69] Jon Ronson (20 May 2006). "Don't worry, get therapy" (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ lifeandstyle/ 2006/ may/ 20/ weekend. jonronson1).
The Guardian.
[70] Irish National Center for Guidance in Education's "Guidance Counsellor's Handbook

• Carroll R. (2003) The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous
Delusions pp. 253
• Della Sala (Editor) (2007) Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain: Separating Fact from Fiction Oxford University
Press pp. xxii
• Dunn, D, Jane S. Halonen, Randolph A. Smith (2008) Teaching critical thinking in psychology: a handbook of
best practices (2008). ISBN 978-1-4051-7402-2. PP. 12
• Glasner-Edwards. S., and Rawson.R. (2010) Evidence-based practices in addiction treatment: Review and
recommendations for public policy. Health Policy. Volume 97, Issues 2-3, October 2010, Pages 93–104 pp97
• Lilienfeld, S. O., Lohr, M., & Morier, D. (2001). The teaching of courses in the science and pseudoscience of
psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 28, 182–191 pp. 190
• Lum, C. (2001). Scientific Thinking in Speech and Language Therapy. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah,
New Jersey London) pp. 16
• Singer, Margaret & Janja Lalich (1997). Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work?. Jossey Bass,
p167–195. ISBN 0-7879-0278-0. pp.169
• William F. Williams, Ed. (2000) Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience publ. Fitzory Dearborn Publishers, ISBN
978-1-57958-207-4 pp. 235
• Witkowski "Thirty-Five Years of Research on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP Research Data Base. State of
the Art or Pseudoscientific Decoration?" Polish Psychological Bulletin 2010, vol 41 (2), 58–66 pp. 65
Neuro-linguistic programming 9

Further reading
Books
• Andreas, Steve & Charles Faulkner (Eds.) (1996). NLP: the new technology of achievement. New York, NY:
HarperCollins. ISBN 0-688-14619-8.
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979) Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Real People Press. 149 pages.
ISBN 0-911226-19-2
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1975) The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy Science and
Behavior Books. 198 pages. ISBN 0-8314-0044-7
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1981) Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning
Real People Press. ISBN 0-911226-25-7
• Bandler, R., Andreas, S. (ed) and Andreas, C. (ed) (1985) Using Your Brain-for a Change ISBN 0-911226-27-3
• Bostic St Clair, Carmen & John Grinder (2002). Whispering in the Wind. Scotts Valley, CA: J & C Enterprises.
ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
• Bradbury, A., Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Time for an Informed Review. Skeptical Intelligencer 11, 2008.
• Burn, Gillian (2005). NLP Pocketbook. Alresford, Hants SO24 9JH, United Kingdom: Management Pocketbooks
Ltd. ISBN 978-1-903776-31-5.
• Dilts, R., Hallbom, T., Smith, S. (1990) Beliefs: Pathways to Health & Well-being
• Dilts, R. (1990) Changing belief systems with NLP Meta Publications. ISBN 0-916990-24-9
• Dilts, Robert B & Judith A DeLozier (2000). Encyclopaedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP
New Coding. NLP University Press. ISBN 0-9701540-0-3.
• Druckman, Daniel & John A Swets, (Eds) (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and
Techniques (http://www.nap.edu/books/0309037921/html). Washington DC: National Academy Press.
ISBN 0-309-03792-1.
• Ellerton PhD, CMC, Roger (2005). Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for
Coaches, Managers and You (http://www.live-your-dreams.biz/). Ottawa, Canada: Trafford Publishing.
ISBN 1-4120-4709-9.
• Grinder, J., Bandler, R. (1976) Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume I ISBN
091699001X
• Grinder, John & Judith DeLozier (1987). Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius. Scoots
Valley, CA: Grinder & Associates. ISBN 1-55552-022-7.
• Grinder, M. Lori Stephens (Ed) (1991) Righting the Educational Conveyor Belt ISBN 1-55552-036-7
• Bostic St Clair, Carmen & John Grinder (2002). Whispering in the Wind. Scotts Valley, CA: J & C Enterprises.
ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
• Grinder, John & Richard Bandler (1975). The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change.
Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books. ISBN 0-8314-0049-8.
• Laborde, G. (1987) Influencing with Integrity: Management Skills for Communication and Negotiation
• O'Connor, J., Seymour, J. Dilts, R. (foreword), Grinder, J. (preface) (1995) Introducing Neuro-linguistic
Programming: The New Psychology of Personal Excellence Aquarian Press. 224 pages. ISBN 1-85274-073-6
• O'Connor, Joseph & Ian McDermott (1996). Principles of NLP. London, UK: Thorsons. ISBN 0-7225-3195-8.
• Satir, V., Grinder, J., Bandler, R. (1976) Changing with Families: A Book about Further Education for Being
Human Science and Behavior Books. ISBN 0-8314-0051-X
Journal articles
• Bradley, E J & Heinz J Biedermann (1985). "Bandler and Grinder's Communication Analysis: Its historical
context and contribution". Psychotherapy, Theory and Research 22 (1): 59–62. doi:10.1037/h0088527.
• Platt, Garry (2001). "NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming or No Longer Plausible?". Training Journal. May
2001: 10–15.
Neuro-linguistic programming 10

See NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming or No Longer Plausible? (http://www.sueknight.co.uk/


Publications/Articles/NLP_Plausible.htm) Retrieved 24 August 2005.
• Morgan, Dylan A (1993). "Scientific Assessment of NLP" (http://web.archive.org/web/20021216094638/
http:/easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~dylanwad/morganic/art_nlp.htm). Journal of the National Council for
Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy Register. Spring 1993.
• Von Bergen, C W, Barlow Soper, Gary T Rosenthal, Lamar V Wilkinson (1997). "Selected alternative training
techniques in HRD". Human Resource Development Quarterly 8 (4): 281–294. doi:10.1002/hrdq.3920080403.

External links
• NLP and learning research (University of Surrey) (http://www.nlpresearch.org/) hosted The First International
Neuro-Linguistic Programming Research Conference (http://www.som.surrey.ac.uk/research/conferences/
system/index.asp?menuid=41&id=26)
• Article on scientific validity of NLP (http://www.jobeq.com/articles/NLP_Research.htm)
• Database and review of academic research (http://www.inspiritive.com.au/nlp-research.htm)
• Extensive Library of articles in independent collaborative space for NLP (http://www.nlpmax.com/Articles/
Searching.aspx)
• Archives of Anchor Point (NLP Magazine) (http://www.nlpanchorpoint.com/)
History of neuro-linguistic programming 11

History of neuro-linguistic programming


This article discusses the history of the field known as Neuro-linguistic programming.

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) was developed jointly by Richard Bandler and John Grinder under the
tutelage of Gregory Bateson (a renowned anthropologist, social scientist, linguist and cyberneticist), at the University
of California, Santa Cruz, during the 1970s.
Originally a study into how excellent psychotherapists were achieving results they did, it rapidly grew into a field
and methodology of its own, based around the skill of modeling as used to identify the key aspects of others
behaviors and approaches that led them to be capable of outstanding results in their fields.
With the 1980s, the two fell out, and amidst acrimony, and trademark lawsuits by Bandler [1], NLP tended to be
developed in a fragmented and haphazard manner by many individuals, some ethically, and some opportunistically,
often under multiple confusing brand names.
During the 1990s, tentative attempts were made to put NLP on a more formal, regulated footing, in countries such as
the UK, and around 2001, the law suits finally became settled, and a variety of individuals and representative groups
in the field resumed moves to put the field on a more professional footing.

Context and early influences


One of the earliest influences on NLP were General Semantics (Alfred Korzybski) as a new perspective for looking
at the world which included a kind of mental hygiene . This was a departure from the Aristotelian concepts of
modern science and objective reality, and it influenced notions of programming the mind. Korzybski General
semantics influenced several schools of thought, leading to a viable human potential industry and associations with
emerging New Age thinking. By the late 1960s, self-help organizations such as EST, Dianetics, and Scientology had
become financially successful. The Esalen human potential seminars in California began to attract a wide range of
thinkers and lay-people, such as the gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, as well as Gregory Bateson, Virginia Satir, and
Milton H. Erickson.
A second important part of the context was that the founders developed a philosophy of "doing" rather than
"theorizing". This may have been due to the strong counterculture (anti-establishment) mood at the time. As part of
this, while there was respect for the scientific method (hypothesize, test, question), there was less regard for the
concerns and approval of mainstream science in doing so. Likewise there was little thought of control or standards,
or of setting guidelines; the field was left open for those interested to explore whatever its principles led them to, and
wherever their personal interest took them. In general, during much of NLP's history, developers have preferred to
generate ideas, test their value in practice, and leave rigorous scientific verification to other parties or until later.
A final set of influences was that old notions of behaviorism and determinism, which had long held sway, were
rapidly becoming disfavored, and issues such as the subjective character of experience were becoming more
History of neuro-linguistic programming 12

accepted as part of a postmodern outlook, bringing with it such questions as the subject-object problem, recognition
of cognitive biases, and the questioning of the entirety of the philosophy of perception and the nature of reality.
Bateson, an anthropologist himself, strongly supported cultural relativism (the view that meaning could only be
found in a context – not to be confused with moral relativism), which is now considered fundamental in
anthropology.
Such approaches undoubtedly influenced the development of the early studies by Grinder and Bandler which studied
the effectiveness of their subjects from an anthropological (observational) basis, and sought to understand what their
behavior signified, rather than a psychoanalytic approach of how they fitted into a theory.

Development of NLP

Initial studies
In the early 1970s, Richard Bandler was invited by Bob Spitzer, owner of Science and Behavior Books, to attend
training by Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, and was later hired by Spritzer to assist, transcribe and edit recordings of
Perls for a book. Just before Fritz Perls died he completed the first draft of The Gestalt Approach which he gave to
Robert Spitzer.[2] Bandler helped Spitzer edit this draft and also listen to recordings of Perls working with clients
which were transcribed for a second book titled, Eye Witness to Therapy.[3] At the time, Bandler was an
undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz, and had begun running Gestalt therapy workshops to
refine his skills. While at UCSC, Bandler invited assistant professor of linguistics Dr. John Grinder to observe his
Gestalt workshops, to help build an explicit model of how Bandler (and Perls) did Gestalt therapy. Grinder used his
knowledge of transformational grammar, and starting with Perls and moving to leading family systems therapist
Virginia Satir, the two collaborated to produce several works based on these exceptional psychotherapists of the
time.
The resulting linguistic model analysed how therapeutic recognition and use of language patterns could on its own be
used to influence change. First published in The Structure of Magic Volume I (1975), the models were expanded in
The Structure of Magic Volume II (1976), and Changing With Families (co-authored with Satir herself in 1976), and
eventually became known as the meta model (meta meaning "beyond"), the first core model within what ultimately
became an entire field.

Early models developed into the core of NLP


The early work, especially the meta model, captured the attention of anthropologist, Gregory Bateson who became a
major influence on the early intellectual foundations of the field, including Logical levels, logical types, double bind
theory, cybernetic epistemology and cultural relativism (the axiomatic anthropological concept that meaning only
exists within a context).
Bateson introduced the co-founders to Milton Erickson, at that time in his 70's, and recognized as the founder of
clinical hypnotherapy and a near-legendary[4] therapeutic genius in his own right. Bateson was lecturing at
University of California, Santa Cruz, and was attached to the newly formed Kresge College where Grinder was also
lecturing in linguistics. Bandler and Grinder met with Erickson on a regular basis, and modeled his approach and his
work over eighteen months. In 1975-1976 they published a first volume set of patterns, Patterns of the Hypnotic
Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume I (1975), followed in 1977 by Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of
Milton H. Erickson Volume II, which together form the basis of the so-called Milton model, a means to use
deliberately imprecise language to enable a person to work at an unconscious or somatic level rather than a cognitive
level, to resolve clinical issues more effectively.[5]
These early studies and models of patterns used by recognized geniuses, such as the meta-model and Milton model,
formed the basis of workshops and seminars. Under the subject title of "Neuro-linguistic programming", they
became increasingly popular, firstly with psychotherapists, then business managers, sales professionals, and new age
History of neuro-linguistic programming 13

practitioners.
As popularity for NLP increased, a development group formed around the co-founders including Leslie
Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Stephen Gilligan, Robert Dilts, and David Gordon (author of Therapeutic
Metaphors, 1978) and made significant contributions to NLP. A collection of Grinder and Bandler's seminars were
transcribed by Steve Andreas and published in 1979, Frogs into Princes.

Splintered
In 1980 Bandler's collaboration with Grinder abruptly ended and also Leslie Cameron-Bandler filed for divorce.
Bandler, Grinder and their group of associates parted ways. A number of agreements were reached as to legal
settlement between Bandler and Grinder, as regarded NLP and their partnership. Shortly after (1983), Bandler's
company Not Ltd declared bankruptcy. Matters were not helped by Bandler being charged with the 1986 murder of
Corine Christensen, who like Bandler at the time was a cocaine user.[6] (He was acquitted,[7] and the case remains
officially unsolved.)
Ongoing legal threats ensued throughout the 1980s and 1990s surrounding trademarks, intellectual property and
copyright, causing some of Bandler and Grinder's books to go out of print for a while ('Structure I & II', and 'Patterns
I & II' – considered the foundations of the field – were later republished).
In July 1996 after many years of legal controversy, Bandler filed a lawsuit against Grinder and again in January 1997
against both Grinder and numerous prominent members of the NLP community including, Carmen Bostic-St. Clair,
Steve Andreas and Connirae Andreas. In his suit, Bandler claimed (retrospective) sole ownership of NLP, and the
sole right to use the term under trademark, as well as trademark infringement, conspiratorial tortious interference and
breach of settlement agreement and permanent injunction by Grinder. [8] [1] In addition, Bandler claimed "damages
against each such defendant in an amount to be proven at trial, but in no event less than [US]$10,000,000.00" per
individual. The list of defendants included 200 "Does", i.e. empty names to be specified later. [9]
On February 2000 the US Superior Court found against Bandler stating that "Bandler has misrepresented to the
public, through his licensing agreement and promotional materials, that he is the exclusive owner of all intellectual
property rights associated with NLP, and maintains the exclusive authority to determine membership in and
certification in the Society of NLP." [10]
Contemporaneous with Bandler's suits in the US Superior Court, Tony Clarkson (a UK practitioner) asked the UK
High Court to revoke Bandler's UK registered trademark "NLP", in order to clarify legally whether this was a
generic term rather than intellectual property. The UK High Court found in favor of Clarkson, and that NLP was a
generic term, later declaring Bandler bankrupt in the UK for failure to pay the sum of the ruling. Archive.org 11 July
2000 [11]

Rethinking NLP: "New Code" approach


John Grinder began collaborating with Judith DeLozier; between 1982-1987 they began developing the New Code of
NLP, they were heavily influenced by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and a desired to create an aesthetic and
ethical framework for the use of NLP patterns. Their recode was presented in a series of seminars, titled Turtles All
the Way Down; Prerequisites to Personal Genius, transcripts were published in book by the same name. In the
1980s, Grinder ceased providing public seminars, to pursue cultural change in organisations. During this time he
held few public seminars, while he continued to refine the New Code of NLP with his new partner, Carmen Bostic St
Clair. They published recommendations to the NLP community to become a legitimate field of study, in their work,
Whispering in the Wind (2001).
Other members of the original development group, formed their own associations and modifications of the original
work and took NLP is different directions.
History of neuro-linguistic programming 14

Richard Bandler together with Todd Epstein and Christina Hall developed much of the theory and practice
associated with 'submodalities',[12] that is, "the particular perceptual qualities that may be registered by each of the
five primary sensory modalities".[12] Post-1980 much of Bandler's work revolved around the NLP concept of
submodalities.[12] Bandler independently developed Design Human Engineering and authored Magic in Action,
Using Your Brain for a Change, Time for a Change and Persuasion Engineering (written with John LaValle). (As of
2006, Bandler continues to lecture, consult and produce media on NLP)

NLP buzz
A disquieting direction became obvious in the 1990s when, partly due to the legally-driven fragmentation of NLP
practice, and partly due to lack of a defining and regulating structure to oversee the rapidly growing field, it seemed
for a time that NLP could be (and was) promoted as the "latest thing", a panacea, or universal miracle solution.
Dubious models and practices burgeoned, in parallel with bona fide. For a number of these new practices, profit,
marketability or New Age appeal proved a stronger motive than realism or ethics.
Training too became fragmented. A plethora of trainers, some renowned, some New Age and charismatic, and some
focussed upon niches, emerged, each with their own competing ideas of what training and standards were needed to
become a "practitioner". As a result, today there is a range of in duration, quality and credibility of different
practitioner training programmes.
In this respect, Platt (2001) comments critically[13] that NLP needs to temper its claims, and accept it has limits on its
effectiveness:
"Does that make NLP bogus? No, it does not. But the research and the findings of the investigators certainly
make it clear that NLP cannot help all people in all situations, which is frequently what is claimed and what
practioners assert... The immoderate claims that are made for NLP might be viewed a little more critically
when viewed against this background."
Likewise the Irish National Center for Guidance in Education's Guidance Counsellor's Handbook (current as of
2005) includes the following caveat about excessive claims made by some trainers:
"Unfortunately, NLP has a history of so-called NLP Practitioners overstating the level of their competence,
and of their training.[14]

21st century
By the end of 2000 some sort of rapprochement between Bandler and Grinder was achieved when the parties entered
a release wherein they inter alia agreed that "they are the co-creators and co-founders of the technology of
Neuro-linguistic Programming. Drs. Grinder and Bandler recognize the efforts and contributions of each other in the
creation and initial development of NLP." In the same document, "Dr. John Grinder and Dr. Richard Bandler
mutually agree to refrain from disparaging each other's efforts, in any fashion, concerning their respective
involvement in the field of NeuroLinguistic Programming." ("Release" reproduced as Appendix A of Whispering in
the Wind by Grinder and Bostic St Clair (2001)).
In addition, national regulatory and certification bodies have begun to be founded, notably in the UK, with
credentials or standing within psychological and psychotherapy association bodies.
Trademark and IP claims settled, it is a possibility that a more regular platform for the future development of NLP as
an ongoing field of endeavour may come into being.[15]
History of neuro-linguistic programming 15

References
[1] http:/ / www. nlpschedule. com/ random/ lawsuit-nlpc. html
[2] Spitzer, R. (1992) Virginia Satir and the Origins of NLP (http:/ / www. nlpanchorpoint. com/ Satir395. pdf), Anchor Point, 6(7)
[3] Perls, F., (1973) "The Gestalt Approach and Eye Witness to Therapy" Science and Behavior Books ISBN 0-8314-0034-X
[4] A large number of books of true legends and anecdotes of Erickson have been written.
[5] John Grinder & Carmen Bostic St. Clair, (2001) Whispering in the Wind. C&J Enterprises.
[6] Are you a difficult person? CareerTrack Inc.'s business seminars The Atlantic October, 1989
[7] Psychotherapist Not Guilty In Prostitute's Murder, Jury Finds (http:/ / articles. latimes. com/ 1988-01-29/ news/
mn-26470_1_psychotherapist-richard-bandler). Los Angeles Times. January 29, 1988.
[8] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 19990224225605/ http:/ / www. nlp. com. au/ action/ state. htm
[9] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20021108024906/ http:/ / www. nlp. org/ NLP/ random/ lawsuit-text. htm
[10] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20010210021504/ http:/ / www. anlp. org/ anlpnews2. htm#usa
[11] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20010406091232/ www. anlp. org/ anlpnews. htm#law
[12] See (http:/ / www. nlpuniversitypress. com/ html3/ StSy40. html) (http:/ / www. nlpuniversitypress. com/ html3/ StSy38. html) and (http:/ /
www. nlpuniversitypress. com/ html/ B08. html)
[13] Platt, 2001, NLP - No Longer Plausible?
[14] Guidance Counsellor's handbook, section 1.4.5: http:/ / www. ncge. ie/ resources_handbooks_guidance. htm section 1.4.5 (http:/ / www.
ncge. ie/ handbook_docs/ Section1/ NLP_Guide_Sch. doc) (DOC)
[15] (See Appendix of Whispering in the Wind.)
NLP and science 16

NLP and science

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to explaining human behaviour, thought and communication.
NLP describes how people represent and communicate with the world, and which gives principles or techniques for
identifying thought patterns and behaviour.[1] The founders of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, originally
promoted by it in the 1970s as an extraordinarily effective and rapid form of psychological therapy,[2] capable of
addressing the full range of problems which psychologists are likely to encounter, such as phobias, depression, habit
disorder, psychosomatic illnesses, and learning disorders.[3] NLP also espoused the potential for self-determination
through overcoming learned limitations[4] and emphasised well-being and healthy functioning. Later, it was
promoted as a 'science of excellence', derived from the study or 'modelling'[5] of how successful or outstanding
people in different fields obtain their results. It was claimed that these skills can be learned by anyone to improve
their effectiveness both personally and professionally[6]
The majority of empirical research into NLP was conducted by psychologists in the 1980s and 1990s. The most cited
review, by Christopher Sharpley and published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology in 1984, found little support
for primary representation systems and predicate matching which was the focus of the research at the time. However,
several researchers and practitioners have questioned the methodology and validity of the studies.[7]
Most practitioners, however, have taken a pragmatic approach and have been unconcerned with theory and research.
Sharpley's review marked a decline in empirical research interest.[8]

Sharpley's review of primary representational systems


The majority of empirical research carried out in the 1980s and 1990s consisted of laboratory experimentation
testing Bandler and Grinder's hypothesis[9] that an observer can identify a person's preferred sensory mode of
thinking by observing eye-movement cues and sensory predicates in language use.[10] A research review conducted
by Christopher Sharpley in 1984,[11] followed by another review in 1987 in response to criticism by Einspruch and
Forman,[7] concluded that there was little evidence for the usefulness of NLP as an effective counseling tool.
Sharpley (publishing in the Journal of Counseling Psychology) undertook a literature review of 15 studies on the
existence and effectiveness of preferred representational systems (PRS), an underlying principle of NLP. He found
"little research evidence supporting its usefulness as an effective counseling tool" and concluded that there was no
reproducible support for PRS or for predicate matching.[11]
NLP and science 17

Critique by Einspruch and Forman


Sharpley's conclusions have been contested [7] and by Grinder [12] [13] on the grounds that the studies demonstrated
an incomplete understanding of the claims of NLP and that the interviewers involved in the many of the studies had
inadequate training/competence in NLP.[10] Eric Einspruch and Bruce Forman (1985) broadly agreed with Sharpley,
although they criticised his apparent failure to address methodological errors in the research reviewed. They claimed
that "NLP is far more complex than presumed by researchers, and thus, the data are not true evaluations of NLP"[11]
adding that NLP is difficult to test under the traditional counseling psychology framework, and that the research
lacked a necessary understanding of pattern recognition as part of advanced NLP training. There was also inadequate
control of context, an unfamiliarity with NLP as an approach to therapy, inadequate definitions of rapport, and
numerous logical mistakes in the research methodology.[14]

Sharpley response
In 1987, Sharpley published a response to Einspruch and Forman with a review of a further 7 studies on the same
basic tenets (totalling 44 including those cited by Einspruch and Forman).[15] This second article included a review
of Elich et al. (1985), a study that found no support for the proposed relationship between eye movements, spoken
predicates, and internal imagery. Elich et al. stated that "NLP has achieved something akin to cult status when it may
be nothing more than a psychological fad".[16]
Sharpley conceded that a number of NLP techniques are worthwhile or beneficial in counselling, citing predicate
matching, mirroring clients behaviors, moving sensory modalities, reframing, anchoring and changing history, but
argued that none of these techniques originated within NLP. "NLP may be seen as a partial compendium of rather
than as an original contribution to counseling practice and, thereby, has a value distinct from the lack of research
data supporting the underlying principles that Bandler and Grinder posited to present NLP as a new and magical
theory". He concluded that as a counselling tool, the techniques and underlying theory unique to NLP, were both
empirically unvalidated and unsupported but that "if NLP is presented as a theory-less set of procedures gathered
from many approaches to counselling, then it may serve as a reference role for therapists who wish to supplement
their counselling practice by what may be novel techniques to them."
A study by Buckner et al. (1987, after Sharpley), using trained NLP practitioners found support for the claim that
specific eye movement patterns existed for visual and auditory components of thought, and that trained observers
could reliably identify them.[17] However, the study did not address whether such patterns indicated a preferred
representational system. They also made suggestions for further research.

NLP and anxiety treatments


Krugman et al. (1985) had tested claims for a 'one-session' treatment of performance anxiety against another method
and a control group and found no support for claims of a 'one-session' effective treatment.[18] Buckner et al. argued
for further research into NLP amongst other treatments that have "achieved popularity in the absence of data
supporting their utility".

