Rubin Battino MS
Wonder, excitement, passion, fascination, discovery, creation, revelations - some forty years after the origins of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) two of the three originators and seven of the early contributors write about the beginnings of a method of doings psychotherapy and modelling behavior. I must admit that I read this book in just a few days because the saga of this seminal approach kept me rivetted. Most people (including me) believed that NLP was developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. It turns out that Bandler and Pucelik, who were students at the innovative Kresge College of the University of California at Santa Cruz, got fascinated by Fritz Perls's Gestalt Therapy and started running groups based on Perls's work. Bandler invited John Grinder, a faculty member specializing in linguistics and someone he knew, to sit in on a group session and use his linguistic knowledge to model and make sense out of what was occurring in the group. Grinder was “hooked” in the first group he attended, and this was the beginning of a systematic study of communication and modelling of human behavior in which all three were major contributors.
In addition to those cited above, the other chapter contributors are: Terry McClendon, Judith deLozier, David R. Wick, Byron Lewis, Joyce Michaelson, Stephen Gilligan, James Eicher, and Robert Dilts. Since memory is malleable and not perfect, we are treated to differing perspectives on the origins of NLP and the contributions of all of those involved. There is general agreement on the basic story. In the ferment at Kresge College in the late 60s and early 70s creativity and experimentation were in the forefront. The word “experimentation” needs to be emphasized for they were endlessly experimenting with procedures and models, refining them, and debating what they were doing. Contributions were also made by the dozens of group members.
The most significant contributor and mentor and guide was Gregory Bateson whose ideas and encouragement permeated the work of the three founders. Initially, the work of Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir were modelled. The third genius whose work influenced NLP was Milton Erickson. Bateson's introduction of the Santa Cruz group to Erickson moved them onto another and seemingly contradictory avenue. Their original Meta Model was linguistically based and quite structured. However, they found that Erickson was getting remarkable results by “violating” most of the Meta Model's precepts! Thus, the two structure of magic books on the Meta Model were followed by two books introducing the “patterns” of Erickson's work. The originators were able to integrate these two apparently opposing approaches.
Grinder added several informative commentaries on specific contributors, and also an excellent summarizing commentary. The prologue, and especially the epilogue, by Bostic-St. Clair provides a most useful perspective on the origins of NLP. The dedication by the editors of the book is to Richard Bandler who chose not to contribute to it. Although it is perfectly clear that the genius of Perls, Satir, and Erickson inspired and contributed to what became NLP, it is also clear that the three originators and their many and diverse colleagues added their own genius to NLP which permanently changed psychotherapy. I know that it had such an effect on me.

This book entrances and intrigues and fascinates and illuminates. Read it!
Guest | 27/08/2013 01:00
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