Practical Magic

A translation of basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming into clinical psychology

By: Stephen Lankton


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 152mm x 228mm
Pages : 264
ISBN : 9781904424116
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2003

First published in 1980, this book is still considered the basic primer for understanding NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). The author demonstrates all the basic techniques for change and relates these to other established schools of psychotherapy. The result is a fortunate marriage of theory and practice. Covers a wide range of topics some in depth, some only a tantalizing glimpse of possibilities which therapists dream of succeeding at. The outcome is a happy event which any therapist, novice or veteran, will find useful.

From the original foreword: ‘This book that you are holding constitutes an important part of my integration of several contemporary psychotherapies with the orientation taught me by Milton H. Erickson and the modeling principles used by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in their work which subsequently led to their development of Neuro-Linguistic programming. This book constitutes an important piece of my understanding of psychological level communication and its use in therapy.’

Picture for author Stephen Lankton

Stephen Lankton

Stephen Lankton, MSW, LCSW, DAHB, is a psychotherapist practising in Phoenix, Arizona. He is Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. He taught as faculty associate at Arizona State University, Dept. of Behavioral Science and Sociology until 2009 and now teaches for the ASU graduate School of Social Work.

He has been a keynote speaker, invited faculty, workshop, and seminars leader for hundreds of conferences sponsored by virtually every major national and state professional organization as well as dozens of universities, and post-graduate training centres in the US. He is internationally known for his clinical work and teaching of Strategic therapy, Transactional Analysis, Ericksonian, and Gestalt approaches to psychotherapy, brief therapy, couples therapy, and hypnosis in over a dozen countries for the last 36 years.

He has authored and co-authored bestselling professional books, some of which are now considered classics, including: The Answer Within, Enchantment and Intervention in Family Therapy, Tales of Enchantment and Practical Magic, as well as Assembling Ericksonian Therapy and his most recent book Tools of Intention. He has edited and co-edited 11 other books. He was founding Editor of The Ericksonian Monographs, and has published numerous clinical papers and chapters. His works have been translated into 7 languages.

He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Psychotherapy and the Irving Secter Award for outstanding contributions to the field of clinical hypnosis. He has become a Fellow in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT); Fellow and Approved Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and a Diplomate in Clinical Hypnosis and president emeritus of American Hypnosis Board for Clinical Social Work (AHBCSW). He is an Arizona Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serves on the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Social Work Credentialing Committee and Chair of the main board.

He created a new methodology for bringing the science of human behaviour to interface management at corporate enterprise level. As a corporate consultant his clients have consisted large US organizations including the Internal Revenue Service, New York State Human Services, New York State Tax and Finance, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, American Express, Xerox, and others.


  1. This is a book that discusses some complex notions and ideas in a way that makes them easy to understand and follow throughout the book. Lankton manages to build up on these ideas by starting small and getting bigger using a lay person's language. He has successfully married the technical language of clinical psychotherapy and NLP in a very down to earth approach. This approach makes this book very attractive to novice practitioners and people new to these ideas, but it also appeals to a much wider audience interested in the area of clinical psychotherapy and NLP.

    The purpose of the book is to guide the learner through NLP in clinical psychotherapy in a evidence based approach and teach even the novice practitioner the art of NLP as a way of changing behaviour in the context of clinical psychotherapy. The context and the content of this book allow the reader to experiment with the ideas introduced and gain the confidence to explore the various techniques suggested. The use of clinical examples makes the argument accessible and easy to digest.

    In essence, this is a book that speaks to an audience of a varying skill and ability and puts at central place a repertoire of practical skills. The chapters are written in a way that they build on the knowledge and skills discussed in earlier parts of the book. I personally found the book extremely thought provoking, fascinating and challenging at times. I found the case examples particularly helpful, that they were brought in timely and consistently throughout the book and they have helped the reader to consolidate the arguments by bringing to life those ideas and notions discussed in the book. I found the book a useful resource which allows flexible approach to the ideas and concepts it promotes.
  2. The closest thing to a basic beginning manual to NLP.It spells out in the most understandable fashion the basic concepts and tools of a model which could offer people a change to reclaim control of their lives.
  3. This is an introduction to NLP as applied to psychotherapy, which gathers together a wealth of NLP material and presents it in a comprehensive and original format.

    The author tailors NLP techniques to the challenges of clinical healthcare practice and considers how potential barriers to therapeutic communication might be overcome.

    The book is an invaluable resource for all healthcare practitioners. Encourages a range of practitioners to incorporate NLP techniques within clinical practice to help clients make the emotional and behavioural changed needed to support recovery and growth.

    Compared to CBT and CAT relatively little has been written about NLP as applied to healthcare practice, but this might well change in the next 10 years.

    The book is funny and engaging and contains something for both professionals and non-professionals alike. The author makes effective use of stories from the field and his approach is well-balanced in terms of the science and the art of therapeutic communication. To his credit the author does not shy away from difficult issues in healthcare practice.

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