Enhancing human performance study


As part of a study that investigated various psychological techniques for learning, improving motor skills, altering
mental states, stress management and social influence at the request of the US Army Research Institute, the
Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance (United States National Research Council)
selected several heavily marketed human performance enhancement techniques that made strong claims for their
efficacy. Many of the techniques evaluated happened to have origins in the human potential movement. NLP was
selected as a strategy for social influence and was evaluated by the psychological techniques committee directed by
social psychologist Daniel Druckman.[19] The committee was already aware of the weak support for preferred
NLP and science 18

representation systems (PRS) in the literature and noted that the body of research had largely not tested NLP beyond
the assumptions related to PRS (consistent with the Sharpley's literature review in Journal of Counseling
Psychology). However, the effect of matching predicates on all representations showed strong effect on
perceptions.[20]
The NRC came to two conclusions. First, the committee "found little if any" evidence to support NLP’s assumptions
or to indicate that it is effective as a strategy for social influence. "It assumes that by tracking another’s eye
movements and language, an NLP trainer can shape the person’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions (Dilts, 1983[21] ).
There is no scientific support for these assumptions."[22] Secondly, the committee "were impressed with the
modeling approach used to develop the technique. The technique was developed from careful observations of the
way three master psychotherapists conducted their sessions, emphasizing imitation of verbal and nonverbal
behaviors. This then led the committee to take up the topic of expert modeling in the second phase of its work."[22]
These studies marked a decline in research interest in NLP generally, and particularly in matching sensory predicates
and its use in counsellor-client relationship in counseling psychology.[23]

Heap's review
Michael Heap (1988) conducted a systematic review of the research literature on NLP and found that it was lacking
in evidence.
The present author is satisfied that the assertions of NLP writers concerning the representational systems have
been objectively and fairly investigated and found to be lacking. These assertions are stated in unequivocal
terms by the originators of NLP and it is clear from their writings that phenomena such as representational
systems, predicate preferences and eye-movement patterns are claimed to be potent psychological processes,
easily and convincingly demonstrable on training courses by tutors and trainees following simple instructions,
and, indeed, in interactions in everyday life.
Adding,
Therefore, in view of the absence of any objective evidence provided by the original proponents of the PRS
hypothesis, and the failure of subsequent empirical investigations to adequately support it, it may well be
appropriate now to conclude that there is not, and never has been, any substance to the conjecture that people
represent their world internally in a preferred mode which may be inferred from their choice of predicates and
from their eye movements. […] These conclusions, and the failure of investigators to convincingly
demonstrate the alleged benefits of predicate matching, seriously question the role of such a procedure in
counselling.[24]
Heap (1988) remarks [25] that if the assertions made by proponents of NLP about representational systems and their
behavioural manifestations are correct, then its founders have made remarkable discoveries about the human mind
and brain, which would have important implications for human psychology, particularly cognitive science and
neuropsychology. Yet there is no mention of them in learned textbooks or journals devoted to these disciplines.
Neither is this material taught in psychology courses at the pre-degree and degree level. When Heap spoke to
academic colleagues who spend much time researching and teaching in these fields, they showed little awareness, if
any, of NLP.[25] [26]
Heap (1988) argued that to arrive at such important generalisations about the human mind and behaviour would
certainly require prolonged, systematic, and meticulous investigation of human subjects using robust procedures for
observing, recording, and analysing the phenomena under investigation. "There is just no other way of doing this".
Yet the founders of NLP never revealed any such research or investigation, and there is no evidence of its
existence.[25] Indeed, Bandler himself claimed it was not his job to prove any of his claims about the workings of the
human mind, "The truth is, when we know how something is done, it becomes easy to change" (ibid).[27]
NLP and science 19

Research issues

Viability
According to Grant Devily, at the time it was introduced, NLP was heralded as a breakthrough in therapy, and
advertisements for training workshops, videos and books began to appear in trade magazines. The workshops
provided certification. However, controlled studies shed such a poor light on the practice, and those promoting the
intervention made such extreme and changeable claims that researchers began to question the wisdom of researching
the area further.[8]

Pseudoscience argument
Skeptics argue that NLP's claims for scientific respectability are fake, and it is really a pseudoscience, since it is not
based on the scientific method. Its very name is a pretense to a legitimate discipline like neuroscience,
neurolinguistics, and psychology. It has a large collection of scientific sounding terms, like eye accessing cues,
metamodeling, micromodeling, metaprogramming, neurological levels, presuppositions, primary representational
systems, modalities and submodalities. Psychologist Barry L. Beyerstein stated that "though it claims neuroscience
in its pedigree, NLP's outmoded view of the relationship between cognitive style and brain function ultimately boils
down to crude analogies."[28]

Methodological issues
Several researchers and practitioners have argued that while the body of empirical research that exists to date is not
supportive of NLP it was not sufficient to dismiss it.[10] Watkins stated that "Neurolinguistic Programming studies
attempted to match eye movements and representational patterns. These are appropriate tests of the validity of the
proponents' claims. However, one can only speculate what might have been learned with a wider range of outcome
variables. Since this is a review of empirical research it may seem unfair to focus on limitations of the studies
reported, but at a minimum the authors could have critiqued the methodological rigor and conceptual soundness of
the variables tested."[29]

Pragmatism
Proponents of NLP often deny that it is based on theory. Tosey and Mathison state that: "A question often asked of
NLP is that of whether it has a theory. As noted above, authors in the field emphasize pragmatism, and have seldom
shown interest in articulating NLP as a theory. Because NLP has always aimed to model "what works", one can find
evidence within its practices of an eclectic approach that draws from (among other things) cognitive-behavioural
approaches, Gestalt therapy, hypnotherapy, family therapy, and brief therapy.[30]
Tosey and Mathison state that "the pragmatic and often anti-theoretical stance by the founders has left a legacy of
little engagement between practitioner and academic communities".[10] [31]
NLP and science 20

Renewed research interest


Several practitioner have expressed interest in investigating NLP further using multiple methodologies, not just
empirical. The first, vendor neutral, NLP Research Conference was held in 2008 sponsored by University of Surrey
with the aim of encouraging improved research collaboration.[32]

References
[1] Heap 1988, and Harry Adler,Handbook of NLP: A Manual for Professional Communicators, Gower 2002
[2] It is explicitly stated (e.g. Bandler & Grinder, 1979, p ii; Lankton, 1980, pp 9-13) that by using NLP, problems such as phobias and learning
disabilities may be disposed of in less than an hour's session (whereas with other therapies, progress may take weeks or months). According to
Michael Heap in a paper on NLP written in 1988 for The Psychologist (the monthly magazine of the British Psychological Society p 261-262)
one NLP workshop announcement claimed that spelling problems may be eliminated in five minutes (NLP Training Programme)
[3] Grinder and Bandler alleged (1981, p 166) that a single session of NLP combined with hypnosis can eliminate certain eyesight problems such
as myopia, and can even cure a common cold (op.cit., p 174). Also, (op.cit., p 169) Bandler and Grinder make the claim that by combining
NLP methods with hypnotic regression, a person can be not only effectively cured of a problem, but also rendered amnesic for the fact that
they had the problem in the first place. Thus, after a session of therapy, smokers may deny that they smoked before, even when their family
and friends insist otherwise, and they are unable to account for such evidence as nicotine stains.
[4] e.g. Bandler & Andreas 1985
[5] Bandler & Grinder 1975b p.6). [Bandler, R. & Grinder, J. 1975b, The Structure of Magic: a book about language and therapy. Palo Alto:
Science and Behavior Books
[6] O'Connor & Seymour (p xii)
[7] Einspruch, E. L., & Forman, B. D. (1985). "Observations Concerning Research Literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming". Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 589-596. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.32.4.589
[8] Grant J. Devilly (2005) "Power Therapies and possible threats to the science of psychology and psychiatry" Australian and New Zealand
Journal of Psychiatry Vol.39 p.437 doi:doi:10.1111/j.1440-1614.2005.01601.x
[9] Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press.. pp. 149 (p.8 (quote),
pp.15,24, 30, 45,52). ISBN 0911226192.
[10] Tosey P. & Mathison, J., "Fabulous Creatures Of HRD: A Critical Natural History Of Neuro-Linguistic Programming ", University of
Surrey Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice across Europe, Oxford
Brookes Business School, 26th – 28th June 2007
[11] Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.
[12] Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises.. ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
[13] Beck, C.E., & Beck E.A., "Test of the Eye-Movement Hypothesis of Neurolinguistic Programming: A Rebuttal of Conclusions" Perceptual
and Motor Skills, 1984, Vol. 58, p 175-176 doi:10.2466/PMS.58.1.175-176
[14] Einspruch, Eric L., Forman, Bruce D. (1985). "Observations Concerning Research Literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming". Journal of
Counseling Psychology 32 (4): 589–596. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.32.4.589.
[15] Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory" (http:/ / eric. ed.
gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails& ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ352101&
ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b8005c1ac). Communication and Cognition. Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 1987 Vol. 34, No. 1: 103–107, 105. .
[16] Elich, M., Thompson, R. W., & Miller, L. (1985). Mental imagery as revealed by eye movements and spoken predicates: A test of
neurolinguistic programming (http:/ / eric. ed. gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?_nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails&
ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ327573& ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b800561ca). Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 622-625. note: "psychological fad" p. 625
[17] Buckner, Meara, Reese, and Reese (1987) Journal of Counselling Psychology, Vol. 34(3), pp.283-287
[18] Krugman, Kirsch, Wickless, Milling, Golicz, & Toth (1985). Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth? (http:/ /
content. apa. org/ journals/ ccp/ 53/ 4/ 526) Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology. Vol 53(4), 526-530.
[19] Druckman & Swets, 1988 see pages 138-149. (http:/ / books. nap. edu/ openbook. php?record_id=1025& page=138)
[20] Druckman & Swets, 1988., see p.243 (http:/ / books. nap. edu/ openbook. php?record_id=1025& page=243)
[21] Dilts, Robert (1983) Roots of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Meta Publications, Capitola, CA, ISBN 0916990125
[22] Druckman, Daniel (2004) "Be All That You Can Be: Enhancing Human Performance" Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 34,
Number 11, November 2004, pp. 2234-2260(27) doi:doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2004.tb01975.x
[23] Gelso and Fassinger (1990) "Counseling Psychology: Theory and Research on Interventions" Annual Review of Psychology
doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.41.020190.002035
[24] Michael Heap (1988) Hypnosis: Current Clinical, Experimental & Forensic Practices
[25] Heap, M. (1988). Neuro-linguistic programming, In M. Heap (Ed.) Hypnosis: Current Clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices (http:/
/ www. mheap. com/ nlp1. pdf). London: Croom Helm. .
NLP and science 21

[26] See also Efran and Lukens (1990), claiming that "original interest in NLP turned to disillusionment after the research and now it is rarely
even mentioned in psychotherapy"(p.122) -- Efran, J S. Lukens M.D. (1990) Language, structure, and change: frameworks of meaning in
psychotherapy, Published by W.W. Norton, New York. ISBN 0393701034
[27] Bandler 2008
[28] Beyerstein.B.L (1990). Brainscams: Neuromythologies of the New Age. International Journal of Mental Health 19(3): 27-36, 27.
[29] Karen E Watkins. (1997) An invited response: Selected alternative training techniques in HRD Human Resource Development Quarterly.
San Francisco: Winter 1997. Vol. 8, Iss. 4; pg. 295, 5 pgs
[30] For more extensive discussion of NLP's theory in relation to learning see Tosey and Mathison ( 2003; 2008): http:/ / www. infed. org/ biblio/
nlp_and_education. htm.
[31] They add that "The literature in academic journals is minimal; in the field of HRD see (Georges 1996), (Ashok & Santhakumar 2002),
(Thompson, Courtney, & Dickson 2002). There has been virtually no published investigation into how NLP is used in practice. The empirical
research consists largely of laboratory-based studies from the 1980s and 1990s, which investigated two particular notions from within NLP,
the "eye movement" model (Bandler & Grinder 1979), and the notion of the "primary representational system", according to which individuals
have a preferred sensory mode of internal imagery indicated by their linguistic predicates (Grinder & Bandler 1976). - Tosey and Mathison
2007
[32] Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Learning - A University of Surrey Project (http:/ / www. nlpresearch. org/ )
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 22

Methods of neuro-linguistic programming

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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The methods of neuro-linguistic programming are the techniques used to perform neuro-linguistic programming
on a mind or person, and the methods used to teach those techniques to people. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
is based on the idea that with our senses we are only able to perceive a small part of the world. Our view of the world
is filtered by our experience, beliefs, values, assumptions, and biological sensory systems. We act and feel based on
our perception of the world rather than the real world. NLP teaches that language and behaviors (whether functional
or dysfunctional) are highly structured, and that this structure can be 'modeled' or copied into a reproducible form.[1]
Using NLP a person can 'model' the more successful parts of their own behavior in order to reproduce it in areas
where they are less successful or 'model' another person to effect belief and behavior changes to improve
functioning. If someone excels in some activity, it can be learned how specifically they do it by observing certain
important details of their behavior.[2] NLP embodies several techniques, including hypnotic techniques, which
proponents claim can affect changes in the way people think, learn and communicate.[3] NLP is an eclectic field,
often described as a 'toolbox' which has borrowed heavily from other fields in collating its presuppositions and
techniques.

Internal 'maps' of the world


NLP calls each individual's perception of the world their 'map'. NLP teaches that our mind-body (neuro) and what
we say (language) all interact together to form our perceptions of the world, or maps (programming). Each person's
map of the world determines feelings and behavior. Therefore, impoverished - and unrealistic - maps can restrict
choices and result in problems. As an approach to personal development or therapy it involves understanding that
people create their own internal 'map' or world, recognizing unhelpful or destructive patterns of thinking based on
impoverished maps of the world, then modifying or replacing these patterns with more useful or helpful ones. There
is also an emphasis on ways to change internal representations or maps of the world in order to increase behavioral
flexibility.[1] [2] [4]

Modeling
"Modeling" in NLP is the process of adopting the behaviors, language, strategies and beliefs of another in order to
'build a model of what they do...we know that our modeling has been successful when we can systematically get the
same behavioural outcome as the person we have modeled'. The 'model' is then reduced to a pattern that can be
taught to others. The founders, Bandler and Grinder, started by analysing in detail and then searching for what made
successful psychotherapists different from their peers. The patterns discovered were adapted for general
communication and effecting change.[1] The original models were: Milton Erickson (hypnotherapy), Virginia Satir
(family therapy), and Fritz Perls (gestalt therapy). NLP modeling methods are designed to unconsciously assimilate
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 23

the tacit knowledge to learn what the master is doing of which the master is not aware. As an approach to learning it
can involve modeling exceptional people.[5] As Bandler and Grinder state "the function of NLP modeling is to arrive
at descriptions which are useful."[1] Einspruch & Forman 1985 state that "when modeling another person the
modeler suspends his or her own beliefs and adopts the structure of the physiology, language, strategies, and beliefs
of the person being modeled. After the modeler is capable of behaviorally reproducing the patterns (of behavior,
communication, and behavioral outcomes) of the one being modeled, a process occurs in which the modeler
modifies and readopts his or her own belief system while also integrating the beliefs of the one who was modeled."[6]
Modeling is not confined to therapy, but can be, and is, applied to a broad range of human learning. Another aspect
of modeling is understanding the patterns of one's own behaviors in order to 'model' the more successful parts of
oneself.

Meta model
In NLP the Meta-model is a set of specifying questions or language patterns designed to challenge and expand the
limits to a person's model or 'map' of the world. When a person speaks about a problem or situation their choice of
words, (or ‘indicators’), will distort, generalize, and delete portions of their experience. By listening to and
responding to these language patterns the practitioner seeks to help the client to recover the information that is under
the surface of the words. A therapist who ’listens’ on the basis of their existing belief systems may miss important
aspects. The NLP meta-model, being based on the verbal patterning of Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, is intended to
facilitate detecting the indicators of limiting beliefs and restrictive thinking. The questions in the meta-model are
designed to bring clarity to the clients language and so to their underlying restrictive thinking and beliefs.
In business or therapy, the meta-model might be used to help a client elaborate the details of problems, proposals and
objectives by asking about the important information that has been left out. For example, a person states that "we
need to make a decision", a response could be to ask who will actually be doing the deciding and how exactly the
process of deciding (from decision) would take place. The word 'we' does not specify who is doing the action. Also,
the word 'decision' is a process which had been turned into an abstract noun. In that statement there was also an
implied necessity (from need) which could also be challenged to find out if it really is a necessity.[2]

Milton model
The Milton model is a form of hypnotherapy based on the language patterns for hypnotic communication of Milton
Erickson, a noted hypnotherapist.[7] It has been described as "a way of using language to induce and maintain trance
in order to contact the hidden resources of our personality".[8] The Milton model has three primary aspects: Firstly,
to assist in building and maintaining rapport with the client. Secondly, to overload and distract the conscious mind so
that unconscious communication can be cultivated. Thirdly, to allow for interpretation in the words offered to the
client.[9]
1. Rapport
The first aspect, building rapport, or empathy, is done to achieve better communication and responsiveness. NLP
teaches 'mirroring' or matching body language, posture, breathing, predicates and voice tonality. Rapport is an aspect
of 'pacing' or tuning into the client or learners world. Once pacing is established, the practitioner can 'lead' by
changing their behavior or perception so the other follows. O'Connor & Seymour in "Introducing NLP" describe
rapport as a 'harmonious dance', an extension of natural skills, but warn against mimicry.[8] Singer gives examples of
the pantomime effect of mere mimicry by some practitioners which does not create rapport.[10]
2. Overloading conscious attention
The second aspect of the milton model is that it uses ambiguity in language and non-verbal communication. This
might also be combined with vagueness, which arises when the boundaries of meaning are indistinct. The use of
ambiguity and vagueness distracts the conscious mind as it tries to work out what is meant which gives the
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 24

unconscious mind the opportunity to prosper.


3. Indirect communication
The third aspect of the Milton model is that it is purposely vague and metaphoric for the purpose of accessing the
unconscious mind. It is used to soften the meta model and make indirect suggestions.[11] A direct suggestion merely
states what is wanted, for example, "when you are in front of the audience you will not feel nervous". In contrast an
indirect suggestion is less authoritative and leaves an opportunity for interpretation, for example, "When you are in
front of the audience, you might find yourself feeling ever more confident". This example follows the indirect
method leaving both the specific time and level of self-confidence unspecified. It might be made even more indirect
by saying, "when you come to a decision to speak in public, you may find it appealing how your feelings have
changed." The choice of speaking in front of the audience, the exact time and the likely responses to the whole
process are framed but the imprecise language gives the client the opportunity to fill in the finer details.[12]

Representational systems
The notion that experience is processed by the sensory systems or representational systems, was incorporated into
NLP from psychology and gestalt therapy shortly after its creation.[1] This teaches that people perceive the world
through the senses and store the information from the senses in the mind. Memories are closely linked to sensory
experience. When people are processing information they see images and hear sounds and voices and process this
with internally created feelings. Some representations are within conscious awareness but information is largely
processed at the unconscious level. When involved in any task, such as making conversation, describing a problem
in therapy, reading a book, kicking a ball or riding a horse, their representational systems, consisting of images,
sounds, feelings (and possibly smell and taste) are being activated at the same time.[13] Moreover, the way
representational systems are organised and the links between them impact on behavioral performance. Many NLP
techniques rely on interrupting maladaptive patterns and replacing them with more positive and creative thought
patterns which will in turn impact on behavior.[14]
Preferred representational systems
Originally NLP taught that most people had an internal preferred representational system (PRS) and preferred to
process information primarily in one sensory modality. The practitioner could ascertain this from external cues such
as the direction of eye movements, posture, breathing, voice tone and the use of sensory-based predicates. If a person
repeatedly used predicates such as "I can see a bright future for myself", the words "see" and "bright" would be
considered visual predicates. In contrast "I can feel that we will be comfortable" would be considered primarily
kinesthetic because of the predicates "feel" and "comfortable". These verbal cues could also be coupled with posture
changes, skin color or breathing shifts. The theory was that the practitioner by matching and working within the
preferred representational system could achieve better communication with the client and hence swifter and more
effective results. Many trainings and standard works still teach PRS[8] whilst other proponents have de-emphasized
the existence and relevance of PRS and instead emphasize working within all representational systems. In particular,
New Code emphasizes individual calibration and sensory acuity, precluding such a rigidly specified model as the one
described above. Responding directly to sensory experience requires an immediacy which respects the importance of
context. Grinder has stated that a representational system diagnosis lasts about 30 seconds.
Although there is some research that supports the notion that eye movements can indicate visual and auditory (but
not kinesthetic) components of thought in that moment,[15] the existence of a preferred representational system
ascertainable from external cues (an important part of original NLP theory) was discounted by research in the
1980s.[16] [17] [18]
Submodalities
Submodalities are the fine details of representational systems. In the late 1970s the developers of NLP started
playing around with the submodalities of representational systems involving the enhancement of visualisation
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 25

techniques (common in sports psychology and meditation), by including other sensory systems. Submodalities
involve the relative size, location, brightness of internal images, the volume and direction of internal voices and
sounds, and the location, texture, and movement of internally created sensations.[19] Submodalities and hypnosis
became the focus of Richard Bandler's later work. A typical change process may involve manipulating the
submodalities of internal representations. For example, someone may see their future as 'dark and cloudy' with
associated emotions, but would seek through NLP to perceive, and feel it, as 'light and clear'. Other training exercises
develop a person's ability to move around internal images, change the quality of sounds and find out how these effect
the intensity of internal feelings or other submodalities. Although NLP did not discover submodalities, it appears that
the proponents of NLP may have been the first to systematically use manipulation of submodalities for therapeutic or
personal development purposes, particularly phobias, compulsions and addictions.[20]

Meta-programs
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) uses the term 'meta-programs' specifically to indicate general, pervasive and
usually habitual patterns used by an individual across a wide range of situations. Examples of NLP meta-programs
include the preference for overview or detail, the preference for where to place one's attention during conversation,
habitual linguistic patterns and body language, and so on.
Related concepts in other disciplines are known as cognitive styles or thinking styles.
In NLP, the term programs is used as a synonym for strategy, which are specific sequences of mental steps, mostly
indicated by their representational activity (using VAKOG), leading to a behavioral outcome. In the entry for the
term strategy in their Encyclopedia, Robert Dilts & Judith Delozier explicitly refer to the mind as computer
metaphor: "A strategy is like a program in a computer. It tells you what to do with the information you are getting,
and like a computer program, you can use the same strategy to process a lot of different kinds of information." In
their encyclopedia, Dilts and Delozier then define metaprograms as: "[programs] which guide and direct other
thought processes. Specifically they define common or typical patterns in the strategies or thinking styles of a
particular individual, group or culture."
One set of meta-programs consisting of 13 distinct patterns effecting work-place motivation and performance was
elicited by Rodger Bailey and Ross Steward from their work as HR consultants and developed as the Language and
Behaviour Profile, commonly known as the 'LAB Profile'. Rodger's work was further extended and developed by
Shelle Rose Charvet and published in her book 'Words that Change Minds'.

Aphorisms/presuppositions
Depending on the branch of NLP (different trainers or companies) the number and some of the content of the
presuppositions may vary. Some of them are:
• The meaning of a communication is the response that you get (not the one intended).
• The map is not the territory
• Life and 'Mind' are Systemic Processes
• Mind and body are parts of the same system and have infuence over each other
• Law of Requisite Variety
• All behaviour is geared towards adaptation
• Behind every behavior is a positive intention
• People are doing the best they can with the choices they have available
• Choice is better than no choice (and flexibility is the way one gets choice)
• Multiple descriptions are better than one
• Behaviour is to be evaluated and appreciated or changed as appropriate in the context presented
• People already have all the resources they need to succeed
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 26

• The highest quality information you can have of someone is their (present) behaviour.
• People are not their behaviour: accept people, change the behaviour (Also: Make distinction between behaviour
and self).
• Every outcome manifested is Feedback: there is no failure, only feedback

Techniques
Anchoring
NLP teaches that we constantly make anchors (associations) between what we see, hear and feel and our emotional
states. While in an emotional state if a person is exposed to a unique stimulus (sight, sound or touch) then a
connection is made between the emotion and the unique stimulus. If the unique stimulus occurs again, the emotional
state will then be triggered. NLP teaches that anchors (such as a particular touch associated with a memory or state)
can be deliberately created and triggered to help people access 'resourceful' or other target states.[21] Anchoring
appears to have been imported into NLP from family therapy as part of the 'model' of Virginia Satir.[22]
Swish
The swish pattern is a process that is designed to disrupt a pattern of thought from one that used to lead to an
unwanted behavior to one that leads to a desired behavior. This involves visualizing a 'cue' which leads into the
unwanted behavior, such as a smokers hand moving towards the face with a cigarette in it, and reprogramming the
mind to 'switch' to a visualization of the desired outcome, such as a healthy looking person, energetic and fit. In
addition to visualization, auditory sound effects are often imagined to enhance the experience.[23] Swish is one of the
techniques that involves the manipulation of submodalities.
Reframing
Another technique, reframing functions through "changing the way you perceive an event and so changing the
meaning. When the meaning changes, responses and behaviours will also change. Reframing with language allows
you to see the world in a different way and this changes the meaning. Reframing is the basis of jokes, myths,
legends, fairy tales and most creative ways of thinking."[24] There are examples in children's literature. Pollyanna
would play The Glad Game whenever she felt down about life, to remind herself of the things that she could do, and
not worry about the things she couldn't. Alice Mills also says that this occurs in Hans Christian Andersen's story
where to the surprise of the ugly duckling, the beautiful creatures welcome and accept him; gazing at his reflection,
he sees that he too is a swan.[25] Reframing is common to a number of therapies and was not original to NLP.[26]
Six step reframe
An example of reframing is found in the six-step reframe which involves distinguishing between an underlying
intention and the consequent behaviors for the purpose of achieving the intention by different and more successful
behaviors. It is based on the notion that there is a positive intention behind all behaviors, but that the behaviors
themselves may be unwanted or counterproductive in other ways. NLP uses this staged process to identify the
intention and create alternative choices to satisfy that intention.
Well-formed outcome
In NLP this is one of a number of 'frames' wherein the desired state is considered as to its achievability and effect if
achieved. A positive outcome must be defined by the client, be within the clients power to achieve, retain the
positive products of the unwanted behaviours and produce an outcome that is appropriate for all circumstances.[20]
Ecology
This is a frame within which the desired outcome is checked against the consequences in the clients life and
relationships from all angles.
Parts integration
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 27

Parts Integration is based on the idea that different aspects of ourselves are in conflict due to different perceptions
and beliefs. 'Parts integration' is the process of integrating the disparate aspects of the self by identifying and then
negotiating with the separate parts to achieve resolution of internal conflict. Parts integration appears to be modeled
on 'parts' from family therapy and has similarities to ego-state therapy in psychoanalysis.
VK/D
VK/D stands for 'Visual/Kinesthetic Dissociation'. This is a technique designed to eliminate bad feelings associated
with past events by re-running (like a film, sometimes in reverse) an associated memory in a dissociated state. It
combines elements of Eriksonian techniques, spatial sorting processes from Fritz Perls, reframing and 'changing
history' techniques.[20]
Metaphor
Largely derived from the ideas of Bateson and the techniques of Erikson, 'metaphor' in NLP ranges from simple
figures of speech to allegories and stories. It tends to be used in conjunction with the skills of the Milton model to
create a story which operates on many levels with the intention of communicating with the unconscious and to find
and challenge basic assumptions.[8] [20]

References
[1] Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press.. pp. 149(pp.15,24, 30,
45,52). ISBN 0911226192.
[2] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science &
Behavior Books. ISBN 0831400447.
[3] Dilts, R.B., Grinder, J., Bandler, R., DeLozier, J.A. (1980). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I - The Study of the Structure of
Subjective Experience. Meta Publications. pp. 284(pp.3–4, 6, 14,17). ISBN 0916990079.
[4] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1983). Reframing: Neurolinguistic programming and the transformation of meaning. Moab, UT: Real
People Press.. pp. appendix II,p.171.
[5] Jacobson, S. (1994) Info-line: practical guidelines for training and development professionals, American Society For Training and
Development Alexandria, VA Adapted version available online (http:/ / sidjacobson. com/ institute/ history. html)
[6] Einspruch, Eric L., Forman, Bruce D. (1985). "Observations Concerning Research Literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming". Journal of
Counseling Psychology 32 (4): pp. 589–596. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.32.4.589.
[7] Norma Barretta (2004) Review of Hypnotic Language: Its Structure and Use. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Bloomingdale: Jan
2004. Vol.46, Iss. 3; pg. 261, 2 pgs
[8] Joseph O'Connor, John Seymour (2002 (first published 1990)). Introducing NLP (http:/ / www. reiters. com/ index. cgi?ISBN=1855383446&
f=p). London: HarperCollins. ISBN 1855383446. .
[9] Pruett, Julie Annette Sikes (2002) The application of the neuro-linguistic programming model to vocal performance training D.M.A., The
University of Texas at Austin, 151 pages; AAT 3108499
[10] Singer, Margaret & Janja Lalich (1997). Crazy Therapies: What Are They? Do They Work?. Jossey Bass. ISBN 0787902780.
[11] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1. Cupertino, CA :Meta
Publications. ISBN 0-916990-01-X.
[12] Rothlyn P Zahourek. (2002) Utilizing Ericksonian hypnosis in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice Perspectives in Psychiatric Care.
Philadelphia: Jan-Mar 2002. Vol.38, Iss. 1; pg. 15, 8 pgs
[13] Druckman and Swets (eds) (1988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques (http:/ / darwin. nap. edu/ books/
0309037921/ html/ 133. html), National Academy Press.
[14] Cooper and Seal (2006) "Theory and Approaches - Eclectic-integrative approaches: Neuro-linguistic programming" In Feldtham and Horton
(Eds) The SAGE Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy 2e
[15] Buckner, Meara, Reese, and Reese (1987) Journal of Counselling Psychology , Vol. 34(3), pp.283-287
[16] Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.
[17] Heap, M. (1988) (PDF). Neuro-linguistic programming, In M. Heap (Ed.) Hypnosis: Current Clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices
(http:/ / www. mheap. com/ nlp1. pdf). London: Croom Helm. .
[18] Elich, M., Thompson, R. W., & Miller, L. (1985). Mental imagery as revealed by eye movements and spoken predicates: A test of
neurolinguistic programming (http:/ / eric. ed. gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?_nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails&
ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ327573& ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b800561ca). Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 622-625. note: "psychological fad"p.625
[19] Tosey, P. Jane Mathison (2003) Neuro-linguistic Programming and learning theory: a response The Curriculum Journal Vol.14 No.3
p.371-388 See also (available online): Neuro-linguistic programming: its potential for learning and teaching in formal education (http:/ / www.
Methods of neuro-linguistic programming 28

leeds. ac. uk/ educol/ documents/ 00003319. htm)


[20] Dilts, Robert B; DeLozier, Judith A (2000). Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding (http:/ / www.
nlpuniversitypress. com/ ). NLP University Press. ISBN 0970154003. .
[21] Krugman, Martin, et al., (1985): "Neuro-linguistic programming treatment for anxiety: Magic or myth?." Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology. Aug, Vol. 53(4) pp. 526-530.
[22] Haber, Russell, (2002): Virginia Satir: An integrated, humanistic approach Contemporary Family Therapy, Vol 24(1), Mar 2002,p32 pp.
23-34 ISSN 1573-3335 DOI:10.1023/A:1014317420921
[23] Masters, B Rawlins, M, Rawlins, L, Weidner, J. (1991) "The NLP swish pattern: An innovative visualizing technique. Journal of Mental
Health Counseling. Vol 13(1) Jan 1991, 79-90. "
[24] Joseph O'Connor NLP: A Practical Guide to Achieving the Results You Want: Workbook Harper Collins 2001
[25] Alice Mills (1999) Pollyanna and the not so glad game. Children's Literature. Storrs: 1999. Vol.27 pg. 87, 18 pgs
[26] Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory" (http:/ / eric. ed.
gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails& ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ352101&
ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b8005c1ac). Communication and Cognition Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 1987 Vol. 34, No. 1: 103–107, 105. .
Positive and negative (NLP) 29

Positive and negative (NLP)

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

The term positive is generally used to mean "desirable" or "beneficial", and negative is generally used to mean
"undesirable" or "bad". However, in neuro-linguistic programming they have a specific meanings in the phrases
positive intent and stated in the positive, and negative intent and stated in the negative.

Application
In this sense, the term is used to mean linguistically stated in the affirmatory. In other words, a goal or intent is said
to be positively stated if it is stated by reference to a state or thing one desires, and it is said to be negatively stated
by reference to a state or thing one wishes to avoid.

Views
Virginia Satir originated a slightly different meaning of the phrase positive intention. She believed that digging
deeply into a client's dysfunctional or damaging behaviour should find that the client is trying to achieve a positive
intent through undesirable behaviour, unconsciously ineptly and harmfully, and that the dysfunction could often be
helped by finding other ways to honor that positive intention.
In a similar vein, psychiatrist R. D. Laing has argued that the symptoms of what is normally called mental illness are
comprehensible reactions to impossible demands that society and family life place on sensitive individuals.

Examples
The following statements are all positive intent or stated in the positive, regardless of whether they are beneficial or
damaging wishes:
Stated in the positive
• I want a car with a 6 litre engine.
• I'm hoping to retire in 5 years.
• I'd like to steal/harm/take something or someone (stated in the positive in the technical linguistic and NLP senses,
and would constitute a "positive intention", though negative in an everyday sense).
The following statements are all negative intent or stated in the negative, regardless of whether they are beneficial or
damaging wishes:
Stated in the negative:
• I don't like this office.
• I hate it.
Positive and negative (NLP) 30

• I want them to stop picking on me.


• When I retire I won't have to work.
• If I had money I wouldn't have to steal (stated in the negative in the linguistic and NLP senses; it does not
constitute a positive intention, though it is a positive wish in an everyday sense. To turn it into a positive, one
might ask questions such as, "What would you like to be doing if you were not stealing?")

Functional significance
The significance of this comes from the psychological phenomenon claimed by some, that the mind does not always
process neuro-linguistically negatives well. For example, when one focuses on what he or she does not want, the
mind may, at some level, imagine the object to be avoided more than the relational word "not." For example, the
common quote, "Don't think of a white bear!" may cause one to have difficulty not thinking of a white bear.
In cognitive terms, therefore, "not wanting to steal" is not the same as "being honest," and tends to keep the negative
idea at the forefront of the mind. It also subjectively suggests a single dead-end rather than a general direction to go.
This is why, whilst a wish to avoid can motivate, it is generally not seen by NLP as being as useful as a positive
intention.

Positive intent
A person's intention in performing an action is his or her specific purpose in doing so, the end or goal at which he or
she aims or intends to accomplish. Whether an action is successful or unsuccessful depends at least on whether the
intended result was brought about. The aphorism in NLP is that all human action fulfils a positive intent at some
level. Often, the intent, if explored, will be quite surprising and revealing, and suggest new directions of thought,
especially to people who habitually think in terms of negative intention. For example:
• I don't want to take that job
Possible positive intention: I want to be able to relax
Possible effect: the client may come to see that the job need not in fact be in conflict with relaxation, or
may explore ways to remain calm at work. Otherwise, if the job be detrimental, the client should
consider a different career or other forms of relaxation outside work.
For these reasons, in NLP it is generally seen as more beneficial to focus on the opportunities a person has, other
than those he or she wants to be gone.

References
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979) Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Real People Press. 149 pages.
ISBN 0911226192
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1975) The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy Science and
Behavior Books. 198 pages. ISBN 0831400447
• Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1981) Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning
Real People Press. ISBN 0911226257
• Bandler, R., Andreas, S. (ed) and Andreas, C. (ed) (1985) Using Your Brain-for a Change ISBN 0911226273
Meta-model (NLP) 31

Meta-model (NLP)

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

The meta-model (initially named meta-model of therapy[1] and also known as meta-model of language[2] ) is a
pragmatic communications model used to specify information in a speaker's language. It is often contrasted with the
intentionally ambiguous Milton Erickson inspired-Milton model. The meta model was originally presented in The
Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy in 1975[1] by Richard Bandler and linguist John Grinder,
the co-founders of neuro-linguistic programming, who collaborated between 1973 and 1975.
The authors were particularly interested in the patterns of language and behavior that effective psychotherapists used
with their clients to effect change.[1] They observed and imitated gestalt therapist Fritz Perls and family systems
therapist Virginia Satir in person and via recordings. The authors cited Noam Chomsky's transformational syntax,
which was John Grinder's linguistics specialization, and ideas about human modeling from the work of Alfred
Korzybski as being influential in their thinking. Of particular interest was Korzybski's critique of cause-effect
rationale and his notion that "the map is not the territory" which also featured in Gregory Bateson's writing.[3]
The meta model consists of categories of questions or heuristics which seek to challenge linguistic distortion, clarify
generalization and recover deleted information which occurs in a speaker's language. Typically, questions may be in
the form of "What X, specifically?", "How specifically?", "According to whom?" and "How do you know that?". A
follow-up to the meta model was the authors' Milton H. Erickson-inspired model called the Milton model which is
used to soften the meta model, maintain rapport, make indirect suggestion and to allow the client to generate their
own meaning for what was said.[4]

Discussion
Definition of the meta-model:
People respond to events based on their internal pictures, sounds and feelings. They also collect these
experiences into groups or categories that are labeled with words. The meta-model is a method for helping
someone go from the information-poor word maps back to the specific sensory-based experiences they are
based on. It is here in the information-rich specific experiences that useful changes can be made that will result
in changes in behavior."[5]
Uses of meta model in psychotherapy:
"The question the PTSD victim often asks is, why did this happen to me? The astute clinician needs to probe
for the deep meaning (Bandler & Grinder, 1975) of the term "this." What specific aspect(s) of the event have
toxic meanings to the individual? In addition, the clinician needs to assess the specific attributions that patients
give to their responses. For instance, if they believe that because they have intrusive memories of the
experience, they are crazy, this will lead to increased suffering."[6]
Meta-model (NLP) 32

The meta model

Deep structure/surface structure


At a deep level of thought, a speaker has a more complete representation of the intended communication. Bandler
and Grinder equated this level of thought to what Noam Chomsky described as the deep structure. In 1957, Chomsky
published Syntactic Structures, in which he developed the idea that each sentence in a language has two levels of
representation — a deep structure and a surface structure.[7] The deep structure represented the core semantic
relations of a sentence, and was mapped on to the surface structure (which followed the phonological form of the
sentence very closely) via transformations. Bandler and Grinder believed that for efficiency in communication,
information is transformed, that is, thought is subject to a unconscious process of deletion, generalization and
distortion which is influenced by pre-existing beliefs, strategies, memories, and decisions. What is represented (at the
surface structure) as spoken word or written down is a mere subset of the original thought revealing distorted
assumptions, mystical thinking, over-simplification, impoverished experience and, thus, limited maps of the world.
These limitations are challenged in the meta model to clarify, and elaborate a client's communication and maps of the
world which Bandler and Grinder believed had therapeutic benefit.[1]

The map is not the territory


Bandler and Grinder also acknowledged the influence of Korzybski's dictum, "The map is not the territory". They try
to signify that individual people in fact do not in general have access to absolute knowledge of reality, but in fact
only have access to a set of beliefs they have built up over time, about reality. So it is considered important to be
aware that people's beliefs about reality and their awareness of things (the "map") are not reality itself or everything
they could be aware of ("the territory"). Bandler and Grinder, like Korzybski, held that many people do confuse
maps with territories which may limit an individual's understanding and cognitive abilities unless the two are
distinguished.

Intuition
The third aspect of the meta model involve the use of intuition. Bandler and Grinder held that the exceptional
communicators that they modeled used the meta model intuitively. They believed that a therapist who has more
experiences with dealing with clients will tend to have a better instinct or intuition about what they should do in
certain situations.[3] The reliability of one’s intuition depends greatly on past knowledge and occurrences in a
specific area. This is not to say that one with a great amount of experience is always going to have an accurate
intuition (because some can be biased); however, the chances of it being more reliable are definitely amplified.[8]

Distortion
Bandler and Grinder's (1975) model focuses on semantic ill-formedness and distortions, which they argued was a
linguistic cue to a speaker's impoverished or limited experience of the world.

Presuppositions
In this model, a "presupposition" is a statement in which one or more unstated assumption(s) must be taken for
granted (presupposed) for the statement to make sense.
Example 1:
• "John began learning the meta model yesterday, too."
• Presuppositions: (1) the word "too" implies that there was another person who began learning the meta model
yesterday.
• Response: "Who else learned the meta model yesterday?"
Meta-model (NLP) 33

Example 2:
• "Do you want to learn the meta model again today?"
• Presupposition: I have done it already, at least once.
• Challenge: "Have I done it before?"
Example 3:
• "My husband is as lazy as my son."
• Presuppositions: You have a husband; you have a son; your son is lazy.
• Challenge: "Am I to assume that your son is lazy?"

Cause-Effect
Cause-effect, this shows how to identify the inappropriate use of causal thinking (x means y, x makes me y, or x
makes y happen), which is considered semantically ill-formed and unacceptable (irrational).[9]
Causality always implies at least some relationship of dependency between the cause and the effect. For example,
deeming something a cause may imply that, all other things being equal, if the cause occurs the effect does as well,
or at least that the probability of the effect occurring increases.
Example 1:
• "My wife makes me angry."
• Challenge: How specifically can your wife make you angry?
• There is a presupposition here that someone can physically cause an emotional response in another person.
NLP emphasizes the importance of state management and that individuals have choice about which state they
occupy independent of others. People can choose how they respond to stimulus. Along these lines, it is
impossible for someone to make or cause someone else to feel, be, do something with words alone.
Example 2:
• I'm nervous because something happened to me last time in this situation.
• Challenge: How specifically can a past effect cause your current state to change?
• There is a presupposition in NLP that memory of the past is no more unchangeable than a goal in the future. If
a past memory is impacting on current performance then you can make changes to the past memory.

Mind-reading violation
Mind-reading violation occurs when someone claims to think they know what another is thinking without
verification. Assuming the intentions of others or how someone will act without evidence or confirmation.
Example 1:
• "If he doesn't start paying his share of the bills, she is going to leave him."
• Challenge: "How do you know this? Has she told you that she intends to leave him if he doesn't?"
Example 2:
• Client: "She is annoyed with me."
• Change agent: "I'm curious to know, how do you know that she was annoyed?"
• Client: "Her arms were crossed."
• Change agent: "Did you ask her? Perhaps she crossed her arms because she is cold or she finds it more
comfortable in that position."
• In NLP there is an emphasis on calibration and sensory acuity. Intuitions about what people are thinking based
on gestures, body language or other cues without adequate calibration distorts the intended communication and
considered to be a mind reading violation.
Example 3:
Meta-model (NLP) 34

• "You did not think about me when you did that"


• "How do you know what thoughts I had?"

Nominalization
A nominalization is a verb (process word) which has been transformed into an abstract noun. It is like taking a
snapshot of a moving object, subjectively the representation has less "movement", and seems like a "static"
representation. That is, a dynamic process (or verb) is transformed into a static thing (or noun).
Examples of nominalization
Example 1:
• "The communication [from 'communicate'] in this company is poor."
• Challenge: "How could we communicate more effectively?"
Example 2:
• Client: "My decision will be made by tomorrow."
• Challenge: "How specifically will you decide?"
• When a verb is transformed into a abstract noun (decision is the nominalized form of decide) it is considered
by the author of the model to become stagnant. The intention of responding with the verb form is to facilitate
movement and have the respondent become aware of the process form of deciding.
Additional examples
applicability (from applicable)
• The applicability of the meta model was noticeable.
• How specifically was it applicable?
carelessness (from careless)
• Her carelessness was apparent in the way she looked away.
• How specifically was she careless?
difficulty (from difficult)
• The difficulty of the test was a hurdle.
• How specifically was it difficult?
failure (from fail)
• It was a big failure.
• How specifically did it fail?
intensity (from intense)
• The intensity was overwhelming.
• How intense was it?
investigation (from investigate)
• The investigation was carried out thoroughly.
• How specifically was it investigated?
reaction (from react)
• My reaction was immediate.
• How specifically did you react?
Meta-model (NLP) 35

The wheelbarrow test


Note
there are 2 simple tests that can be used to determine if a word or expression is a nominalization:
• the wheelbarrow test: if you can put it into a wheelbarrow, it is NOT a nominalization. E.g. A drink is a noun, but
it is not a nominalization... as it is tangible, it can be put into a wheelbarrow and carried around. Quality control
fails the wheelbarrow test and is a nominalization.
• If the word continuous can be put in front of the noun and still make sense. E.g. improvement becomes
continuous improvement, hence improvement is a nominalization. (The fact that continuous can be added
indicates that there is a dynamic aspect to this static element).
These examples are used to show how to identify limiting use of language. When a verb is used instead, the mind of
the user becomes more flexible in terms of seeing different points of view and looking for solutions to problems.[10]

Complex equivalence
Complex equivalence (X↔Y, or X is equivalent to Y) draws an unsubstantiated link between an event and its
consequence. The logic just does not follow.
Example 1
• Client: "And now my secretary quit. I'll be bankrupt by the end of the year!"
• Challenge: "Are you telling me your fortune depended on your secretary's employment?"
Example 2
• Client: "She is always late, she must not love me."
• Challenge: "How, specifically, does her lateness mean she does not love you?"

Generalization
• See also: hasty generalization, Glittering generality

Universal quantification
A universal quantifier is a word which binds a quality to everything, or every relevant thing it refers to (a lot, all,
every, everyone, most, no, none, never, nobody, no-one, some, somebody). It occurs when someone attempts to
characterize something as true for everything, everyone or all those in a set. The words in italics are called
quantifiers.
Example 1:
• "My co-workers are all lazy."
• Challenge: "All of them?" or "Which co-workers, specifically?"
Example 2:
• "Everyone hates me."
• Challenge: "Every one of them? Which people, specifically?"
Example 3:
• "This makes no sense whatsoever."
• Challenge: "What specifically, does not make sense?"
Example 4:
• Client: "Nobody likes me."
• Challenge: "Nobody?", "Who specifically does not like you?"
• Client: "My co-workers..."
Meta-model (NLP) 36

• Challenge: "Which co-workers specifically?"

Modal operators
Modal operator verbs give more information about the function of the main verb that follows it. Although having a
great variety of communicative functions, these functions can all be related to a scale ranging from possibility (can)
to necessity (must). Modal operators are intuitively characterised by expressing a modal attitude, such as necessity
(modal verbs: have to, must, should) or possibility (can, might, may) towards the proposition which it is applied to.
They can also appear in the contracted negated form (e.g. shouldn't, can't, mustn't).

Modal operator of necessity


The modal operator of necessity (e.g. must, should, ought to, have to, its necessary to, ...) expresses an absolute
(often moral) obligation, order or requirement.
• Example 1: "I must redeem myself."
• Response: What would happen if you didn't redeem yourself?
The modal operators of necessity, shall/should, in 1st person objective though not moral obligation, no choice, as in:
• Example 2: "I should make an effort."
• Response: "What would happen if you didn't make an effort?"
• Example 3 (negated): "I shouldn't do that."
• Response: "What would happen if you did?"

Modal operator of possibility


The modal operators of possibility (e.g. can, could, might, may, its possible to, ...) expresses intention, permission,
option or choice.
• Example 1: "I can/could/might/may/will do it later."
• Response: What would happen if you didn't do it later?
• Example 2: "I can't/couldn't/won't put myself together."
• Response: "What would happen if you did?", "What would happen if you didn't?"

Deletion

Simple Deletions
In a simple deletion an important element in a statement is missing. For example:
Example 1:
• Client: "Go and do it."
• Response: "Do what, specifically?"
Example 2:
• Client: "That is really important to me."
• Response: "What specifically is important?" or "Important, to whom?"
Example 3:
• Client: "I feel bad."
• "How specifically do you experience that feeling?", "What specifically do you feel bad about?"
In these examples, the key words to look out for are it and that.
The appropriate response would be to ask what, where or when exactly? e.g. "Go and do what exactly?" This
example is used for teaching how to identify this common linguistic distortion. In responding, this question is
Meta-model (NLP) 37

considered to help gather information about the limiting pattern of the client.

Unspecified Verbs
In an unspecified verb it is not clear how the action creates or created the result.
Example 1:
• Client: "I created a great impression on them."
• Response: "How exactly did you create a great impression (and note the unspecified referential index “them”)
on who exactly?"
• Note: The appropriate response is to ask how exactly does taking "x" action lead to "y" result.
Example 2:
• Client: "My students are failing me."
• Respondent: "Failing, how?"

Unspecified Comparatives
Unspecified Comparatives or null comparative is a comparative in which the starting point for comparison is not
stated.
Example comparisons in English:

good better best

well better best

bad worse worst

far farther farthest

far further furthest

little littler, less(er) littlest, least

many more most

Example 1:
• Client: "I put my best effort forward."
• Challenge: "Best, compared to what?"
• Essentially the response is attempting to recover information about the comparison criteria the client is using.
Example 2:
• Client: "I'm playing much better now"
• Challenge: "Better, compared to what?"
Example 3:
• Client: "I felt worse than ever."
• Challenge: "Worse, compared to what?"
• Client: "Than before..."
• Challenge: "Before, what specifically?"
• Client: "I feel worse than I was before the accident."
Meta-model (NLP) 38

Unspecified referential index


Unspecified referential index, refers to the use of personal pronoun (they, them, you, he, she, men, women, ...)
when the context is unknown, or can not easily be understood based on the preceding sentences. For example
uncontextualised use of they, them, you, ...
Examples:
• Example 1: "They say I should go into business, but I don't know if I have the confidence."
• Challenge: "Who is it that says you should go into business?"
• Example 2: "Yeah, I have tried alcohol before. It makes you say stupid things."
• Challenge: "Wait, it makes me say stupid things?"
• Example 3: "I hate watching the Packers in the playoffs. We always lose and it makes me depressed."
• Challenge: "By 'we', do you mean that you are part of the Packers?"[1]
• Example 4: "He shook her hand."
• Challenge: Who shook who's hand exactly?
• Example 5: Why do they always rely on Mary to do their homework for them?
• Challenge: Who specifically is 'they'?
• Example 6: They tried to run away from the hunter, but he set his dogs after them.
• Challenge: When you said, 'they', who were you referring to? Also, who exactly is, 'them'? Also, can I assume
that by "he" you were referring to the hunter?

Lost Performative
Lost Performative makes reference to a performative speech act, but the person who is the source of it, and
sometimes the speech act itself, is unspecified. This often takes the form of a value judgment without
acknowledgment of the fact that a person is the source of that value judgment.
Example 1:
• Client: "Her book was highly acclaimed."
• Challenge: "Acclaimed, by whom?" or "How do you know that?"
Example 2:
• Client: "Disobeying the government is wrong."
• Challenge: "Wrong, according to whom?"
Example 3:
• Client: "An apology was given"
• Challenge: "Who gave the apology and to whom was it given?"

Influences
John Grinder did his doctoral thesis on Noam Chomsky's Transformational Grammar.[3]
It can also be traced to the nominalistic tradition of William of Ockham.
An effort unrelated by origin but going in the same direction of improving clarity of communication is the
constructed language Loglan (and its close cousin, Lojban).
Influenced by Korzybski's critique of cause effect (x makes me feel y).[9]
Meta-model (NLP) 39

References
[1] Bandler, Richard; Grinder, John (1975a). [- The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy]. Palo Alto, CA: Science &
Behavior Books.. p. ch.3. -. -.
[2] Stanojevic, GD., 1990, 'Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Meta Model of Language.' Linguistic and Speech Recognition, Belgrade School.
pages.1-43.
[3] Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001.). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises. pp. 127, 171, 222, ch.3, Appendix. -.
[4] Bandler, Richard, John Grinder, Judith Delozier (1977). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume II.
Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications..
[5] (Steve Andreas, 2003 Book review: Whispering in the Wind (http:/ / www. steveandreas. com/ Articles/ whispering. html))
[6] Schwarz, R.; Proute, M. Integrative approaches in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice,
Training. 28(2) pp.364-373.
[7] Chomsky, Noam (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. MIT Press.
[8] Eugene Sadler-Smith. Inside Intuition. 2008.
[9] Chong, DK., and Chong, JKS. (2001) "Cause and Effect" Rapport magazine of ANLP. available online (http:/ / www.
neuro-semanticprogramming. com/ CauseandEffect. htm)
[10] Bob G. Bodenhamer, L. Michael Hall. (2001) The User's Manual for the Brain ."Neuro-Linguistic Programming" Crown House Publishing
1899836322
Milton model 40

Milton model

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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The Milton Model is a model for indirect interpersonal communications inspired by psychiatrist and pioneer of
medical hypnosis, Milton H. Erickson. The model was created by linguist John Grinder and Richard Bandler, the
co-founders of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). It is described by the authors as the reverse set of the meta
model. Whereas the meta model sought to specify distortion, deletions and generalization in a speaker's language, the
Milton model intentionally utilizes those patterns. It is general, ambiguous and metaphoric. The Milton model and
meta model of NLP were the first two models of NLP.
Bandler and Grinder met with Erickson on a regular basis, and modeled his approach and his work over many
months. In 1975-1976 they published a first volume set of patterns, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H.
Erickson Volume I (1975), followed in 1977 by Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson Volume
II, which together form the basis of the model, a means to use deliberately imprecise language to enable a person to
work at an unconscious or somatic level rather than a cognitive level, to resolve clinical issues more effectively.[1]
The Milton Model lists the key parts of speech and key patterns that are useful in directing another person's line of
thinking by being "artfully vague", and in principle the model states that larger chunks (more general use of
language) can lead to more rapport, while smaller chunks, (more specific language) is more limiting and has a
greater chance of excluding concepts from a person's experience.
The patterns of the Milton Model can be used to
• pace another person's reality to gain rapport.
• access unconscious resources of another person to gather information or to lead them into an altered state.
• distract the conscious mind.

Indirect methods
Erickson maintained that it was not possible to consciously instruct the subconscious mind, and that authoritarian
suggestions were likely to be met with resistance. The subconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities,
metaphors and contradictions. Effective hypnotic suggestion, then, should be 'artfully vague', leaving space for the
subject to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings - even if they do not consciously grasp what is
happening. The skilled hypnotherapist constructs these gaps of meaning in a way most suited to the individual
subject - in a way which is most likely to produce the desired change.
The Milton model is purposely vague and metaphoric and is used to soften the meta model and make indirect
suggestions.[2] A direct suggestion merely states the goal. For example, "When you are in front of the audience you
will not feel nervous". Whereas an indirect suggestion is less authoritative and leaves an opportunity for
interpretation. For example, "When you are in front of the audience, you might find yourself feeling ever more
confident". The preceding example follows the indirect method as both the specific time and level of self-confidence
Milton model 41

is left unspecified. It might be made even more indirect by saying, "When you come to a decision to speak in public,
you may find it appealing how your feelings have changed." The choice of speaking in front of the audience, the
exact time, and the likely responses to the whole process are framed, but imprecise language gives the client the
opportunity to fill in the finer details.[3]

Rapport and entering the client's world


There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport which the authors of the
Milton model reported from their observations of Milton Erickson: matching of non-verbal behaviour (ie, posture,
gesture, breathing, ...). In Uncommon Therapy, Jay Haley, stated that Erickson developed the ability to enter the
world view of his patients and, from that vantage point (having established rapport), he was able to make extremely
effective interventions (to help his patients overcome life problems). Bandler and Grinder stated that rapport (verbal
and non-verbal) was essential for gaining interest and attention and necessary for effective communication.

Pacing and leading


Bandler and Grinder described pacing and leading the client in their book titled Structure of Magic. While pacing,
the practitioner just feeds back the client's current experience. Stephen Gilligan describes Bandler and Grinder's
approach as process oriented in which the practitioner paces the ongoing experience of the client in order to build
rapport and reducing resistance to the leading statements. Gilligan offers an example similar to the following (p. 4
2003)[4] :
1. You are sitting in that chair (pacing)
2. You are looking over here (pacing)
3. You are breathing in an even rhythm (pacing)
4. Hearing the sound of my voice (pacing)
5. And as you move slightly in your chair (pacing)
6. You may also begin to find comfort entering into a state of relaxation (leading)

The meta model


The meta model was the first model presented by Bandler and Grinder in 1975 based on Fritz Perls and Virginia
Satir together with some language categories from transformation syntax.[5] It consists of categories of questions or
heuristics which seek to challenge linguistic distortion, clarify generalization and recover deleted information which
occurs in a speaker's language. Typically, questions may be in the form of "What X, specifically?", "How
specifically?", "According to whom?" and "How do you know that?". Whereas the meta model is very specific, the
Milton model was described by the authors as intentionally vague. Many of the Milton model patterns are
intentionally distorted, generalized and deleted.
Milton model 42

The Milton model: inverse of the meta-model

Unspecified nouns, pronouns and verbs


Process verbs: to understand, generate, think, consider, process, comprehend, ... Pronouns: We, our, "this
gentlemen", "some people", ...
Example 1: "People can generate resources using the Milton Model."
In this sentence there are a number of aspects which are not specified according to the meta model of NLP:
1. Which people, specifically? (unspecified pronoun)
2. How specifically can these people generate resources? (clarify unspecified verb)
3. What specific resources do these people generate? (clarify unspecified noun)
In order for the respondent to comprehend the sentence, he or she would have to make their own meaning for these
unspecified nouns ("people", "resources") and verbs ("generate").

Referential index shift


A shift in referential index occurs when the subject of the sentence shifts from one perspective to another. In the
following example, first person (I) shifts to third person ("you").
• Example: "From my perspective, I think this model has been in improving my communications, your colleagues
will notice that you have become more effective in your communications.

Null comparatives
Use of comparison words (more, better, best, greatest) where one or both of the objects compared is unspecified:
• "The more you practice the use of this model, the better you will become at communication."

Universal quantifiers
• Use of quantifiers such as: all, every, everyone, ...
• Example: "You can always improve your language skills with every conversation you have."

Linguistic presuppositions
• "Before you go into trance, I'd like you to sit comfortably in that chair as we talk about your outcomes for today."
• When you go into trance, you may discover new resources that you did not realize you had yet.
In the above examples the temporal predicates "before" and "when" presuppose that the person "will go into trance"
is unstated yet assumed nevertheless.
Milton model 43

Indirect suggestion

Conversational postulates
These are yes/no questions but are rarely answered with a yes or no. In order to understand the sense it is necessary
to process the meaning of it.
• Example: Can you just take a moment to take a deep breath and relax?

Embedded questions
Rather than directly asking: "What are you thinking about?", one might state:
• "I'm curious to know what you are thinking.", or
• "I'm just wondering what you are thinking."
In the above example the question what are you thinking about? is embedded in the statement sentence structure.

Embedded commands
An embedded command is typically distinguished or marked out using a subtle shift in voice tonality or non-verbal
cue.
• "You may begin to feel a sense of comfort as you begin to develop these skills in your daily life."
In the above example two commands: (1) feel a sense of comfort and (2) develop these skills are embedded in the
sentence structure. The command would be marked out by the speaker, for example, verbally with a subtle shift in
voice tone (e.g. deeper voice tone) or voice quality (e.g. "a gravelly voice"), the voice may be directed spatially or
with non-verbal cues or anchors (gesture, body position, held tilt).

Negative commands
A classic example is Fyodor Dostoevsky's quote from Winter notes on summer impressions: “Try to pose for yourself
this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” In this
case "think of a polar bear" is an embedded command.
Similar ideas to Negative commands appear throughout popular culture and sayings, often with variations on animal
and colour, such as "It's as hard as trying not to think of a pink rhinoceros". George Lakoff tells his cognitive science
students, "Don't think of an elephant", resulting in his students thinking of exactly this.[6] In this case "think of an
elephant" is an embedded command which is syntactically processed before the negation, "Don't". For example,
1. Don't go into a deep state of relaxation just yet. Just sit down on that chair and get comfortable first.
In the above example, the indirect suggestion in italics is negated. Bandler and Grinder (1976), like Erickson,
believed that unconscious mind would process this command nonetheless.
Milton model 44

Tag questions
1. You're coming, aren't you?
2. Do listen, will you?
3. Let's have a beer, shall we?
4. You're developing a deep state of relaxation, aren't you?

Metaphors
Milton Erickson's use of metaphor was explored extensively in Sydney Rosen's My Voice Will Go With You, but an
example is given in the first chapter of David Gordon's book Phoenix:
I was returning from high school one day and a runaway horse with a bridle on sped past a group of us into a
farmer's yard looking for a drink of water. The horse was perspiring heavily. And the farmer didn't recognize it
so we cornered it. I hopped on the horse's back. Since it had a bridle on, I took hold of the tick rein and said,
"Giddy-up." Headed for the highway, I knew the horse would turn in the right direction. I didn't know what the
right direction was. And the horse trotted and galloped along. Now and then he would forget he was on the
highway and start into a field. So I would pull on him a bit and call his attention to the fact the highway was
where he was supposed to be. And finally, about four miles from where I had boarded him, he turned into a
farm yard and the farmer said, "So that's how that critter came back. Where did you find him?" I said, "About
four miles from here." "How did you know you should come here?" I said, "I didn't know. The horse knew.
All I did was keep his attention on the road."

Quotes
It is believed that embedding a suggestion inside of a story or quote distances the speaker from the command in
order to reduce resistance. For example:
• "Milton turned to the client and said, Go into a deep state of relaxation"

Ambiguity

Homophones
Some examples of homophones (phonological ambiguity; same sound with different meaning) from English are
• you're, your
• pin and pen in many southern American accents.
• merry, marry, and Mary in many western American accents.
• The pairs do, due and forward, foreword are homophonous in most American accents but not in most British
accents.
• The pairs talk, torque, and court, caught are distinguished in rhotic accents such as Scottish English and most
dialects of American English, but are homophones in many non-rhotic accents such as British Received
Pronunciation.
Examples of "oronyms" (which may only be true homophones in certain dialects of English) include
• "ice cream" vs. "I scream"
• "euthanasia" vs. "youth in Asia"
• "depend" vs. "deep end"
• "the sky" vs. "this guy"
• "delight" vs. "the light"
Milton model 45

Semantic ambiguity
• unlockable: (1) capable for being unlocked; (2) incapable of being locked

Scope ambiguity
1. "Viewing you again as a new person" - it is ambiguous who, the viewer or the person being viewed, is referred to
as a new person.
2. "The new paper and pens" - Here it is ambiguous what is new, the paper, the pens or both.

Syntactic ambiguity
Syntactic ambiguity is where there is more than one possible meaning. It is unclear to what syntactic slot (adjective,
verbs or noun) the words fit into.
• They are training advisers. (It is unclear whether they refers to advisers undergoing training or people who give
advice about training.)
• I'm going to sleep. ("Going" can be a verb with destination "sleep" or an auxiliary indicating near future. So it can
mean "I am (now) falling asleep" or "I am (in the future) intending to sleep".)

Bibliography
1. Grinder, John., and Richard Bandler (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D.
Volume I. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 1555520529.
2. Grinder, John., Richard Bandler, and Judith Delozier (1977). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H.
Erickson, M.D. Volume II. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications. ISBN 1555520537.

References
[1] John Grinder & Carmen Bostic St. Clair, (2001) Whispering in the Wind. C&J Enterprises.
[2] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume 1. Cupertino, CA :Meta
Publications. ISBN 0-916990-01-X.
[3] Rothlyn P Zahourek. (2002) Utilizing Ericksonian hypnosis in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice Perspectives in Psychiatric Care.
Philadelphia: Jan-Mar 2002. Vol.38, Iss. 1; pg. 15, 8 pgs
[4] Stephen Gilligan (2003) The Legacy of Milton H. Erickson: Selected Papers of Stephen Gilligan
[5] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975a). [The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy]. Palo Alto, CA: Science &
Behavior Books.
[6] Sutton, Jill (9 March 2009). "A fascination with fire is elementary" (http:/ / www. watoday. com. au/ opinion/
a-fascination-with-fire-is-elementary-20090309-8t91. html). WAtoday.com. . Retrieved 2009-03-26.
Anchoring (NLP) 46

Anchoring (NLP)

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

Anchoring is a neuro-linguistic programming term for the process by which memory recall, state change or other
responses become associated with (anchored to) some stimulus, in such a way that perception of the stimulus (the
anchor) leads by reflex to the anchored response occurring. The stimulus may be quite neutral or even out of
conscious awareness, and the response may be either positive or negative. They are capable of being formed and
reinforced by repeated stimuli, and thus are analogous to classical conditioning.
Steinbach (1984) describes anchoring as one trial learning which forms one of the basic presuppositions of NLP
stating that "A therapist can teach a patient the association between one response and another, or between an external
stimulus and an internal response in one trial." [1]
Basic anchoring involves in essence, the elicitation of a strong congruent experience of a desired state, whilst using
some notable stimulus (touch, word, sight) at the time this is most fully realized. In many cases, repetition of the
stimulus will reassociate and restore the experience of the state.
There are refinements offered by setting anchors this way, and subtleties involved in order to both set them with
precision, and to avoid accidentally neutralizing them in the process of setting them up.

Types of anchor
Anchors (the "trigger", or stimulus) can come in an infinitude of possible forms: verbal phrases, physical touches or
sensations, certain sights and sounds, or internally, such as words one says to oneself, or memories and emotional
states. Whenever a person is in an intense state where the mind and body are strongly involved together and a
specific stimulus is consistently and simultaneously provided at the peak of the state, the stimulus and the state
become neurologically linked. Then, anytime the stimulus is provided, the intense state automatically results. For
example, on might sing the national anthem, create certain feelings in our body, and look at the flag. Eventually
merely looking at the flag can automatically triggers those feelings. An expansive view is that almost everything one
perceives acts as an anchor, in the sense that perceiving it tends to trigger reflexively some thought or feeling or
response.
Anchoring is a natural process that usually occurs without our awareness, and may have positive impact, or be
maladaptive.There are two broad types of anchors:
• Negative or unpleasant anchors- For example,
A voice tonality that resembles the characteristics of one's perception of an "angry voice" may not actually be as a
result of anger, but will usually trigger an emotional response in the person perceiving the tonality to have the traits
of anger.
Anchoring (NLP) 47

Sometimes people have such an intense unpleasant experience - like fighting with their spouse or boss- that from
then on, whenever they see the person's face, they immediately feel anger inside.
Becky and i had an experience like this when we checked into a hotel, late one evening. There was no beliman
or valet out front, so we asked the man at the front desk to have the valet park the car and ask the bellman to
bring up our bags. He said that was no problem, so we went up to our room and began to relax. After an hour
went by and our bags had still not arrived, we called downstairs. To make a long story short, everything we
owned had been stolen- our credit cards, passports, and a large cashier's cheque, which I had already
countersigned. We had packed for a two-week trip. You can imagine what kind of state I went into. While I was
in this angry, upset state, I kept looking at Beck, and she was also mad. After about fifteen minutes, I realized
that being upset was not going to change anything, and since I believe everything happens for a reason, I was
feeling fine again. But about ten minutes later I looked at Becky, and as I did, I started feeling angry about
things she hadn't done that day. I certainly wasn't feeling attracted to her. Then, I snapped myself and asked
myself. What's going on here? I realized I had linked all my negative feelings about losing our things to Becky,
even though she didn't have a thing to do with it. Looking at her made me feel lousy. When I told her what I
was experiencing, it turned out she was experiencing similar feelings about me. (Anthony Robbins, "Unlimited
Power", p.332-333)
Phobias in this sense can be studied as one example of very powerful anchor - see spider, feel terrified and nauseous.
• Positive or pleasant anchors-
Comedians are masters of anchoring. Good comedians know how to use a specific tonality, phrase, or physiology to
get laughs instantly. They do something to get you to laugh, and while you're in that specific intense state they
provide a specific and unique stimulus, like a certain smile or facial expression, or maybe a specific tone of voice.
They do this consistently until the state of laughter is linked with their expression. Eventually they can just make the
same facial expression, and you can't help laughing.
If, when young, you participated in family activities that gave you great pleasure, the pleasure was associated with
the activity itself, so when you think of the activity or are reminded of it you tend to re-experience some pleasurable
feeling.
Flicking through an old family photo album stirs pleasant memories and some of the feelings associated with them.
A child's comforter in an unfamiliar situation.
An old love song re-awakens a romantic mood.
The smell of freshly baked apple pies brings back memories of a happy carefree childhood.
Revisiting an old school or a place with powerful memories
There are certain speculations as to what criteria must be met before an Anchor can be properly formed. Most agree
that the trigger must be
• Specific - otherwise the subject will not begin to sensitize to it
• Intermittent - if it were constant then desensitization would eventually occur
• Anchored to a unique, specific and prompt reaction - otherwise the anchor will fail to elicit and reinforce any
one single response due to many different reactions being associated to the trigger.
It is also important that reinforcement of an anchor (in other words, repeated formation with the aim of
reinforcement) should have a "break" between each repeat, since the neurological 'lesson' is quite capable of working
either way, and only one way is desired. In such instances precision and structure may determine the difference
between success and failure.
Anchoring (NLP) 48

Usage
NLP-style anchoring is a process that goes on around and within us all the time, whether we are aware of it or not.
Most of the time we are not consciously aware of why we feel as we do - indeed we may not realize we have
responded in some cases, which makes it a much more powerful force in our lives.
An unusual use of anchoring was studied by Ellen Langer in her study of two groups of 75-80 year old men at
Harvard University. For 5 days, both groups were isolated at a retreat, with one group engaged in a series of tasks
encouraging them to think about the past in general (to write an autobiography, to discuss the past etc), and the other
group engaged in a series of tasks which anchored them back into a specific past time - they wrote an autobiography
up to 1959, describing that time as "now", watched 1959 movies, had 1959 music playing on the "radios", and lived
with only 1959 artefacts. Before and after the 5 days, both groups were studied on a number of criteria associated
with aging. While the first group stayed constant or actually deteriorated on these criteria, the second group
dramatically improved on physical health measures such as joint flexibility, vision, and muscle breadth, as well as on
IQ tests. They were anchored back physically to being 50 years old, by the sights and sounds of 1959. (Langer,
"Mindfulness", Addison Wesley 1989)
Anchoring is used in NLP to facilitate state management. In this sense an anchor is set up to be triggered by a
consciously chosen stimulus, deliberately linked by practice to a known useful state in order to provide reflexive
access to that state at will. This may be used for exam nerves, overcoming fear, feelings such as happiness or
determination, or to recollect how one will feel if a good resolution is kept. In Brief Treatment and Crisis
Intervention Karin Jordan (2006) states that "after the preliminary assessment has been completed, the therapist
should help the client develop an anchor. The anchor concept is rooted in neurolinguistic programming (Bandler &
Grinder, 1979) and can serve as a tool used by clients to get a break from the traumatic event. To help the client
work through traumatic events, an observable/concrete resource should be used as an anchor."[2]
Anchoring is also used by skilful film makers to evoke suspense in the audience. Think of your own psychological
changes that occurred when you heard the soundtrack’s amplified, pounding heartbeat rhythm in the moments
leading up to each of the appearances of the huge killer shark in the movie ‘Jaws.’ What anchor was established in
you by the crescendo of the sound of the music meeting the shark? Did your heartbeat increase? Did your palms
begin to sweat? Did you have to see the shark, or was the thumping music enough to start your slide to the edge of
your seat? Likewise the finale of classical symphonies, or "mood music" such as romantic, climactic, or
apprehensive in films. Leitmotivs — recurring themes — in music and literature also serve to restimulate a
previously established response.
For trauma victims, sudden noises or movement can serve as terrifying anchors capable of recollecting the traumatic
experience. In this context, amongst other approaches, NLP might be used in a slightly different way - to desensitize
the stimulus and perhaps instead also sensitize it to some more neutral or positive feeling.
John Grinder and I were negotiating with the United States Army to create a series of new training models to
improve effectiveness in a variety of areas. The general in charge arranged for us to meet with the appropriate
officers to work out times, prices, locations, and so on. We met with them in a big conference room, arranged
in a horseshoe. At the head of the table was a chair reserved for the general. It was clear that even without
him there, his chair was the most powerful anchor in the room. All of the officers treated it with ultimate
respect. It was where the decisions were made, where unquestioned commands were given. Both John and I
made sure to walk over behind the general's chair, touching it and even eventually sitting in it. We did this
until we had transferred to ourselves some of the responsiveness the officers had for the general and this
symbol of him. When it was time for me to present the price I wanted, I stood next to the general's chair and
told them in my most decisive, commanding voice and physiology what we wanted to be paid. Earlier we had
dickered over the price but this time no one even questioned it. Because we had made use of the anchor of the
general's chair, we were able to negotiate a fair price without spending time bantering back and forth. The
negotiations were settled as if I had ordered them. (Anthony Robbins, "Unlimited Power", p.320)
Anchoring (NLP) 49

Relationship therapy
Virginia Satir, the world famous marriage and family counselor, uses anchoring in her work all the time. Her results
are outstanding. In modeling her, Bandler and Grinder noted the difference between her style and that of the
traditional family therapist. When a couple comes in for therapy, many therapists believe that the underlying
problem is the suppressed emotion and anger that the couple have for each other, and that it will help them to tell
each other exactly how they feel about each other, all the things they are angry about and so on. If the therapist
encourages them to deliver the message of anger with force and vigour, they create even stronger negative anchors
tied just to the sight of each other's faces.
Instead of having them yell at each other, Virginia Satir has her patients look at each other as they did when they first
fell in love. She asks them to speak to each other as they spoke when they first fell in love. And she continues
throughout the session to stack positive anchors so that seeing each other's faces now causes them to feel great about
each other. From this state, they can resolve their problems through clear communication, without harming the other
person's feelings. In fact, they treat each other with so much caring and sensitivity that it sets up a new pattern, a new
way to resolve problems in the future.[3]
I asked, "Is this why you got married? So you could argue? Is that what you were thinking about at the time?"
Then I looked at him. I said, "When you first decided you wanted to spend your life with your wife, what was
on your mind then?"
Talk about something worth anchoring! Chheeeesssshhhh! Because I wanted that glow in his face, I anchored
it. Then, every time she started to bring up a subject, I fired off [re-triggered] the anchor. he'd look at her with
that look of passion. That will re-anchor the crap out of a relationship. I like that manoeuver. As I did this, the
husband kept saying "I know you're anchoring me and it's not working." And she kept saying "It is working! It
is working!" It's fun. [...] It wasn't about lost control. He was such a control freak he couldn't have some kinds
of experiences he wanted. (Bandler, "Time for a change", p.133 - 134)

Political campaign usage


Throughout history, successful leaders have known how to make use of the cultural anchors around them. When a
politician is "wrapping himself in a flag", he's trying to link himself to all the positive emotions that have been linked
to the flag. At its best, that process can create a healthy common bond of patriotism and rapport.
At its worst, anchoring can provide frightening displays of collective ugliness. Hitler had a genius for anchoring. He
linked specific states of mind and emotion to the swastika, goosestepping troops and mass rallies. He put people in
intense states and while he had them there, he consistently provided specific and unique stimuli- like raising his open
hand in the gesture of heil - to call up all the emotion he had linked to them. He constantly used these tools to
manipulate the emotions and thus the states and behaviors of a nation. Hitler linked positive, strong, proud emotions
to Nazi symbols for party members. He also linked them to states of fear in his opponents. Did the swastika have the
same meaning for a member of the Jewish community as it did for a stormtrooper? Obviously not. Yet, the Jewish
community took this experience in history and created a powerful positive anchor that helped them build a nation
and protect it under what would seem like impossible odds. The auditory anchor of "never again" that many Jewish
people use puts them in a state of total commitment to do whatever it takes to protect their sovereign rights.
During the 1988 presidential campaign, Republican partisans began employing an unusually skillful use of
language and advertising technique. The Willie Horton ads, for example, used an old NeuroLinguistic
Programming (NLP) technique of "Anchoring via Submodalities," linking Democratic presidential nominee
Michael Dukakis, at an unconscious level in the viewer’s mind, to Willie Horton by the use of color versus
black-and-white footage, and background sound. After a few exposures to these psy-ops ads, people would
"feel" Willie Horton when they "saw" Dukakis.
Anchoring (NLP) 50

It was no accident. Toward the end of that campaign, I was presenting at an NLP conference in New York, and
a colleague mentioned to me how the GOP had hired one of our mutual acquaintances to advise them on the
tools of persuasion. [4]

References
[1] Steinbach, A. (1984). Neurolinguistic programming: a systematic approach to change. Canadian Family Physician, 30, 147-50. PMC 2153995
[2] Karin Jordan (2006) The Scripto-Trauma Genogram: Technique for Working with Trauma Survivors’ Intrusive Memories. Brief Treatment
and Crisis Intervention. Vol.6.1 Oxford University Press.
[3] Robbins, Anthony (2001). Unlimited Power. Great Britain: Pocket Books. pp. 314-339. ISBN 9780743409391.
[4] http:/ / www. buzzflash. com/ hartmann/ 04/ 11/ har04007. html
Therapeutic metaphor 51

Therapeutic metaphor

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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Therapeutic metaphor is a type of conceptual metaphor presented as a story or other parallel to an entire aspect of a
situation, related by a psychotherapist to a patient. The purpose of this is to highlight to a person, in an effective way,
some aspects and lessons that otherwise they might not be able to perceive as clearly in their current situation, or to
suggest new outlooks on it. Thus a therapist, told about the death of a loved one, might respond by describing two
roses in a garden, one of which is dug up.

Uses
Marsha Linehan highlights the utility of metaphor in her work with patients with borderline personality disorder:
"the use of metaphor, in the form of simple analogies, anecdotes, parables, myths or stories, is extremely important
in dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Metaphors are alternative means of teaching dialectical thinking and
opening up possibilities of new behaviors. They encourage both patient and therapist to look for and create alternate
meanings and points of reference for events under scrutiny." Her metaphors for radical acceptance (is like being a
gardener learning to love the dandelions that come into the garden year after year, no matter what the gardener does
to get rid of them) and therapy interfering behavior (is like a mountain climber refusing to wear winter gear when
climbing in the snow) and suicidal behavior (is like the mountain climber jumping off the mountain, sometimes with
the rope still tied to the guide) are particularly illustrative of the uses she has for metaphor. Metaphor is often used
by therapists who fear the reaction of their clients. The clients will be out of the office before they catch on to the
metaphor's insulting meaning.

Views
In his book, Guru: Metaphors from a psychotherapist, Sheldon Kopp states: "Generally, a metaphor is defined as a
way of speaking in which one thing is expressed in terms of another, whereby this bringing together throws new
light on the character of what is being described." (p. 17)
Two influential figures in modern use of metaphor are: George Lakoff, one of America's foremost linguists, and
Milton Erickson, the so-called "father of modern hypnotherapy".[1] Both have emphasized strongly the crucial place
that metaphor holds in human communication and experience. The use of therapeutic metaphor is discussed within
neuro-linguistic programming circles.
Erickson, in particular, viewed much of human communication as metaphor, and metaphors that he used are often
studied by hypnotherapists and others insofar as they communicate on so many levels simultaneously.
Therapeutic metaphor 52

References
[1] Scott Allen Wickman, M. Harry Daniels, Lyle J. White, and Steven A. Fesmire (1999) A "primer" in conceptual metaphor for counselors
Journal of Counseling and Development vol. 77 no. 4 p.389-94

Marsha Linehan, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (1993: the Guilford Press,
page 209).

Further reading
• Gordon, David, Therapeutic Metaphors: Helping Others Through the Looking Glass, Meta Publications (1978)
ISBN 0-916990-04-4
• John Grinder and Richard Bandler, Trance-Formations, 1981
• Thompkins, P., & Lawley, J. (2000). Metaphors in mind: transformation through symbolic modelling. Developing
Company Press
• Any of the many books by, or about, Milton Erickson, who was a dedicated user and creator of therapeutic
metaphor. (See that article for bibliography)

External links
• A short history of metaphor (http://tscp.open.ac.uk/t185/html/resources/r2history.htm)
• Examples of therapeutic metaphors and transcripts of metaphor therapy (http://www.hypknowsis.com/
M00_MetaphorTherapy.html)
Reframing 53

Reframing

NLP
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• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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The term reframing designates a communication technique which has origins in family systems therapy and the
work of Virginia Satir. Milton H. Erickson has been associated with reframing and it also forms an important part of
Neuro-linguistic programming. In addition, provocative therapy uses reframing with an emphasis on humor.
Another meaning or another sense is assigned by reframing a situation or context, thus sees a situation in another
frame. A frame can refer to a belief, what limits our view of the world. If we let this limiting belief go, new
conceptions and interpretation possibilities can develop.
Psychotherapists trained in the reframing by communication attempt to let scenes appear in another point of view
(frame) so that someone feels relieved or is able to deal with the situation better.
An example of this is the reframing of the role as a passive victim (“the craze overcomes me”) into an active role,
from which different decisions than so far can be made (“can you now see the situations out, in which you decide
your course of action?”). Other examples are the reinterpretation of the negatively noticed behavior (“my mother
constantly interferes into my life.”) in a positive (“your mother would like to thus protect you”), or a sensitization
going by that “a well meant” behavior releases negative effects with the target object.
Anthony Robbins wrote, "A signal has meaning only in the frame or context in which we perceive it." [1] For
example, if a person is resting in bed and hears his bedroom door open, exactly the same noise will have two totally
different meanings to him and evoke drastically different reactions depending on whether (1) he is alone in a locked
house, or (2) he had previously invited his friend over and left the back door to his house unlocked. According to
Anthony Robbins:
[I]f we perceive something as a liability, that's the message we deliver to our brain. Then the brain
produces states that make it a reality. If we change our frame of reference by looking at the same
situation from a different point of view, we can change the way we respond in life. We can change our
representation or perception about anything and in a moment change our states and behaviors. This is
what reframing is all about.[2]

Example of reframing
For example, say a university or college student breaks his leg during summer vacation. He is crestfallen, because he
can no longer play tennis and golf with his family and friends. A few days later, he realizes that he now has the quiet,
alone time to learn how to play the guitar, something he had always wanted to do but had been too busy to attempt.
He then discovers he has a great aptitude for music and becomes a decent guitar player by summer's end. One year
later, he changes his major to music. After graduation he embarks on a successful music career. Years later, his
friends recall how unfortunate his leg fracture was that summer, and he says, "Breaking my leg was the best thing
that ever happened to me!" From then on, whenever he is disabled by injury or illness, he recalls the lesson and is far
Reframing 54

less despondent over his temporary disability than he otherwise would have been, as he takes the opportunity to do
something novel.

Context reframing
The meaning of any behaviour or event exists only in relationship to the context in which it occurs.
Every behaviour is appropriate in some context. With a context reframe a person takes the disliked behaviour and
asks, "Where could this behaviour be useful?" or "In what other context would this particular behaviour be of
value?"
A context reframe leaves the meaning of a behaviour the same and shows how it could be a useful response in a
different context.
For example:
A: "I procrastinate all the time; I just can't get things done."
B: "That's a great skill to have; especially when you apply it to overeating - just put off having that second helping.
Lucky you."

Value reframing
In brand management and marketing terms value reframing means giving a new value to a product/service by finding
a new market/context.
For example, Pepsi-Cola created value by reframing the discussion of Coca Cola as "old" and traditional, whereas
Pepsi was new and exciting.
When it started talking about the Pepsi Generation and issued its "Pepsi Challenge," it turned its
weakness into strength. Pepsi said, "Sure the other guys have been king, but let's look at today. Do you
want yesterday's product, or do you want today's?" The ads reframed Coke's traditional dominance into
a weakness, as indication that it was a product of the past, not the future. --Unlimited Power, p.299

Footnotes
[1] Anthony Robbins, Unlimited Power (New York: Ballantine, 1987) 291.
[2] Robbins 291.

References
• Bandler, Richard; Reframing: NLP And The Transformation Of Meaning 1983; Paperback
• Andreas, Steve & Faulkner, Charles; NLP: The New Technology of Achievement by NLP Comprehensive Feb 19,
1996; paperback
• Ellerton, Roger PhD CMC; Live Your Dreams... Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches,
Managers and You Jul 6, 2006; paperback
Representational systems (NLP) 55

Representational systems (NLP)

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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Representational systems (also known as sensory modalities and abbreviated to VAKOG or known as the
4-tuple) is a neuro-linguistic programming model that examines how the human mind processes information. It
states that for practical purposes, information is (or can be treated as if) processed through the senses. Thus people
say one talks to oneself (the auditory sense) even if no words are emitted, one makes pictures in one's head when
thinking or dreaming (the visual sense), and one considers feelings in the body and emotions (known as the
kinesthetic sense).
NLP holds it as crucial in human cognitive processing to recognize that the subjective character of experience is
strongly tied into, and influenced by, how memories and perceptions are processed within each sensory
representation in the mind. It considers that expressions such as "It's all misty" or "I can't get a grip on it", can often
be precise literal unconscious descriptions from within those sensory systems, communicating unconsciously where
the mind perceives a problem in handling some mental event.
Within NLP, the various senses in their role as information processors, are known as representation systems, or
sensory modalities. The model itself is known as the VAKOG model (from the initial letters of the sensory-specific
modalities: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory). Since taste and smell are so closely connected,
sometimes as a 4-tuple, meaning its 4 way sensory-based description. A submodality is a structural element of a
sensory impression, such as its perceived location, distance, size, or other quality.
Representational systems and submodalities are seen in NLP as offering a valuable therapeutic insight (or metaphor)
and potential working methods, into how the human mind internally organizes and subjectively attaches meaning to
events.

Representational systems within NLP


"At the core of NLP is the belief that, when people are engaged in activities, they are also making use of a
representational system; that is, they are using some internal representation of the materials they are involved
with, such as a conversation, a rifle shot, a spelling task. These representations can be visual, auditory,
kinesthetic, or involve the other senses. In addition, a person may be creating a representation or recalling one.
For example, a person asked to spell a word may visualize that word printed on a piece of paper, may hear it
being sounded out, or may construct the spelling from the application of a series of logical rules." Daniel
Druckman (Ed.) (1988), Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques(pp.138-139)[1]
According to NLP, for many practical purposes mental processing of events and memories can be treated as if
performed by the five senses. For example, Einstein credited his discovery of special relativity to a mental
visualization strategy of "sitting on the end of a ray of light", and many people as part of decision-making talk to
themselves in their heads.
Representational systems (NLP) 56

The manner in which this is done, and the effectiveness of the mental strategy employed, is stated by NLP to play a
critical part in the way mental processing takes place. This observation led to the concept of a preferred
representational system, the classification of people into fixed visual, auditory or kinesthetic stereotypes. This idea
was later discredited and dropped within NLP by the early 1980s, in favor of the understanding that most people use
all of their senses (whether consciously or unconsciously), and that whilst one system may seem to dominate, this is
often contextualized - globally there is a balance that dynamically varies according to circumstance and mood.
NLP asserts that for most circumstances and most people, three of the five sensory based modes seem to dominate in
mental processing:
• visual thoughts - sight, mental imagery, spatial awareness
• auditory (or linguistic) thoughts - sound, speech, dialog, white noise
• kinesthetic (or proprioceptive) sense - somatic feelings in the body, temperature, pressure, and also emotion.
The other two senses, gustatory (taste) and olfactory (smell), which are closely associated, often seem to be less
significant in general mental processing, and are often considered jointly as one.
For this reason, one often sees the term VAK in NLP reference texts, to signify these three primary representational
systems, as well as the term 4-tuple (or VAKOG) if the author wishes to include all senses including taste/smell. The
same term is also known as First Access (John Grinder)[2] , or primary experience (Freud).

Notation and strategies


In documenting mental strategies and processing by the senses, NLP practitioners often use a simple shorthand for
different modalities, with a letter indicating the representation system concerned, and often, a superscript to indicate
how that system is being used. Three key aspects are commonly notated: The representation system being used
(visual/V, auditory/A, kinesthetic/K, and occasionally, O/G), whether the direction of attention is internal (i) or
external (e), and whether the event is a recollection of an actual past event (r) or construction of an imaginary event
(c)
. Due to its importance in human cognitive processing, auditory internal dialogue, or talking in one's head, has its
own shorthand: Aid.
Putting these together, this is a very simplified example of some steps which might actually be involved in replying
to a simple question such as "Do you like that dress?". The table below is useful for teaching how to identify and
access each representational system in context:

Step Activity Notation What it's being used for

1 auditory external Hear the question


Ae

2 visual internal picture to oneself the meaning of the question


Vi

3 visual external look at the dress


Ve

4 visual internal constructed Vic create a mental image of the dress worn by the person

5 kinesthetic internal get an internal feeling from looking at it


Ki

6 auditory internal dialog ask oneself 'Do I like that impression?'


Aid

7 auditory external reply


Ae

Logically, these or similar steps must take place somewhere in consciousness in order to cognitively make sense of
the question and answer it. A sequence of this kind is known in NLP as a strategy - in this case, a functional outline
of the strategy used by the mind in answering that question. In a similar way, the process leading to a panic attack of
the form "I see the clock, ask myself where the kids are, imagine everything that could be happening and feel scared"
might be notated as having a subjective structure: Ve → Aid → Vic → Ki, signifying that an external sight leads to
Representational systems (NLP) 57

internal dialog (a question), followed by internal and constructed images, leading to a feeling.
It's worth noting that usually, some of these steps (often the most important ones) occur extremely fast, and out of
conscious awareness. For example, few people would ordinarily be aware that between question and even
considering an answer, there must be steps in which the mind interprets and contextualizes the question itself, and
steps which explore various possible strategies to be used to obtain an answer and select one to be followed. The
mental occurrence of these steps is often identified by deduction following skilled observation, or by careful inquiry,
although their presence is usually self-apparent to the person concerned once noticed.

Sensory predicates and eye accessing cues


Grinder and Bandler believed they identified pattern of relationship between the sensory-based language people use
in general conversation, and for example, their eye movement (known as eye accessing cues).[3]
A common (but not universal) style of processing in the West is shown in the attached chart, where eye flickers in
specific directions often seem to tie into specific kinds of internal (mental) processing.
NLP also suggests that that sometimes (again not universally), such processing is associated with sensory word use,
so for example a person asked what they liked about the beach, may flick their eyes briefly in some characteristic
direction (visual memory access, often upwards), and then also use words that describe it in a visual sense ("The sea
looked lovely", and so on). Likewise asked about a problem, someone may look in a different direction for a while
(kinesthetic access, typically downwards) and then look puzzled and say "I just can't seem to get a grip on things".
Taken together, NLP suggests such eye accessing cues (1) are idiosyncratic and habitual for each person, and (2)
may form significant clues as to how a person is processing or representing a problem to themselves unconsciously.
Common (but not universal) Western layout of eye
accessing cues:
• Upwards (left/right) -- Visual (V) -- "I can imagine
the big picture"
• Level (left/right) -- Auditory (A) -- "Let's tone down
the discussion"
• Down-right -- Kinesthetic (K) -- "to grasp a The most common arrangement for eye accessing cues in a
right-handed person.
concept" or "to gather you've understood."
Note: - NLP does not say it is 'always' this way, but rather that one
• Down-left Auditory internal dialogue (Aid) -- talking should check whether reliable correlations seem to exist for an
to oneself inside individual, and if so what they are

Eye movement to the left or right for many people


seems to indicate if a memory was recalled or constructed. Thus remembering an actual image (Vr) is associated
more with up-left, whilst imagining one's dream home (Vc) tends (again not universally) to be more associated with
up-right.

Subjective awareness
When we think about the world, or about our past experiences, we represent those things inside our heads. For
example, think about the holiday you went on last year. Did you see a picture of where you went, tell yourself a story
about what you did, feel the sun on your back and the wind in your hair? Can you bring to mind the smell of your
favourite flower or the taste of a favourite meal??
The use of the various modalities can be identified based by learning to respond to subtle shifts in breathing, body
posture, accessing cues, gestures, eye movement and language patterns such as sensory predicates.[4] [5]
Representational systems (NLP) 58

Uses
NLP's interest in the senses is not so much in their role as bridges to the outside world, but in their role as internal
channels for cognitive processing and interpretation. In an NLP perspective, it is not very important per se whether a
person sees or hears some memory. By contrast, NLP views it as potentially of great importance for the same
person, to discover that some auditory sounds presented almost out of consciousness along with the memory, may be
how the brain presents to consciousness, and how consciousness knows, whether this is a heart-warming pleasant
memory, or a fearsome phobic one.
Representational systems are also relevant since some tasks are more optimally performed within one
representational system than by another. For example, within education, spelling is better learned by children who
have unconsciously used a strategy of visualization, than an unconscious strategy of phonetically "sounding out".
When taught to visualize, previously poor spellers can indeed be taught to improve. NLP proponents also found that
pacing and leading the various cues tended to build rapport, and allowed people to communicate more effectively.
Certain studies suggest that using similar representational systems to another person can help build rapport[6] whilst
other studies have found that merely mimicking or doing so in isolation is perceived negatively.
Skinner and Stephens (2003) explored the use the model of representational systems in television marketing and
communications.[7]
Some exercises in NLP training involve learning how to observe and respond to the various cues in real time. [8]

The preferred representational system (PRS)


Originally NLP taught that people preferred one representational system over another. People could be stuck by
thinking about a problem in their "preferred representational system" (PRS). Some took this idea further and
categorised people as a auditory, kinesthetic, and visual thinkers (see also: learning styles) It was claimed that swifter
and more effective results could be achieved by matching this preferred system. Although there is some research that
supports the notion that eye movement can indicate visual and auditory (but not kinesthetic) components of thought
in that moment,[9] the existence of a preferred representational system ascertainable from external cues (an important
part of original NLP theory) was discounted by research in the 1980s.[10] [11] [12] Some still believe the PRS model to
be important for enhancing rapport and influence.[13] Others have de-emphasized its relevance and instead
emphasize that people constantly use all representational systems. In particular, new code emphasizes individual
calibration and sensory acuity, precluding such a rigidly specified model as the one described above.[14] Responding
directly to sensory experience requires an immediacy which respects the importance of context. John Grinder has
stated that a representational system diagnosis lasts about 30 seconds.[14]
In a review of research findings, Sharpley (1987)[15] found little support for individuals to have a "preferred"
representational system (PRS), whether in the choice of words or direction of eye movement, and the concept of a
preferred representation system (PRS). Similarly, The National Research Committee found little support for the
influence of PRS as presented in early descriptions of NLP, Frogs into Princes (1979) and Structure of Magic (1975).
However, "at a meeting with Richard Bandler in Santa Cruz, California, on July 9, 1986, the [National Research
Committee] influence subcommittee... was informed that PRS was no longer considered an important component.
He said that NLP had been revised." (p. 140)[1] The NLP developers, Robert Dilts et al. (1980) [4] proposed that eye
movement (and sometimes bodily gesture) correspond to accessing cues for representations systems, and connected
it to specific sides in the brain.
Representational systems (NLP) 59

Notes and references


• Bandler's Using Your Brain for a Change (Real People Press, 1985)
[1] Druckman (1988), Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques
[2] Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001.). Whispering in the Wind. CA: J & C Enterprises. pp. 127, 171, 222, ch.3, Appendix. -.
[3] Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1979). [- Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming]. Moab, UT: Real People Press.
pp. 15,24,30,45,52.. ISBN 0911226184. -. -.
[4] Dilts, Robert B, Grinder, John, Bandler, Richard & DeLozier, Judith A. (1980). [. Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Volume I - The Study of
the Structure of Subjective Experience]. Meta Publications, 1980. .. pp. 3–4,6,14,17. .. ..
[5] Dilts, Robert B, DeLozier, Judith A (2000). Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding (http:/ / www.
nlpuniversitypress. com/ ). NLP University Press. pp. 75, 383, 729, 938–943, 1003, 1300, 1303. ISBN 0-9701540-0-3. .
[6] Pennebaker, J. and Ireland, Molly; Slatcher, Richard; Eastwick, Paul; Scissors, Lauren; Finkel, Eli (2011). "Language Style Matching
Predicts Relationship Initiation and Stability" (http:/ / pss. sagepub. com/ content/ 22/ 1. toc). Psychological Science 22 (January): 39–44.
doi:10.1177/0956797610392928. .
[7] Skinner, H. and Stephens, P. (2003). "Speaking the Same Language: Exploring the relevance of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to Marketing
Communications" (http:/ / journalsonline. tandf. co. uk/ openurl. asp?genre=article& eissn=1466-4445& volume=9& issue=3& spage=177).
Journal of Marketing Communications 9 (3 / September): 177–192. doi:10.1080/1352726032000129926. .
[8] Kate Burton; Romilla Ready (2010). Neuro-linguistic Programming For Dummies (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=0EVY_ViImZEC&
lpg=PR4& pg=PR4#v=onepage& q& f=false). West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.. pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-0-470-66543-5. .
[9] Buckner, Meara, Reese, and Reese (1987) Journal of Counselling Psychology , Vol. 34(3), pp.283-287
[10] Sharpley, C. F. (1984). Predicate matching in NLP: A review of research on the preferred representational system. Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 31(2), 238-248.
[11] Heap, M. (1988). Neuro-linguistic programming, In M. Heap (Ed.) Hypnosis: Current Clinical, Experimental and Forensic Practices (http:/
/ www. mheap. com/ nlp1. pdf). London: Croom Helm. .
[12] Elich, M., Thompson, R. W., & Miller, L. (1985). Mental imagery as revealed by eye movement and spoken predicates: A test of
neurolinguistic programming (http:/ / eric. ed. gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?_nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails&
ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ327573& ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b800561ca). Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 622-625. note: "psychological fad"p.625
[13] Joseph O'Connor, John Seymour (2002 (first published 1990)). Introducing NLP (http:/ / www. reiters. com/ index.
cgi?ISBN=1855383446& f=p). London: HarperCollins. ISBN 1855383446. .
[14] Grinder, J. (1996) [Transcript of Interview http:/ / www. inspiritive. com. au/ grinterv. htm]
[15] Sharpley C.F. (1987). "Research Findings on Neuro-linguistic Programming: Non supportive Data or an Untestable Theory" (http:/ / eric. ed.
gov/ ERICWebPortal/ Home. portal?nfpb=true& _pageLabel=RecordDetails& ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ352101&
ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno& objectId=0900000b8005c1ac). Communication and Cognition Journal of Counseling
Psychology, 1987 Vol. 34, No. 1: 103–107,105. .
Submodalities 60

Submodalities

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Submodalities in neuro-linguistic programming are distinctions of form or structure (rather than content) within a
sensory representational system. For example, regardless of the content, both external and mental images of any kind
will be either colored or monochrome, and stationary or moving. These parameters are submodalities within the
visual sense. Similarly, both remembered and actual sounds will be mono or stereo when experienced internally, so
mono/stereo is a submodality of sound.
NLP asserts that far from being arbitrary or unimportant, these submodalities often perform a functional role, as a
means by which emotions, related memories, felt-sense perceptions such as "importance", and so on, are presented to
consciousness by the unconscious mind, along with thoughts or memories. The metaphor of "distancing oneself" is
taken quite literally, the mental representation of something unimportant is "farther away" than something important.
NLP asserts that amongst the many possible submodalities, there will often be a handful of so-called "critical"
submodalities which can functionally effect large-scale change, and that they differ between people, and can be
identified by observation and inquiry. NLP states that a change within these critical submodalities will often
correlate with a near-immediate subjective change in the emotion or other felt-sense with which a mental impression
presents itself.
Submodalities are therefore seen in NLP as offering a valuable therapeutic insight (or metaphor) and potential
working methods, into how the human mind internally organizes and subjectively 'views' events. Anthony Robbins, a
motivational speaker and NLP proponent, states that "our ability to change the way we feel depends upon our ability
to change our submodalities."[1]

More
The concept of submodalities arose in the field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), that human beings 'code'
internal experiences using aspects of their different senses.
Specifically for most people, research within NLP states that the brain often uses these structural elements as a way
to 'know' how it feels about them, and what they signify internally. The link is stated to be bilateral - that is,
emotions attached to a mental experience are affected by certain submodalities with which it is associated, and
specific submodalities can also be affected if the emotional significance changes.
Submodalities 61

Definition of a submodality
Submodalities refers to the subjective structural subdivisions within a given representational system. For example, in
visual terms, common distinctions include: brightness, degree of colour (saturation), size, distance, sharpness, focus,
and so on; in auditory: loudness, pitch, tonal range, distance, clarity, timbre, and so on.
Ordinarily, one can establish these by asking questions:
• "This image - is it bright, or dim? Coloured or black and white? How much colour? Is it big or small? Is it near or
far? In focus, or out of focus?"
• "This sound - is it loud or soft? Is it high pitched or low pitched? Does it have a range? Is it near or far? Is it one
point source or spread out? Where is it coming from? Is it clear or muffled?"
• "That feeling in your body - where is it? Does it have a size? A temperature? Which direction does it move? Does
it have a texture? Is it hard or soft? What colour is it?"
A more extensive list of common submodalities is given below.

NLP views of submodalities


According to core NLP research, each person's brain seems to code emotional significance differently through
variations in mental "image" or representation. Examples found include people whose unconscious minds place
black borders around bad memories, people for whom visual images seen dimly are less compelling than those seen
brightly, people for whom a subjectively "good" memory is accompanied by one kind of sound whilst a "bad"
memory is accompanied by another, and so on.
For most people, there will be a handful of such distinctions which are 'critical' to emotional perception, and thus to
their mental processing. For example, these might be submodalities that distinguish optimistic thoughts from
depressive ones, or which distinguish compelling and important thoughts from less compelling ones. For any given
individual, a submodality that turns out to be critical in how a given memory or thought is subjectively experienced,
is known as a critical submodality.
The discovery that the emotion associated with a thought is often functionally linked to the submodalities with which
that thought is presented to consciousness, led to a variety of brief therapy NLP interventions based upon change of
these key submodalities. In effect, voluntary change of submodalities on the part of the subject was often found to
alter long-term the concomitant 'feeling' response, paving the way for a number of change techniques based on
deliberately changing internal representations. NLP co-originator Richard Bandler in particular has made extensive
use of submodality manipulations in the evolution of his work.
To match these subjective distinctions, Eric Robbie (an NLP trainer) demonstrated in 1984 that submodalities can be
reliably distinguished from external behaviour - in the case of visual submodalities, subtle changes in the eye and
facial muscles surrounding the eye are good indicators of specific visual submodalities; in the case of auditory,
subtle changes in the muscles surrounding the ears perform the same function for auditory submodalities, and in the
case of kinesthetic, subtle changes in the musculature of the body reveal subjective variations in that modality too.[2]

List of submodalities
Examples of distinctions that are embedded within sensory impressions include:
Submodalities 62

Representation system Examples of submodalities

Visual • Location: to the left, right, top, bottom


(sight, images, spatial) • Size
• Distance
• Brightness
• Number of Images
• Focused or Unfocused
• Associated or Dissociated
• Color or monochrome
• Framed (nature of frame?) or panoramic
• 2D or 3D
• Clear or fuzzy
• Shape: convex, concave, specific shape
• Movement: still, photo, slideshow, video, movie, looping
• Style: picture, painting, poster, drawing, "real life"

Auditory • Mono / stereo


(sound, voice) • Qualities: Volume, pitch, tempo, rhythm, pace, duration, intensity, harmony
• Variations: looping, fading in and out, moving location, direction
• Voice: whose voice, one or many
• Number of Sounds
• Other background sounds?

Kinesthetic • Proprioception: Somatic sensation, location in the body, movement direction


(propreceptive, somatic) • Tactition: pressure, intensity
• Thermoception: temperature
• Breathing rate

Olfactory/Gustatory • Taste
• Smell
• Sweet, Sour, Salt, Bitter, Aroma, Fragrance, Essence

References
[1] Anthony Robbins (1992) "Awaken The Giant Within", ISBN 0671791540 see p.165]
[2] Technical explanation: The human body continuously responds to mental events, even the event is "internal" (as all subjective experience is).
For example, people often slightly cock their heads if listening, even if only talking to themselves inside their heads. When an image is seen or
a sound heard in the head, the body still reacts to it in a minor degree, even if the event was internal. Careful body language observation of the
small muscles around the sensory organs can often allow a skilled observer familiar with a subject to identify submodalities being experienced
internally by that subject.
Perceptual positions 63

Perceptual positions

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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Perceptual positions is a neuro-linguistic programming and psychology term denoting that a complex system may
look very different, and different information will be available, depending how one looks at it and one's point of
view. For example, considering a situation or relationship from the perspective of self (1st position), another person
involved (2nd position) or from a neutral, objective, detached point of view (3rd position; "a fly on the wall").[1]
The idea of multiple perceptual positions in NLP was originally inspired by Gregory Bateson's double description
who purported that double (or triple) descriptions are better than one. By deliberately training oneself in moving
between perceptual positions one can develop a new choice of responses.[1]
One basic example in NLP training involves considering an experience (typically a relationship) from the
perspective of self, other and a detached third person in that situation. It could be something that has occurred
already or something that will occur in the future. This type of exercise is useful in gathering information and often a
new choice in the world become available without a deliberate intervention. Because of the systemic nature of
human's lives, often a person in a situation cannot see answers that a person standing outside can. So by moving
between different perceptual positions, one can see a problem in new ways or with greater detachment, and thus
gather more information and develop new choices of response.
Another type of multiple perceptual positions involves looking at a situation from the viewpoint of the multiple
people involved. For example, a strike looks very different from the viewpoint of a CEO, a worker, a customer and a
supplier. A problem is almost always harder to solve if a person only appreciates their own viewpoint, and not those
of others involved.
Robert Dilts uses multiple perceptual positions in his Disney Creativity Strategy. In this work, based on his modeling
of Walt Disney, he teaches people to examine a goal from the perception of the Dreamer, the Realist (the one who
brings it into reality), and the Critic.
Connirae Andreas and Tamara Andreas teach a procedure entitled "aligning perceptual positions". This procedure
enables a user to clean up their ability to see, hear and feel things from each of the three perceptual positions by
eliminating overlap from other positions.
The founders of NLP modeled this from Virginia Satir, the renowned family therapist, who at times went so far as to
hold what became affectionately known as "parts parties" where she would guide a client to stand - literally - in
everyone's shoes, until they understood better others' position and feelings in the matter.
Perceptual positions 64

Notes and references


[1] (Whispering in the Wind, Bostic St Clair & Grinder, 2002 p.247)

Meta-programs

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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Meta-programs in general are programs that create, control or make decisions about programs, such as when and
how to run them, preferred and unpreferred programs, and strategic choices of fall-back or alternative programs.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) uses the term specifically to indicate the more general pervasive habitual
patterns commonly used by an individual across a wide range of situations. Examples of NLP meta-programs include
the preference for overview or detail, the preference for where to place one's attention during conversation, habitual
linguistic patterns and body language, and so on.
Related concepts in other disciplines are known as cognitive styles or thinking styles.

Definition
The use of the term program when talking about the human mind originates from the cybernetics metaphor of
Norbert Wiener, which considers the human brain as a biocomputer to which one can apply all principles known in
computing. The metaphor had been inspired by the Universal Turing Machine, named after Alan Turing, who
indicated that it is possible to program a machine to imitate the behavior of any other machine — and even that of a
human with a pencil and paper following a set of rules. The metaphor got inverted, and a basic premise became that
cognitive activity can be explained in terms of computation.
According to this mind-as-computer metaphor, the mind is constantly and continuously running a complex set of
programs which are controlling all aspects of our existence, such as breathing, walking, talking, etc. John C. Lilly,
the first to define the term meta-programs, formally defined a program as "a set of internally consistent instructions
for the computation of signals, the formation of information, the storage of both, the preparation of messages, the
logical processes being used, the selection processes, and the storage addresses all occurring within a biocomputer, a
brain." ; he defined a meta-program as "a set of instructions, descriptions, and means of control of a set of
programs."
Meta-programs 65

NLP use of the term


In NLP, the term programs is used as a synonym for strategy, which are specific sequences of mental steps, mostly
indicated by their representational activity (using VAKOG), leading to a behavioral outcome. In the entry for the
term strategy in their Encyclopedia, Robert Dilts & Judith Delozier explicitly refer to the mind as computer
metaphor: "A strategy is like a program in a computer. It tells you what to do with the information you are getting,
and like a computer program, you can use the same strategy to process a lot of different kinds of information." In
their encyclopedia, Dilts and Delozier then define metaprograms as: "[programs] which guide and direct other
thought processes. Specifically they define common or typical patterns in the strategies or thinking styles of a
particular individual, group or culture."
While most NLP authors acknowledge that most of the domain's ideas, including the notions of representational
systems and programs, are metaphorical, NLP acts as if the metaphor were true, much in line with some
Anglo-American philosophical traditions. In their encyclopedia, Dilts & Delozier state: "NLP shares many
philosophical underpinnings with pragmatism. [This] ... can be seen in the emphasis NLP places on outcomes and on
the criterion of usefulness rather than objective truth and the perception of all models and distinctions as simply
working hypothesis," and state that "In fact, all [NLP] models can be perceived as symbolic or metaphoric, as
opposed to reflective of reality."
While, as Dilts & Delozier (2000) write, persons can apply the same meta-program regardless of the content and
context of a situation, research shows that meta-programs can change over time and may be different in different
contexts (e.g. home VS work) and at different times (e.g. under influence of training). While one might say that the
research failed when one considers the personality explanation of the initial goal, the average changes in an
individual's personality in terms of meta-programs over time and between contexts are comparable to findings
measured in other personality theories. Indeed, in contrast to social psychologists who put emphasis on the power of
the situation, many psychologists researching personality sometimes pay only little attention to the effect of culture
and context.

Examples of meta-programs mentioned in NLP


Original NLP texts mention the following metaprograms (Dilts, Cameron 1980-1982)
• The preference for overview or detail (or generalization v. specificity)
• Reference System: Internal or external focus
• Modal properties:
• proactive or reactive
• Outcome preferences (towards/away)
• Processing
• Comparison: Making distinctions (more aware of sameness or differentness)
• Match/mismatch
• Time orientation (near/far past, present, near/far future)
• Sorting categories
• Self-other
• Filters: Preferential awareness of people, activities, location, things, information etc. in others' communication
Independent of how meta-programs came into NLP, most of the distinctions used pre-date NLP, as can be read in the
article Putting NLP Metaprograms Research in context [1].
Several NLP authors have later extended the list, often including e.g.
• Rule structure: Preferred social styles (assertiveness, indifference, complacency, tolerance)
• Convincer patterns & learning preferences (learn by reading, by observing others, by doing, from own
experience)
Meta-programs 66

• Mc Clelland's motivational preferences (power, popularity, or performance)

Other uses of the NLP concept


The meta-program concepts are universal, but how NLP meta-program questionnaire] such as the iWAM [2] gets
scored and interpreted is culturally-distinct. The socio-cultural approach to psychology argues that, to predict
individual behavior, it is necessary to take into account very broad influences, including cultural values and the
individual's context (the environment, social organization, community, and family). Triandis, a NLP expert,
developed a theory of subjective culture and its influence on the attitudes, norms and behaviors of individuals. His
research has also examined the relationship between culture and work behavior, inter-group relations, social
behavior, attributions, goal setting, motivation, social exchanges, personality, prejudice, and attitude change. In his
framework, individual patterns of responding and interacting with the environment are seen as part of personality.

History of the concept in NLP


Given NLP's oral tradition, there are several stories of how meta-programs came into existence in NLP and who
should be acknowledged for which piece of work.
One explanation is that when one analyses the effects of a program, a similar sequence of steps may lead to a
different outcome. Suppose that a person is taking a decision whether to stay in their current job. One person may
say: "When I imagine how this place will be like two years from now, I don't see enough changes and I’m afraid I’ll
be bored." In a same situation, another person might say: “When I imagine how this place will be like two years from
now, I don’t see many changes and I’m glad I’ll get that stability.” Both sentences use a future reference frame
consisting of Visual constructed image which is then evaluated Kinesthetically internally (NLP notation: Vc -> Ki).
However, the first person gets a bad feeling, while the second person gets a good feeling. They have been executing
the same program on the same context. All other elements being the same, the only difference between these 2
persons is that they apply a different sorting category: the first one prefers change and the second one prefers
stability.
According to another plausible explanation, meta-programs arose when Leslie Cameron et al. did research in order to
answer to the question whether patterns could be found which typified a person across different contexts and thus
would point to the "stable core" of a person. They came up with a series of different thinking styles which they called
meta-programs. These meta-programs indicate how people make sense of the world and predict how the person may
react in a given context. Using meta-programs we can understand the characteristic ways in which people behave,
and thus the model is as useful (if not more) than many theories of personality.
Building on the meta-programs as they were taught in 1982, Rodger Bailey and Ross Steward designed a
commercial application, commonly known as the 'Language and Behavior Profile'. Their approach consisted of
defining interview guidelines to detect 13 distinct categories of meta-program patterns which are known to be
important for work-place motivation and performance. Their work was further extended and developed by Shelle
Rose Charvet and published in her book 'Words that Change Minds' (1997).[3]

Criticisms of the concept


Lakoff & Johnson (2000) argue that these metaphors for the mind conflict with what cognitive science has
discovered. However, viewed as a metaphor, the concept remains of value. Indeed as Lakoff & Johnson argue
themselves, metaphors are the very means by which we can understand abstract domains and extend our knowledge
into new areas, and the body of work that resulted from the meta-programs research-effort has proven its usefulness
over the last 20 years.
These findings would not necessarily imply that NLP would argue against the mind as being embodied, which is one
of the central properties of Lakoff and Johnson’s argument. The big difference between researchers working on
Artificial Intelligence and those working on NLP is that the first use a computer as their laboratory, while the latter
Meta-programs 67

works with human subjects to test their theories.

Source
Unpublished text extracted from the draft PhD dissertation of Patrick Merlevede [4]

Books
To learn more about NLP meta-programs, the following books can be recommended
• Shelle Rose Charvet: Words that Change Minds (1995)
• Bob G. Bodenhamer and L. Michael Hall: Figuring Out People - Design Engineering with Meta-Programs (1997)
• Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier: Encyclopedia of Systemic NLP and NLP New Coding [5] (2000)
• Tad James & Wyatt Woodsmall: Time Line Therapy and The Basics of Personality (1988)

References
[1] http:/ / www. jobeq. com/ articles/ NLP_Research. htm
[2] iWAM (http:/ / www. jobeq. com/ iwam. php)
[3] http:/ / labprofile. net/
[4] http:/ / www. merlevede. biz
[5] http:/ / www. nlpuniversitypress. com/

External links
• Meta-programs article in the Encyclopedia of NLP (http://www.nlpuniversitypress.com/html2/MdMe26.
html)
• The LAB Profile (http://www.labprofile.net) is a method to elicit metaprograms
• Application: Using metaprograms in pre-employment testing (http://www.jobeq.com/articles/
pre-employment_testing.htm)
• iWAM: an NLP metaprogram questionnaire (http://www.jobeq.com/iwam.php)
• Article: discussing 16 NLP metaprogram categories in detail (http://www.jobeq.com/categories.php)
Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming 68

Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming

NLP
TOPICS

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• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

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The therapeutic use of Neuro-Linguistic Programming is called NLP Therapy or Neurolinguistic


Psychotherapy (NLPt). It is a form of psychotherapy which draws on the principles and techniques of
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP psychotherapists are usually also skilled in other techniques, such as
Cognitive Therapy and will draw from them as required. Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt)[1] is recognized by
the UKCP.[2]

Overview
NLP does not have the same model of "problem" and "solution" as clinical psychiatry, instead its model is based
upon helping clients to overcome their own self-perceived, or subjective, problems rather than those that others may
feel they have. It seeks to do this while respecting their own capabilities and wisdom to choose additional goals for
the intervention as they learn more about their problems, and to modify and specify those goals further as a result of
the extended interaction.
The approach does not focus on the past, but instead, focuses on the present and future. The therapist/counselor uses
respectful curiosity to invite the client to envision their preferred future and then therapist and client start attending
to any moves towards it whether these are small increments or large changes. To support this, questions are asked
about the client’s story, strengths and resources, and about exceptions to the problem. Scaling is also used as a tool to
measure progress.
This differs from common clinical practice based upon certain conditions defined as "illness". NLP interventions are
not usually guided by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) list of illness criteria; rather it
views any condition whereby a person subjectively considers their life could be improved, equally appropriate to
work with.
NLP can be used on a small scale, as separable techniques and principles, but individual methods are often not as
effective or dependable used alone. By design it is also an entire model of diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.
Used this way, the diagnostic aspect is intrinsic to and intertwined with the treatment. The NLP diagnosis determines
the NLP intervention, every interaction in the treatment might modify the approach and diagnosis, and the client
identifies, by considering the practitioner's input, whether there is useful material to them to consider.
So in a sense the efficacy of any intervention is in many ways considered to be a client judgement, rather than a
clinical judgement, insofar as it is usually the client who had the perception of a problem initially and had judged the
need to approach a therapist because of this. Also because of this, terms like "cure" are not part of NLP, primarily
because NLP does not necessarily see presenting symptoms in terms of "illness" and "cure", per se.
David Aldridge states in his review of complementary therapies, that NLP's approach is to "recognize maladaptive ...
patterns" and "intervene by talking directly to the somatic system responsible for the problem".[3]
Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming 69

Dr Richard Bolstad states in his 2003 paper connecting NLP back to neurological research results, that: "People
come to psychotherapists and counsellors to solve a variety of problems. Most of these are due to strategies which
are run by state-dependent neural networks that are quite dramatically separated from the rest of the person's brain.
This means that the person [may well have] all the skills they need to solve their own problem, but those skills are
kept in neural networks which are not able to connect with the networks from which their problems are run. The task
of NLP change agents is often to [experientially help to] transfer skills from functional networks (networks that do
things the person is pleased with) to less functional networks (networks that do things they are not happy about)."[4]

Approaches
NLP and variants were influenced by (Gestalt therapy, family systems therapy) and have influenced (e.g. brief
therapy, Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy, hypnotherapy) number approaches to psychotherapy. NLP has remained an
eclectic field with no inherent controls over training or a professional code of ethics. According to Schutz in his
guide to NLP training, training varies from very short, esoteric or hyped-up power courses at one extreme to 9
months of professional training under licensed psychotherapists or the equivalent. He advises caution in selection.[5]
[6]

Comparison with cognitive behavior therapies


Cognitive behavioral therapy, currently the most prevalent form of psychotherapy for the treatment of mental health
disorders, has some conceptual and historical similarities to NLP. Lewis Walker, author of Changing with NLP
stated that "NLP and CBT had not only paralleled each other's rise over the years, but also shared similar basic
assumptions about in individuals in health and disease. Indeed, it became clear to me that there had also been a major
cross-fertilsation of ideas and techniques between the two therapies."[7] Both are based on the idea that people act
and feel based on their perception or maps of the world rather than the actual world (the map is not the territory) and
involve an information processing perspective of mind. Both Cognitive therapy and NLP seek to identify and change
"distorted" or "unrealistic" ways of thinking, and therefore to influence emotion and behavior (compare cognitive
distortions of CBT with meta model of NLP). Both involve "reframing" and advise that behaviour change greatly
facilitates the integration of new, more beneficial beliefs.[7] But they operate with different definitions of
unconscious processes, and CBT assigns them "a less central role in influencing behaviour".[8] In contrast to the little
empirical support for NLP in the literature, cognitive behavioral therapy and its forerunner cognitive therapy has
been empirically validated and is widely used for the treatment of mental health and behavioral disorders, including
major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders.[9] [10]

Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy (NLPt)


Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy or NLPt is the agreed name of psychotherapy which is practiced by individuals
trained in both psychotherapy and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). In the UK, the relevant professional body is
the Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (NLPtCA). This group is currently a member of
the Experiential Constructivist Section of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), and individuals
who meet the rigorous standards for accreditation become UKCP-Accredited Neurolinguistic Psychotherapists. As
such, the NLPtCA has agreed policies concerning professional ethics, training standards, accreditation procedures,
and dealing with complaints.
Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming 70

Professional associations
NLP has been coordinated within some industry associations, psychotherapy associations, and has been used or
suggested as an approach by some mental health bodies.[11] NLP is used as an adjunct by therapists in other
disciplines and also as a therapy in its own right as NLPt. NLP has influenced some corporate executive coaches
who provide one-on-one training and collaborative relationships to executives interested in development skills in
career or business and may help resolve related personal issues.[12] A number of UK NHS regional authorities use
NLP for staff training at various levels, for training in rapport and communication in the workplace and with
patients[13] [14] and for personal development in management training.[15] [16] The Society of Medical NLP runs
courses for health professionals for techniques to be used in clinical practice in consultations. These techniques were
originally based on modeling Doctors who communicate successfully with patients. Their courses are accredited for
Personal Development Plans (PDP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD - formerly Post Graduate
Education Allowance).[17] In Ireland, NLP techniques are included in the The Guidance Counsellor's Handbook
issued by the National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE).[18]

Accredited Associations
• Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy & Counselling Association (NLPtCA) [19] - Member Organisation of the UKCP
• European Association for Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy (EANLPt) [20] - European wide accrediting
organisation for NLPt

Theoretical and historical backgrounds of NLP


• Walker, Wolfgang: Abenteuer Kommunikation - Bateson, Perls, Satir, Erickson und die Anfänge des
Neurolinguistischen Programmierens. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1996. ISBN 3-608-91976-7

References
[1] Bridoux, D., Weaver, M., (2000) "Neuro-linguistic psychotherapy." In Therapeutic perspectives on working with lesbian, gay and bisexual
clients. Davies, Dominic (Ed); Neal, Charles (Ed). (pp. 73-90). Buckingham, England: Open University Press (2000) xviii, 187 pp.
[2] UKCP Recognised Experimental Constructivist forms of therapies (http:/ / www. psychotherapy. org. uk/ experiential_constuctivist. html)
[3] " Research in complementary therapies papers revisited and continued (http:/ / www. musictherapyworld. de/ modules/ archive/ stuff/ papers/
rescomp. pdf)," p.11
[4] Bolstad, Richard (2003) " Putting The 'Neuro' Back Into NLP (http:/ / www. transformations. net. nz/ trancescript/ neurology. html)"
[5] Schütz, Peter. "A consumer guide through the multiplicity of NLP certification training" (http:/ / www. nlpzentrum. at/ institutsvgl-english.
htm). . Retrieved December 2006.
[6] Platt, Garry. "NLP - No Longer Plausible?" (http:/ / www. sueknight. co. uk/ Archives/ Publications/ Articles/ NLP_Plausible. htm). .
[7] Lewis Walker (2004) Changing With Nlp: A Casebook of Neuro-linguistic Programming in Medical Practice (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?lr=& pg=PR5& dq=& id=8K1aSWHFNSwC& ots=dLtS1iiAnR& output=html)
[8] David E. Gray (2006) Executive Coaching: Towards a Dynamic Alliance of Psychotherapy and Transformative Learning Processes.
Management Learning 2006; 37; 475 doi:10.1177/1350507606070221
[9] Aaron T. Beck: "The Current State of Cognitive Therapy: A 40 Year Retrospective", Archives of General Psychiatry, 62: 953 - 959, Sep 2005
[10] Treatment Recommendations for Patients with Major Depressive Disorder (Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Major
Depressive Disorder, Second Edition). American Psychiatric Association (2000). Retrieved on 2006-07-02.
[11] NLP is used or suggested as an approach by some mental health bodies:
• Mental Health Promotions: How to Assert Yourself (http:/ / www. herts. ac. uk/ services/ counselling/ How_to_Assert_Yourself. pdf)
• USU The Student Health and Wellness Center: What are Eating Disorders? (http:/ / www. usu. edu/ health/ eatingdisorders. htm)
• Center for Development & Disability at the University of New Mexico Center for autism (http:/ / cdd. unm. edu/ discuss/ resources/ )
• Counselling and therapy (http:/ / www. asca. org. au/ survivors/ survivors_counselling. html), Advocates of Child Abuse Survivors
[12] Peter Bluckert (2004) The state of play in corporate coaching: current and future trends. Industrial and Commercial Training. Guilsborough
Vol.36(2) p.53
[13] Clinical Professions Group Training & development Programme (http:/ / www. nscsha. nhs. uk/ resources/ pdf/ clin_profs/
clin_profs_train_dev_05062005. pdf), NSCSHA pg.27
[14] (http:/ / www. networks. nhs. uk/ uploads/ westyorks/ academy DISW jan-july 06. pdf), pg.27
Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming 71

[15] "Belfast Health and Social Care Trust" (http:/ / www. greenpark. n-i. nhs. uk/ pubinfo/ Training_and_Development_Programme. pdf) (PDF).
. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
[16] "NLP Case Studies - Improving Patient Care in the NHS Using NLP" (http:/ / www. anlp. org/ casestudies. asp?ID=13). ANLP. . Retrieved
2008-08-14.
[17] "About Us" (http:/ / medicalnlp. com/ html/ about_us. html). Society of Medical NLP. . Retrieved 2008-08-14.
[18] The Guidance Counsellor's Handbook (http:/ / www. ncge. ie/ resources_handbooks_guidance. htm), section 1.4.5 (http:/ / www. ncge. ie/
handbook_docs/ Section1/ NLP_Guide_Sch. doc) (DOC)
[19] http:/ / www. nlptca. com/
[20] http:/ / www. eanlpt. org/
List of Neuro-linguistic programming topics 72

List of Neuro-linguistic programming topics


This list is incomplete.

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

This is a list of topics related to Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Basics
• Subjective, objective
• Conscious, unconscious
• Rapport
• non-verbal communication
• eye contact
• matching breathing rhythm
• Anchor
• Modalities, VAK
• Meta programs
• Modelling (NLP) ? - See Talk

Verbal techniques
• Meta model (NLP)
• Milton-model
• Reframing
• Sleight of mouth

Goals
• Trance
• Neurological levels
List of Neuro-linguistic programming topics 73

Scientific description of the senses


• Visual
• Auditory
• Kinesthetic
• Olfactory
• Gustatory
Also,
• Sense
• Synesthesia
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 74

List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming


This list is incomplete.

NLP
TOPICS

• History
• NLP and science
• Methods
• Positive/Negative

view · talk

List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) summarizes the many studies that have been performed
relevant to NLP, since the early 1980s. These tend to be of three types: studies, metastudies, and research in related
fields (notably cognitive science and neuroscience).
A fourth kind of evidence, called anecdotal evidence, refers to end-user reports, and is often of a less controlled
nature or less carefully analysed in a rigorous manner. Anecdotal evidence may be considered suggestive, and a
direction to further research,but scientists do not consider it "proof" in its own right.
This article is intended to be read in conjunction with NLP and science, which summarizes and discusses the
findings overall and considers how and where NLP stands in science.

Overview of key aspects of research into NLP


Actual clinical studies have been more productive, but many are merely suggestive or lack formal academic rigor.
Equally (as researchers have pointed out), attempts have also been greatly obfuscated by many other factors, not
least of which are unrealistic claims by some practitioners, poor scientific understanding of the subject being
researched, failure to fully consider, control and understand all key variables, and often, lack of high quality
experimental design. Key issues expected or highlighted include:
1. NLP is intended to be used to a goal, and contains redundancy. That is, since no single strategy or approach is
expected to be 100% consistent (since people vary so much), but NLP's approach overall is believed to have a
better chance of producing notably more valuable information, and better potential change, in a more systematic
manner, and in a wider range of circumstances, than previous alternatives. It is important to measure its in situ
effectiveness rather than its assumptions, many of which are metaphorical.
2. People can misunderstand themselves, and therefore their goals are moving goals. NLP allows for this. The
measure of "success" is very often subjective to the client, or may change during working, and this is an expected
aspect of working with people.
3. NLP relies on micro-observation and virtuosity (i.e., smoothness of a wide range of skill use). It is important that
skilled NLP practitioners are involved in planning, and (where appropriate) as elements within experimental
design, to take account of this.
4. Not all NLP training is equal. It is important when studying "NLP" to study excellence in the field, rather than
niche or exaggerating practitioners.
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 75

Individual studies

Generally supportive

Rapport through matching sensory language


• In a peer-reviewed study, Bulent Turan and Ruth M. Townsley Stemberger (2000) found that "matching another
person's representational language enhances perceived empathy." The researchers placed a screen between the
conversational partners in order to eliminate visual cues to empathy.[1]
• Henry Asbell (1983) found that predicate matching was perceived as the "most helpful" of 4 strategies and
resulted in higher ratings for counsellor empathy.[2]
• Yappo (1981) found that when subjects were put in trance using a variety of inductions in different sensory
systems, and EMG (electromyograph) and self-assessment were used to measure effects of predicate matching,
both measures showed that deeper trance was induced when the preferred sensory system was used[3]
• Skinner & Stephens (2003) explored participant reactions to advertisements and found that advertisements
expressed predominantly matched their preferred sensory representational systems language were judged as more
persuasive.[4]
• See also: NLP rapport skills for librarians,[5] English instruction[6]

Non-verbal mimicry and rapport


• In another peer-reviewed study, professors Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh (1999) report that when
experimenters mirrored subjects, the subjects reported that the experimenters were "more likable" and that they
had had "smoother interactions" with them. They call this the "chameleon effect." In addition, they found that
people who were rated high on empathy mirrored their conversational partners more frequently.[7]
• Researchers at Stanford (Poulsen et al., 2007) programmed an AI to mimic student movements while explaining a
possible new university policy. An article in Wired explains that 7 out of the 69 students detected the mimicry,
but the remaining students who did not detect it "liked the mimicking agent more than the recorded agent, rating
the former more friendly, interesting, honest and persuasive. They also paid better attention to the parroting
presenter, looking away less often. Most significantly, they were more likely to come around to the mimicking
agent's way of thinking on the issue of mandatory ID." [8]
• Sandhu et al. (1993) found that NLP mirroring of nonverbal behavior had a significant effect on various
measurements of rapport in a cross-cultural counseling scenario.[9]
Anchoring
• Alan Brandis (1987) found that self-anchoring was "strongly related" to changes parental anger responses.[10]
• Horst Reckert (1994) studied one-session anchoring as a way to treat test anxiety with positive results. The author
used mental training as a control.[11]

Meta model
• Thomas Macroy (1978) found that more dissatisfied families substantially correlated with meta-model violations,
and concluded that "challenging metamodel patterns is an important way to enhance the ability to achieve
satisfaction socially."[12]

Milton model
• Cheek (1981) demonstrated that NLP Milton Model language use is capable of reaching and influencing the
unconscious mind by inducing 3000 patients to respond with formal yes/no hand signals to questions while fully
anesthetized.[13]
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 76

Allergies
• Judith Swack (1992) in an uncontrolled, non-peer reviewed study, used the NLP allergy cure on a group of ten
people. The initial results were 70% success with 30% of these 7 relapsing over time. Of these 3, 2 fully
recovered when other NLP techniques (including timeline therapy and V/K dissociation) were used.[14]

Chronic conditions
• Hanne and Jorgen Lund (1995) tested NLP on asthmatics, finding that the lung capacity of members of the
control group declined on average approximately 50ml, the members of the experimental group improved
approximately 200ml. In the experimental group, unstable lung function measurements fell to under 10%, and the
use of inhalers and acute medication both fell to zero.[15]
• Ulbrich (1998) found that when NLP was used to treat serious chronic conditions in clinical trials, comprising 12
hours over 3 weeks, they "prove to be quite successful procedures" and "significant results show up", noting that
"the participators in the training judge the success of their rehabilitation measures throughout more positively than
the members of the control's group". He stated that "apparently the NLP techniques used in training prove to be
quite successful procedures for the promotion of health. Although the training only comprised one period of 3
weeks (12 training hours), significant results show up. Thus the participators in the training judge the success of
their rehabilitation measures throughout more positively than the members of the control's group." [16]

Psychotherapy
• Genser-Medlitsch & Schütz (1997) tested the effects of NLP master practitioners working on 55 clients with
severe DSM conditions, many of whom were on psychiatric drugs. The control group of 60 had milder symptoms.
After treatment of the NLP group, 2% felt no different, 98% felt better or much better, none felt worse (control
group: 48% no different, 36% better, 15% worse). After therapy, the clients who received NLP scored higher in
their perception of themselves as in control of their lives (with a difference at 10% significance level), reduced
their use of drugs, used more successful coping methods, and reduced symptoms such as anxiety, aggression,
paranoid thinking, social insecurity, compulsive behaviours, and depression. Positive changes in 25 of 33
symptom areas (76%) occurred as a result of NLP, positive changes in 3 areas occurred in both NLP and control
groups. The researchers concluded "It could be established that, in principle, NLP is effective in accordance with
the therapeutic objective."[17]
• Stipancica (2010) conducted a quasi-experimental study which examined the effectiveness of Neuro-linguistic
psychotherapy. It found an "increase in perceived quality of life after therapy, as compared to the wait-list control
group, with effect sizes between 0.51 and 0.73." The authors concluded that NLP was similar in effectiveness to
other well-established practices and techniques such as Cognitive-behaviour therapy.[18]

Divorce counseling
• Bertoli (2002) describes that use of NLP applied to couple counseling during divorce and separation.[19]

Parenting
• Paula et al. (1991) examined in clinical trials whether NLP could help children and parents in shanty towns. They
used an NLP intervention program over 15 sessions (approx 10 helped with NLP, 27 control), measuring
children’s psychomotor development, home environment and maternal mental health before and after. They
concluded "There was a trend that indicated positive effects on the home environment".[20]
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 77

Information gathering in counseling


• Gerald Davis found that NLP's "structure, terminology, and sound theoretical principles resulted in gathering
valuable process information" when counselling prelingually deaf adults[21]

Social work
• Frank (1997, Germany) investigated NLP in social work, finding "enormous changes" and that "very many of the
people indicated that they could increase their adaptability, feel technically more competent and make a more
intensive self reflection", summarizing that it had "fallen out very positively"[22]

Spelling
• Loiselle (1985, University of Moncton, New Brunswick) tested various spelling strategies and found: control=no
change, "visualize"=10% better, "visualize up/right" (i.e. NLP Visual) = 20-25% better, "visualize down/left" (i.e.
NLP Kinesthetic)=15% worse.[23]
• Almost identical results were obtained by Malloy (1989) - the NLP spelling strategy produced a 25%
improvement in spelling ability (and 100% retention) compared to no change in a control group but that spellers
told to visualize in what NLP claims is a Kinesthetic manner (down/left) were scored around 10% worse.[24]

Nailbiting
• Wilhelm (1991, Germany) tested the "swish" pattern for nail-biting, finding "significant variations of the
nailbiting" and that results were stable up until followup[25]

Specific phobia
• Einspruch (1988) found "marked improvement" over an 8 week period in a test of 31 patients who undertook
NLP phobia treatment[26]
• Karunaratne, M. (2010) reviews experimental research evidence and concludes that NLP is an effective and
efficient treatment for phobias.[27]

Post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders


• Konefal (1992) found that, "Results confirm the effectiveness of neurolinguistic programming in lowering trait
anxiety and increasing the sense of internal control"[28]
• Bigley et al. (2010) conducted an evaluative study and found that Neuro-linguistic programming significantly
alleviated anxiety and then allowed MRI examinations to be performed in 38/50 (76%) of claustrophobic patients
without the need for general anaesthesia.[29]
• Koziey and McLeod (1987) found that the NLP V/K technique produced a "positive reduction in anxiety in
teenage rape [trauma]"[30]
• Post-traumatic stress: Muss (1991) examined the impact of NLP V/K (or rewind) technique on 19 insurer-referred
police officers who met DSM-III post-traumatic stress disorder criteria, following up at 3–24 months. Most stated
it had greatly helped, in long term followup 100% of those reached confirmed freedom from recurrence.[31]
• Dietrich (2000) reviewed NLP V/K (rewind technique) dissociation trials, and concluded that NLP was
"promising" and that "intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and interpersonal and occupational functioning
improved for many of the participants in the studies reviewed"[32]
• In A Review of Alternative Approaches to the Treatment of Post Traumatic Sequelae Dietrich et al. said that "the
available evidence suggests TIR, the TRI Method, and V/KD are effective treatments for posttraumatic sequelae."
[...] "Rigorous studies need to be conducted and replicated using comparison groups to demonstrate that the
identified treatment is equivalent to another “well-established" treatment or superior to medication, psychological
placebo or other treatment. Scientist-practitioners are encouraged to take an active role in this line of enquiry and
to conduct research with combined components, using good experimental designs and standardized
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 78

approaches."[33]
• The study found that a single session of eye movement integration (EMI), a technique originating from NLP,
significantly reduced the trauma symptoms in patients (12 children, aged 14–16 with suffering from traumatic
experiences). The study recommended EMI to aid in the recovery of childhood trauma.[34]

Sport Science
• Cricket: The experimental group showed overall skill improvement compared control group. The author
concluded that NLP was effective at improving cricket skills.[35]

Consciousness studies
• Mathison & Tosey (2008) combined NLP-inspired methods with research into phenomenology to gain a first
person account of horse riding lessons and to develop an account of the experiences of transformative learning.
They stated that the methods used allowed the rider to specific language and questions to develop a increasingly
fine-grained distinction about the learning experience and understanding.[36]
• Mathison & Tosey (2009) conducted explication interview of 4 people using NLP language and questions to
develop the first person accounts through guided introspection in particular what they term "moments of
knowing".[37]
• Tamara Andreas & Connirae Andreas (2009) provide an example "aligning perceptual positions" as an distinction
they developed within NLP and which they propose can be applied to exploring first person experience.[38]

Addictions
• Howie‌ (1996) outlines NLP and proposes it as a promising intervention for addictions. He concludes that
"Although empirical research is at an early stage, and some exaggerated claims are probably being made by
NLPers, a substantial body of clinical evidence is accumulating to support the value of NLP in the facilitation of a
person's freedom from the tyranny of addictive behaviours."[39]

Eye movements and thought process


• Dooley and Farmer (1988) investigated eye movements using videotapes of 10 nonfluent aphasic versus matched
normal control subjects. The study supported the hypothesis that eye-movement responses would differ between
neurologically normal and aphasic individuals.[40]

Teaching
• Exam anxiety: Kudliskis and Burden (2010) ran a case study of sixth form students in the South West of England
using NLP related techniques to deal with exam anxiety and related problems.[41]

Organizational culture and change


• Case study of how NLP techniques were used at Metronet Rail BCV Ltd, a rail maintenance company, under
major organizational change. Highlights the importance of specific communication, and rapport skills in
particular for change management.[42]

Generally dismissive

Traditional hypnosis
• Double induction: Matthews, Kirsch, and Mosher (1985) examined responses to taped traditional hypnosis versus
Bandler and Grinder (1975) inspired-double induction. They compared responses of 34 undergraduate psychology
students to taped traditional hypnosis versus double induction as described by Bandler and Grinder. Found no
significant difference between responses to traditional hypnosis and the double induction delivered via audiotape.
Recommended further research on live inductions, but, concluded "presented on audiotape, the double hypnotic
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 79

induction described by Bandler and Grinder (1975) is not more effective than a traditional induction."[43]

Eye movements and thought process


• Burke et al. (2003) investigated whether specific modality tasks (visual, gustatory, kinesthetic) were correlated
with distinct eye-movements. The study did not support the preferred representational system hypothesis, instead
it found idiosyncratic eye-movements across all modalities specific to the individual.[44]

Mixed or indeterminate findings


• Weight loss Bott (1995) found that NLP gave "partially positive effects" for treating psychogenic weight loss.
Unclear if there was a control group.[45]
• Management learning Dowlen (1996) performed own research and also reviewed the existing research, to
examine whether NLP was "help or hype" in management training. He concluded that:
"NLP techniques using language patterns and questioning techniques appear to be of use... existing
research evidence is limited and inconclusive... NLP is enthusiastically supported by those who practise
it, and that is both its strength and potential weakness."[46]
• NLP-trained observers and eye movement existence and detection Buckner (1987) found that "coefficients of
agreement (Cohen's K) between participants' self-reports and trained observers' records indicate support for the
visual (K=.81, p<.001) and auditory (K=.65, p<.001) portions of the model", and that "interrater agreement
(K=.82) supports the NLP claim that specific eye movement patterns exist and that trained observers can reliably
identify them"[47]
• Predicate matching and eye movements Baddeley (1991) found positive correlation between predicates and
certain predicted eye movements[48]
• Teacher-pupil communication: "At the moment it would appear that NLP has, at best, a limited theoretical
underpinning framework supported by ‘soft’ research evidence." However, NLP may assist to challenge and
correct negative beliefs and thoughts related to school and may help improve teacher-student communication
about learning. Further research is recommended direct at NLP and parallel research efforts.[49]

Meta-studies and similar commentaries on research


• Sharpley (1984) performed a metastudy of 15 studies seeking to test for a 'preferred representation system.' He
concluded strongly that there was "little supportive evidence and a large amount of data opposing the validity of
the concept."
• Einspruch & Forman (1985), responding to Sharpley, criticized all 39 studies to that date (including all 15 of
Sharpleys') for serious errors, and concluded that as a result it was "not possible at this time to determine the
validity of either NLP concepts or whether NLP-based therapeutic procedures are effective":[50]
"There is a growing body of empirical literature on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). A review of
this literature by Sharpley (1984) failed to consider a number of methodological errors. In the present
article the authors identify six categories of design and methodological errors contained in [empirical
studies] through April 1984. These categories include (a) lack of understanding of the concepts of
pattern recognition and inadequate control of context; (b) unfamiliarity with NLP as an approach to
therapy; (c) lack of familiarity with the NLP "Meta-Model" of linguistic communication; (d) failure to
consider the role of stimulus-response associations; (e) inadequate interviewer training and definitions
of rapport; and, (f) logical mistakes. ... Suggestions are offered for improving the quality of research on
NLP."
Some of these criticisms were later challenged or rebutted by Sharpley, but the majority of them are, in
general, accepted.
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 80

• Sharpley published a follow-up review (1987):[51]


"There are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the principles and
procedures suggested by NLP have failed to be supported by those data. Perhaps NLP principles are not
amenable to research evaluation. This does not necessarily reduce NLP to worthlessness for counseling
practice. Rather, it puts NLP in the same category as psychoanalysis, that is, with principles not easily
demonstrated in laboratory settings but, nevertheless, strongly supported by clinicians in the field." [52]
• Sharpley 1987 quote: “There are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the
principles and procedures of NLP have failed to be supported by those data” Then he (Sharpley) says “On the
other hand, Einspruch and Forman (1985) implied that NLP is far more complex than presumed by researchers,
and thus, the data are not true evaluations of NLP. Perhaps this is so, and perhaps NLP procedures are not
amenable to research evaluation. This does not necessarily reduce NLP to worthlessness for counseling practice.
Rather it puts it in the same category as psychoanalysis, that is, with principles not easily demonstrated in
laboratory settings but, nevertheless, strongly supported by clinicians in the field. Not every therapy has to
undergo the rigorous testing that is characteristic of the more behavioural approaches to counseling to be of use to
the therapeutic community, but failure to produce data that support a particular theory from controlled studies
does relegate that theory to questionable status in terms of professional accountability” Right at the end of the
article the sentences read: “Elich et al. referred to NLP as a psychological fad, and they may well have been
correct. Certainly research data do not support the rather extreme claims that proponents of NLP have made as to
the validity of its principles or the novelty of its procedures.”
• Heap says of his own research into matching predicates (1988) that:
"Einsprech and Forman are probably correct in insisting that the effectiveness of NLP therapy
undertaken in authentic clinical contexts of trained practitioners has not yet been properly investigated."
[53]
It is important to notice that the "evidence" quoted above is not direct, but is drawn from the three reviews of other
people's work by Heap (1987) and Sharpley (1984, 1987). Unfortunately neither of the authors of these reviews was
(or is) particularly well-informed about NLP, and therefore, whilst they may accurately report on the studies they
reviewed, neither Heap nor Sharpley actually has any idea whether the studies they reviewed tested genuine NLP
claims, whether the experiments themselves were fit for purpose, or whether the experimenters' conclusions were
valid. This is fairly crucial given that many of the experimenters also seemed to be very confused about what claims
had actually been made about variois NLP-related concepts and techniques (see below).
For example, both reviewers referred to an experiment by Allan Hammer (1983), which they cited as a rebuttal of the
claim that predicate matching could help to build empathy/rapport. In reality, however, Hammer had misunderstood
the claims made about predicate matching, and his results actually supported what Bandler and Grinder had said
about predicate matching, in Frogs into Princes (1979), for example.
A further consideration is the fact that so many of the reviewed studies related to the notion of people having a PRS
(preferred or primary representational system). Not only did many of the experimenters misunderstand what claims
had originally been made about PRSs, they also overlooked the fact that Bandler and Grinder themselves had
downgraded the importance they assigned to PRSs as early as the late 1970s. Instead, many experimenters (and
reviewers) continued to treat the concept as though it were a key element in NLP, thereby vastly overestimating the
significance of the corresponding experimental results.
• Druckman (1988) reports that anecdotal evidence on NLP is broadly credible and positive, but that most
attempted studies are heavily flawed, such as (a) equating subjective empathy with clinical effectiveness, (b)
studying NLP as a theory, rather than as an influencing technique pitted against existing influencing techniques,
(c) Attempting to replicate findings of NLP using subjects, observers, or experimental designers who lack NLP
training, and (d) lack of studies on NLP as a trainer modeling system. He concludes that as a result of the study
flaws, and despite the anecdotal support:[54]
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 81

"Ignoring where the burden of proof lies, the fact remains that the experimental evidence fails to provide
support for NLP... Overall, there is little or no empirical evidence to date to support either NLP
assumptions or NLP effectiveness."
Again, Druckman was reporting on other people's research, mainly as filtered through Sharpley's (1984) review, and
his committee's findings adding one whit to the existing body of evidence.
• Platt (2001) observed that whilst studies evaluating specific NLP points such as predicates, representation systems
and eye movements tended to give positive results only around 15-35% of the time, when he examined studies of
the effects of NLP applied in its complete context, in this case phobia cures, "56% found positive evidence to
support NLP's effectiveness."
• Thompson et al. (2002) question the current research and subsequently propose further longitudinal studies, "The
research question is how to measure the impact of NLP training on individual and organisational performance.
The existing literature provided little evidence of the efficacy of NLP and provided no templates for analysis.
There were no examples of longitudinal studies. A review of four online databases (PsycInfo, Eurobusiness ASAP,
Proquest, and First Search) gives 54 citations of which only eight are research studies. Four indicate positive
benefits, and four indicate no measurable effect. Einspruch and Forman (1985) give six categories of error in the
research on NLP, the major of which is inadequate control of context.[50] In a discussion of these findings,
Sharpley (1987) details seven studies (not included in the above total) that demonstrate that the research data
does not support the basic tenets of NLP.[51] It is noteworthy that this literature is based in the positivist
psychological tradition and many of the examples are in therapeutic areas, e.g. phobia cure[26] and
counselling.[25] Interest in this area appears to fade in the early 1990s and there are few reported studies after
this date. Dissertation Abstracts International reveals five studies, four of which have a conventional research
base. Two of the studies (teaching, and post-traumatic stress) revealed no significant effects. Two, on eye
movements and leadership revealed positive effects. Young’s (1995) thesis shows that the leaders made lasting
progress on achieving desired outcomes and reported growth, and the students attributed change to the various
NLP course components.[55] Young’s (1995) The study included interviews one year after the NLP
intervention.[55] The review of literature does not provide a firm base for a belief that NLP has a lasting effect.
Many of the studies are arguably methodologically flawed.[50] Their “flaws” raise considerable methodological
and method issues. This view is supported by the positivist stance of Baddeley (1989) that a final verdict (on NLP)
is withheld until further clinical studies and experimental investigations are reported... " [56]
It is important to notice that most of the evidence quoted above is not direct, but is drawn from the three metastudies
by Heap (1987) and Sharpley (1984, 1987). Unfortunately neither of the authors of these studies shows a particularly
accurate understanding of NLP, and therefore, whilst they may accurately report on the studies they reviewed,
neither Heap nor Sharpley actually has any idea whether the studies they reviewed tested genuine NLP claims, or
whether the experiments themselves were appropriate. This is fairly crucial given that many of the experimenters
also seemed to be very confused about what claims had actually been made about variois NLP-related concepts and
techniques (see below).
For example, both reviewers referred to an experiment by Allan Hammer (1983), which they cited as a rebuttal of the
claim that predicate matching could help to build empathy/rapport. In reality, however, Hammer had misunderstood
the claims made about predicate matching, and his results actually supported what Bandler and Grinder had said
about predicate matching, in Frogs into Princes (1979), for example.
A further consideration is the fact that so many of the reviewed studies related to the notion of people having a PRS
(preferred or primary representational system). Despite the fact that Bandler and Grinder themselves downgraded the
importance they assigned to PRSs as early as the late 1970s, many experimenters (and reviewers) continued to treat
the concept as though it were a key element in NLP, thereby vastly overestimating the relevance/value of their
results.
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 82

Findings within neuroscience and cognitive science


• NLP and neurotransmitter/neurological activity Baxter (1994) found that NLP reframing used to treat
obsessive compulsive disorder in place of Prozac resulted in the same raised serotonin levels and reduced caudate
nucleus activity as control subjects who took medication (as measured by Positron Emission Tomography scans
of the brain)[57]
Submodalities and sensory perception
• Visual submodalities have been shown to affect kinesthetic states, for example room color has an effect on
temperature perception (Berry, Journal of Applied Psychology 45/4) and packaging color changes the
effectiveness of the placebo effect (Buckalew and Ross, 1981)[58]
• Shifting the "size" visual submodality has been demonstrated to have the effect that would be predicted by the
"Submodality Model".[59]

References
[1] Turan, Bulent and Ruth M. Townsley Stemberger. "The Effectiveness of Matching Language to Enhance Perceived Empathy."
Communication & Cognition. Vol 33(3-4), 2000, 287-300.
[2] Asbell, Henry. (1983) "Effects of Reflection, Probe, and Predicate Matching on Perceived Counselor Characteristics." Dissertation Abstracts
International 44(11), 3515-B University of Missouri at Kansas City.
[3] Yappo, 1981, effects of matching predicates on hypnotic relaxation, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 23 - Yappo put 30 subjects in
trance using a variety of inductions in different sensory systems. "After each induction, their depth of trance was measured by
electromyograph and by asking them how relaxed they felt. On both measures, subjects achieved greater relaxation when their preferred
sensory system was used."
[4] Skinner & Stephens (2003) Speaking the same language: the relevance of neuro-linguistic programming to effective marketing
communications. Journal of Marketing Communication, 9, 3, 177-192.
[5] Matt Stock (2010) The Three R's: Rapport, Relationship, and Reference The Reference Librarian, 1541-1117, 51, 1, 45 –
52.doi:10.1080/02763870903361995
[6] Helm, David Jay (2009)Improving English Instruction Through Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Education, 130, 1, 110-113.
[7] Barco, Tori. "We're All Copycats." Psychology Today Magazine, Nov/Dec 1999. http:/ / psychologytoday. com/ articles/
pto-19991101-000004. html . Accessed 24 June 2007.
[8] Poulsen, Kevin. "AI Seduces Stanford Students." Wired online 31 May 2005. http:/ / www. wired. com/ culture/ lifestyle/ news/ 2005/ 05/
67659 . Accessed 24 June 2007.
[9] Sandhu, Daya et al. "Cross-cultural Counseling and Neurolinguistic Mirroring with Native American Adolescents." Journal of Multicultural
Counseling and Development Vol 21(2) Apr 1993, 106-118.
[10] Brandis, Alan D. (1987): "A neurolinguistic treatment for reducing parental anger responses and creating more resourceful behavioral
options." (Brandis, Alan D.: California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, US) Dissertation Abstract Dissertation Abstracts
International. Vol 47(11-B), May 1987, pp. 4642. See NLP Comprehensive (http:/ / www. nlpco. com/ research/ Anchoring/
anchoring_parents. html) for abstract.
[11] Reckert, H.W. "Test anxiety removed by anchoring in just one session?" in Multimind, NLP Aktuell, No 6, November/December 1994.
[12] Macroy, T.D. "Linguistic surface structures in family interaction" in Dissertation Abstracts International 40(2), 926 B, Utah State
University, 133 pp., 1978.
[13] Cheek, D. "Awareness of Meaningful Sounds Under General Anaesthesia." "Theoretical and Clinical Aspects of Hypnosis", Symposium
Specialists, 1981.
[14] Swack, Judith. Study of Initial Response and Reversion Rates of Subjects Treated With The Allergy technique. Anchor Point, Feb. 1992.
[15] Lund, H. Asthma Management: A Qualitative Research Study. The Health Attractor, Vol. 1, No. 3, IASH, March, 1995. See also "A
Summary of NLP Research" (http:/ / www. nlpschedule. com/ random/ research-summary. html).
[16] Unterberger Ulbrich, 1998, Effects of NLP interventions with chronical diseases [chronic illness of the back, cancer, allergies and asthma] in
clinical tests, approx German translation
[17] Genser-Medlitsch & Schütz, 1997, "Does Neuro-Linguistic psychotherapy have effect?" Martina Genser-Medlitsch; Peter Schätz, ·TZ-NLP,
Wiederhofergasse 4, A-1090, Wien, Austria
[18] Melita Stipancica; Walter Rennerb; Peter Schuumltzc; Renata Dond (2010) "Effects of Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy on psychological
difficulties and perceived quality of life" Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 10,39 - 49
[19] Bertoli, JM (2002) The use of neuro-linguistic programming and emotionally-focused therapy with divorcing couples in crisis (http:/ /
books. google. com. au/ books?id=KUeAaHzHvNkC& pg=PA207), in Figley (Ed.) Brief treatments for the traumatized: Contributions to
psychology, 39, 207-225.
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 83

[20] de Miranda et al. "Impact of the application of neurolinguistic programming to mothers of children enrolled in a day care center of a
shantytown." Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 1999 Mar 4;117(2):63-71.
[21] Davis, Gerald L. (1985): "Neuro-linguistic programming as an interviewing technique with prelingually deaf adults." (Davis, Gerald L.:
Oklahoma State U) Dissertation Abstract Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol 46(5-A), Nov 1985, pp. 1247-1248.
[22] Frank, 1997, using NLP in social work, approx translation from German - "The question about impact of the individual NLP interventions
(the Meta model, verbal and nonverbales Pacing and leading, the attention of the body language as well as the Reframing models) [was
responded] particularly positively ... The social educators consider the feedback of the client and the secondary profit of the problem behavior
now substantially more intensively. Enormous changes were registered also in the formulation of goals and the attention to their ecological
compatibility. Moreover, very many of the people indicated that they could increase their adaptability, feel technically more competent and
make a more intensive self reflection ... According to these positive experiences the answer to the question whether NLP is meaningful as
further training for social paedagogues, has fallen out very optimistically."
[23] "Spelling was tested again by Loiselle (1985, University of Moncton, New Brunswick). Four groups of pretested average spellers were given
the same spelling test (using made up nonsense words they had not seen before). Each group had different instructions and each obtained
different results in their spelling test: Group A was simply told to "learn the words". (scored same as pretest), Group B was told to "visualize
the words as a method of learning them" (scored 10% better), Group C was told to "look up to the left", which NLP claims helps visual
memory (scored 20-25% better). A further group, Group D, were told to "look down to the right", which NLP claims helps feeling
kinesthetically, but may hinder visualizing. People in this group scored 15% worse than pretest. These were almost identical results to Malloy
(1989)
[24] Malloy, 1989, Cognitive strategies and a classroom procedure for teaching spelling - "Thomas Malloy (1989) at the University of Utah
Department of Psychology completed a study with three groups of spellers, again pretested to find average spellers. One group were taught the
NLP spelling strategy of looking up and to the left, one group were taught a strategy of sounding out by phonetics and auditory rules, and one
were given no new information. In this study the tests involved actual words. Again, the visual recall spellers improved 25%, and had near
100% retention one week later. The group taught the auditory strategies improved 15% but this score dropped 5% in the following week. The
control group showed no improvement." - Malloy 1989, Cognitive strategies and a classroom procedure for teaching spelling (http:/ / www.
kattmodell. se/ Cognitive-strategies_Spelling-1987. pdf). Dissertation. Department of Psychology, University of Utha, 1989. p.7.
[25] Wilhelm, 1991, various NLP submodality techniques tested on nailbiting - "The related technologies brought both significant variations of
the nailbiting and the growth. The swish-technology showed clear advantages vis-à-vis the switch-technology. To the follow-up moment, the
obtained results were further stable." Wilhelm, Frank Anton (1991) Submodality change and nail chewing. Empirical test of an imaginative
method ('Swish'). Master thesis, Department of Psychology, Philipps-University Marburg.
[26] Einspruch, 1988, phobia cure evaluation - "Thirty-one phobic patients seen in group/class treatment programs completed Mark's Phobia
Questionnaire and Fear Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory before and after 8 weeks of treatment. Seventeen patients seen in
individual therapy completed part of the phobia questionnaire before and after treatment. Results indicate marked improvement by those who
were treated. Findings suggest that NLP holds promise for becoming an important set of therapeutic techniques for treating phobias."
[27] Karunaratne, M. (2010) Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.02.003
[28] Konefal J, Duncan R, Reese, M: "Effect of Neurolinguistic Programming Training on Trait Anxiety and Internal Locus of Control."
Psychological Reports, 70:819-832, 1992. doi: PubMed (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 9923190)
[29] J Bigley; P D Griffiths; A Prydderch; C A J Romanowski; L Miles; H Lidiard; N Hoggard (2010) Neurolinguistic programming used to
reduce the need for anaesthesia in claustrophobic patients undergoing MRI The British journal of radiology, 83, 113-117 PubMed (http:/ /
www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 19505969) doi:10.1259/bjr/14421796
[30] Review of Koziey and McLeod,1987, use of V/K dissociation in rape trauma, "Professional Psychology; Research and Practice" - "V-KD
has been cited [by Koziey] as showing a positive reduction in anxiety in teenage rape victims"
[31] Muss, 1991, use of V/K Dissociation for trauma - "An uncontrolled study with a sample of 19 British police officers referred for stress
management by a medical insurance company. Of 70 officers seen, 19 met DSM-III criteria for PTSD ... Treatment effectiveness was
evaluated by the participant's verbal self-reports immediately following the procedure, at a one-week follow-up interview, and at long-term
follow-up interviews occurring in an interval anywhere from three months to two years after V/KD treatment. Muss reported that most of the
participants (exact number was not specified) stated that they "felt as if a great weight had suddenly been lifted; others did not remark on any
immediate change". All 19 officers reported "feeling well" at the one-week follow-up. [Long term follow-up comprised] 10 were contacted by
phone and five were reviewed at the clinic, the other four could not be contacted. All [fifteen] confirmed freedom from recurring intrusive
images and a return to normal behavior."
[32] Dietrich, 'Traumatology' aug 2000, review of V/K dissociation in trauma treatment - "The studies reviewed for this paper suggest that
V/KD, although currently at an experimental level of efficacy and in need of further well-designed empirical study, may be a promising
treatment for at least some forms of Posttraumatic Disorder. Intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and interpersonal and occupational
functioning improved for many of the participants in the studies reviewed [...] The study by Hossack and Bentall meets many of the controls
for internal validity in case studies as set forth by Kazdin (1998)."
[33] Dietrich, AM., Baranowsky, AB., Devich-Navarro, M., Gentry, JE, Harris, CJH., Figley, CR., (2000) A Review of Alternative Approaches
to the Treatment of Post Traumatic Sequelae (http:/ / www. fsu. edu/ ~trauma/ v6i4/ v6i4a2. htm) Traumatology Volume VI (4,2)
[34] Struwig, Elsabet (2010) An exploratory study on the usefulness of eye movement integration therapy in overcoming childhood trauma (http:/
/ hdl. handle. net/ 10210/ 3277), MA Thesis, Department of Social Work, The University of Johannesburg.
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 84

[35] Saunders, Dawn Elizabeth (2009) A psycho-educational programme for cricket players using neuro-linguistic programming. (http:/ / hdl.
handle. net/ 10019/ 2112) Doctoral dissertation.
[36] Mathison, J., Tosey, P. (2008) "Riding into transformative learning" Journal of Consciousness Studies 15, 2, 67-88. abstract (http:/ / www.
ingentaconnect. com/ content/ imp/ jcs/ 2008/ 00000015/ 00000002/ art00003)
[37] Mathison, J. and Tosey, P.(2009) Exploring Moments of Knowing: NLP and Enquiry Into Inner Landscapes. Journal of Consciousness
Studies, 16, 189-216
[38] Andreas, C., Andreas, T. (2009) Aligning perceptual positions: A new distinction in NLP (2009) Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16,
217-230. (http:/ / www. ingentaconnect. com/ content/ imp/ jcs/ 2009/ 00000016/ F0030010/ art00009)
[39] D. D. Howie‌ Application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to Addictive Behaviours: Part II Journal of Substance Use 1996, Vol. 1, No. 2,
Pages 74-79 doi:10.3109/14659899609084974
[40] PubMed (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 3211676)
[41] Kudliskis, V., Burden, R. (2010) Applying 'what works' in psychology to enhancing examination success in schools: The potential
contribution of NLP. Thinking Skills and Creativity 4, 3, 170-177 doi:10.1016/j.tsc.2009.09.002
[42] David Pollitt (2010) "NLP helps Metronet Rail maintenance employees to stay on track: Techniques prove their worth in a period of
organizational upheaval" Human Resource Management International Digest 18, 4, 20-21. doi:10.1108/09670731011051496
[43] Matthews, William J.; Kirsch, Irving; Mosher, Donald (1985) Double hypnotic induction: An initial empirical test. Journal of Abnormal
Psychology, 94, 92-95. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.94.1.92
[44] Burke DT, Meleger A, Schneider JC, Snyder J, Dorvlo AS, amd Al-Adawi S. (2003), Eye-movements and ongoing task processing.
Perceptual and Motor Skills 96, 1330-1338. PubMed (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 12929791)
[45] Bott, Germany 1995, evaluation of a NLP based treatment for psychogenic weight loss - "The support program is based on methods of the
NLP and showed partially positive effects."
[46] Ashley Dowlen, "NLP - help or hype?", published Career Development International, Feb 1996 p. 27 - 34 - "Identifies aspects of
neurolinguistic programming (NLP) that may be of use in management learning. Uses three approaches to explore NLP; an introductory
programme, a profiling questionnaire and an analysis of a sample of management development articles. Then reviews research evidence on
NLP. Concludes that NLP techniques using language patterns and questioning techniques appear to be of use; existing research evidence is
limited and inconclusive; NLP is enthusiastically supported by those who practise it, and that is both its strength and potential weakness."
doi:10.1108/13620439610111408
[47] Buckner, 1987, eye movements - "Two NLP-trained observers independently viewed silent videotapes of participants concentrating and
recorded the presence or absence of eye movements posited by NLP theorists to indicate visual, auditory, or kinesthetic components in
thought. Coefficients of agreement (Cohen's K) between participants' self-reports and trained observers' records indicate support for the visual
(K=.81, p<.001) and auditory (K=.65, p<.001) portions of the model. The kinesthetic (K=.15, p<.85) portion was not supported. Interrater
agreement (K=.82) supports the NLP claim that specific eye movement patterns exist and that trained observers can reliably identify them."
[48] Baddeley, 1991, eye movement v. predicted movement - "Results failed to support the neurolinguistic programming hypothesis although
post-hoc tests located some distinctive eye-movement trends [but t]here was a tendency for the auditory remembered questions to be
associated with a greater number of predicted eye movements than expected by chance. Visually remembered and auditory constructed
questions tended to be positively associated with predicted eye-movements both within and across eye-movement instances."
[49] Voldis Kudliskisa and Robert Burden (2009) Applying ‘what works’ in psychology to enhancing examination success in schools: The
potential contribution of NLP (2009) Thinking Skills and Creativity 4, 170-177 doi:doi:10.1016/j.tsc.2009.09.002
[50] Einspruch, 1985, Observations on NLP research)
[51] Sharpley, 1987, p. 105. Sharpley was also a source used by Heap (1988)
[52] Sharpley (1988) concludes by cautioning however, that "If it has been tested, and fails, then it is relegated."
[53] http:/ / www. hypno1. co. uk/ art_nlp. htm
[54] Druckman (1988) p.143 - "One type of program that has achieved a measure of success is called neurolinguistic programming. Various
purveyors of this system offer training seminars in many cities on a regular basis. Respected and responsible people who have been trained in
the system report positively. [...] Studies of the effectiveness of NLP are limited in a number of ways. The dependent measure used in most
studies is client-counselor empathy, as measured on a paper-and-pencil scale (e.g., Hammer, 1983). This is not a satisfactory index of the
therapeutic effectiveness of the counselor. One can find a counselor very empathetic but nonetheless ineffective in modifying behaviors or
feelings. There are no studies comparing the effectiveness of NLP as an influence technique with other interpersonal influence techniques.
None of the studies testing aspects of NLP has used NLP-certified Trainers as counselors, therapists, or eye movement monitors; thus studies
that fail to support NLP are subject to the criticism that, if properly trained people had been used, the results would have been more positive.
Ignoring where the burden of proof lies, the fact remains that the experimental evidence fails to provide support for NLP. There are no studies
in the scientific literature on NLP as a way of modeling experts for training purposes." [... Druckman concludes that as a result of the studies,
and despite the anecdotal support...] "Overall, there is little or no empirical evidence to date to support either NLP assumptions or NLP
effectiveness." (http:/ / darwin. nap. edu/ books/ 0309037921/ html/ 133. html)
[55] Young, Jennifer Ann (1995): "Developing leadership from within: A descriptive study of the use of neurolinguistic programming practices
in a course on leadership." (Young, Jennifer Ann: The Ohio State U, US) Dissertation Abstract Dissertation Abstracts International Section A:
Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol 56(1-A), Jul 1995, pp. 0080.
[56] John E. Thompson, Lisa Courtney, D. Dickson (Aug 2002) "The effect of neurolinguistic programming on organisational and individual
performance: a case study" Journal of European Industrial Training Vol.26.6 pp.292-298 doi:10.1108/03090590210431265
List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming 85

[57] Baxter, 1994, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry - "Clients with obsessive compulsive disorder had raised activity in neural networks inside the
caudate nucleus of the brain (demonstrated on PET scans of the brain). Drugs such as Prozac raise serotonin levels and the caudate nucleus
activity is thus reduced. Baxter found that when clients repeated a simple reframe to themselves, the Positron Emission Tomography scan
showed the same raising of serotonin levels and the same lowering of activity in the caudate nucleus."
[58] Buckalew and Ross, 1981, "Relationship of Perceptual Characteristics to Efficacy of Placebos", reported in Psychological Reports - Visual
submodalities have been shown to affect kinesthetic states, for example room color has an effect on temperature perception (Berry, "Effect of
Coloured Illumination Upon Perceived Temperature", Journal of Applied Psychology 45/4) and packaging color changes the effectiveness of
the placebo effect.
[59] Noninformative vision improves the spatial resolution of touch in humans. Kennett S, Taylor-Clarke M, Haggard P. Curr Biol. 2001 Aug
7;11(15):1188-91. "Research on sensory perception now often considers more than one sense at a time. This approach reflects real-world
situations, such as when a visible object touches us. Indeed, vision and touch show great interdependence: the sight of a body part can reduce
tactile target detection times [1], visual and tactile attentional systems are spatially linked [2], and the texture of surfaces that are actively
touched with the fingertips is perceived using both vision and touch [3]. However, these previous findings might be mediated by spatial
attention [1, 2] or by improved guidance of movement [3] via visually enhanced body position sense [4--6]. Here, we investigate the direct
effects of viewing the body on passive touch. We measured tactile two-point discrimination thresholds [7] on the forearm while manipulating
the visibility of the arm but holding gaze direction constant. The spatial resolution of touch was better when the arm was visible than when it
was not. Tactile performance was further improved when the view of the arm was magnified. In contrast, performance was not improved by
viewing a neutral object at the arm's location, ruling out improved spatial orienting as a possible account. Controls confirmed that no
information about the tactile stimulation was provided by visibility of the arm. This visual enhancement of touch may point to online
reorganization of tactile receptive fields." PMID: 11516950 (http:/ / www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/ pubmed/ 11516950)
Article Sources and Contributors 86

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Neuro-linguistic programming  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=431161314  Contributors: 16@r, 2over0, A.Quackbain, A.Warner, A930913, AJRG, Aaron Kauppi, Aaron
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Eaefremov, Eli the Barrow-boy, Encyo, FT2, Gloverman, Gmaxwell, Isolaris, John Vandenberg, LilHelpa, Master shepherd, PatrickMerlevede, Peter Damian (old), Rjwilmsi, Tktktk, Tregoweth,
WereSpielChequers, Will Beback, Woohookitty, 8 anonymous edits

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Krator, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, Sfmusicfan1, Valfontis, 3 anonymous edits

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Meta-model (NLP)  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=425453064  Contributors: Action potential, Ammetzger, Amxitsa, Brenda Lo888, Bwoodsonii, CesarGon, ChrisG, Davin,
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Kbdank71, Master shepherd, Metacognition, Nanouk, Nbd, Peter Damian (old), Puchiko, RJFJR, ReneV, Rjwilmsi, Rmhermen, Sarefo, Sfmusicfan1, That Guy, From That Show!, Valfontis, 31
anonymous edits

Anchoring (NLP)  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=428293074  Contributors: 9eyedeel, Aaron Brenneman, Action potential, Altenmann, B9 hummingbird hovering, Beetstra,
Buddhipriya, Cremepuff222, DanMS, Dantheman531, Doug4, Edcolins, FT2, Fissionchips303, Floraearl, Gaius Cornelius, Gettingtoit, Heb, John Vandenberg, KConWiki, Kbdank71, MarSch,
Moanzhu, Nick Number, PDH, Pearle, Penbat, Peter Damian (old), Rettetast, Tevildo, Willie mathews, Woohookitty, 26 anonymous edits

Therapeutic metaphor  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=406821738  Contributors: Action potential, Bearian, Binary TSO, C56C, Chris09j, Cmdrjameson, Dilequeno,
Doczilla, Edward, FT2, Foobody, Julia Rossi, Kbdank71, Kingturtle, Kittybrewster, Mashenka, Mattisgoo, MilesFrmOrdnary, Quinling, Stefanomione, 11 anonymous edits

Reframing  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=400196337  Contributors: 2over0, Action potential, Al3xil, Amt, Antandrus, Bearian, Brenda Lo888, ChrisG, Cometstyles,
Conversion script, Excirial, FT2, GHe, Gadfium, Ghakko, GoingBatty, Ifrahimj, Jamesmorrison, JimR, John Vandenberg, Joie de Vivre, KF, Kbdank71, Kenny sh, Light current, Lightmouse,
Mauls, Meredyth, Mikzi, Mufka, NLPepa, Newtime, PC78, Peter Damian (old), ProlixDog, Screwball23, Sfmusicfan1, Simoes, SimonP, Stephan Schneider, Stephen378, Theosp, Valfontis,
Verdatum, YUiCiUS, 43 anonymous edits

Representational systems (NLP)  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=419943037  Contributors: A bit iffy, Action potential, Bdesham, Bearian, Brenda Lo888, Dolfrog, Eliz81,
FT2, John Vandenberg, Master shepherd, NHRHS2010, Naked-in-a-snowsuit, Netscr1be, Nubiatech, Oddity-, Peter Damian (old), Piechjo, Rjwilmsi, Sfmusicfan1, Tony1, Valfontis, Vincej,
Vivio Testarossa, Woohookitty, 14 anonymous edits

Submodalities  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=426987311  Contributors: Action potential, Al3xil, Anatoly.Vasiljev, Davie88, Eaefremov, Edward, FT2, Fred Bradstadt,
IrisKawling, J04n, Jeff3000, John Vandenberg, Nihiltres, Peter Damian (old), Pinethicket, Sfmusicfan1, Srice13, Valfontis, Winston365, Worldfox, Zsh, 11 anonymous edits

Perceptual positions  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=331053396  Contributors: Action potential, BirgitteSB, Chelmian, Erebus555, FT2, Harkmopwood, Kbdank71, Uuchie,
W1NLP

Meta-programs  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=431112577  Contributors: Action potential, Afterwriting, Alex.g, ChrisG, Cjrother, Colorajo, DGG, FT2, FlyHigh,
GreyHead, Hu12, John Vandenberg, Kbdank71, Mandarax, PatrickMerlevede, Peter Damian (old), RichardF, Sfmusicfan1, Simoes, Valfontis, Vincej, Wasbeer, 46 anonymous edits

Therapeutic use of Neuro-linguistic programming  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=418796653  Contributors: AJRG, Action potential, Adoniscik, BirgitteSB, Davin, FT2,
Fainites, John Vandenberg, Julia Rossi, Kevinkor2, MarSch, Pearle, Peter Damian (old), RJFJR, Rd232, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, Sapphic, Sfmusicfan1, Valfontis, 6 anonymous edits
Article Sources and Contributors 87

List of Neuro-linguistic programming topics  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=402715092  Contributors: Action potential, Alan Liefting, Barticus88, ChrisG, Dekimasu,
Eaefremov, FT2, GTBacchus, Gadfium, Greenrd, Hoof Hearted, Jeff3000, Kbdank71, Kenny sh, Khukri, Master shepherd, Mathmo, Matthew Auger, Metta Bubble, Michael Hardy, Neparis,
NuclearWarfare, Pearle, Quiddity, Rajah, Reinyday, Rich Farmbrough, RichardF, Sdorrance, Sfmusicfan1, The Transhumanist, ThirteenthGreg, UnitedStatesian, Valfontis, Whateley23, WpZurp,
Zigger, Zzzzz, 20 anonymous edits

List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=425428874  Contributors: Action potential, AndrewHowse, BabbaQ, Captain panda, FT2,
Fainites, Kevinkor2, Lemmey, LilHelpa, Mboverload, MichaelMaggs, Mild Bill Hiccup, Modalsurrealist, Nposs, Peter Damian, Rich Farmbrough, Samuel Pepys, Upholder, Zensufi, 33
anonymous edits
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 88

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors


Image:Mouvements-oculaires-PNL.jpg  Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Mouvements-oculaires-PNL.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike
3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0  Contributors: Windhorse
License 89

License
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
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