A New Model of Therapy

By: Richard Bolstad


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 154mm
Pages : 232
ISBN : 9781899836840
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2002

The RESOLVE framework integrates NLP’s effective brief therapy and the personal encounter of psychotherapy. Using techniques that access the deeper structure of the brain for fast, permanent change, RESOLVE demonstrates how to:

  • identify the techniques that work for each client
  • create a relationship that empowers
  • introduce changes in life-approach
  • access inner skills, strategies and strengths
  • ensure that change occurs in the deeper brain structures where older patterns of behaviour were first laid down
  • recognise stages in the therapeutic process, and respond most effectively for that stage.

Richard gives examples from his work with PTSD in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and with addictions, depression, anxiety conditions, personality disorders and psychoses in clinical practice in New Zealand and elsewhere. His framework is wonderfully clear and easy to follow for all those wishing to make fundamental life changes quickly and effectively.


Picture for author Richard Bolstad

Richard Bolstad

Richard Bolstad PhD is a certified trainer with the International NLP Association. He has a doctorate in clinical hypnotherapy and is a member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists. He has taught the RESOLVE model to psychotherapists and counsellors around the world. He is a co-author of the acclaimed book, The Structure of Personality.

The NLP Internationally Award was presented to Richard Bolstad at the NLP awards ceremony 2017.


  1. Those of us who practise and teach NLP often encounter frustration when people ask us for proof of its credibility. Everyone can point to statistical evidence regarding Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for instance, but not for NLP in spite of its often more profound results. And then along comes Richard Bolstad with his extremely well-researched book, “Resolve”. Richard Bolstad is an authority on the therapeutic uses of NLP, and during the Balkans war, he used his NLP skills in testing circumstances to instruct helpers working with Bosnian and Kosovar survivors. In just two days, he and his colleagues were able to teach local psychiatrists and hospital staff NLP skills that proved extremely effective in helping victims get over trauma in record time.

    The book provides excellent connections between NLP and other therapeutic ways of making change. For each area of NLP, Bolstad provides practical case studies and then sets the NLP model in the context of other models of psychotherapy. We often recommend it to our students who want to verify that NLP “works', as it provides a scientific basis for the NLP models we use.
  2. A useful guide for those who new to NLP and experienced practitioners who want to develop their skills.

    This accessible text is particularly useful for healthcare practitioners who want to know more about how persuasion can change attitudes.

    The book provides a comprehensive guide to the application of NLP within psychotherapy and powerfully describes potential positive outcomes for both therapists and service users.

    Chapter 2 specifically deals with how emotional states effect the brain and Chapter 3 focuses upon intervention choices and how to change submodalities. Chapter 4 considers specific disorders and acknowledges the difficulty of helping complex cases.

    The author defines difficult and technical terms such as -˜trancework' and -˜parts integration' and provides a straightforward account of the principles underlying NLP.

    The second half of the book is dedicated to exploring -˜choices for change' and using advanced NLP techniques within established theoretical models such as Motivational Interviewing.

    A particular strength of the book is that it makes generous use of case transcripts to demonstrate the practical application of NLP techniques in counselling and psychotherapy.

    Overall this is a very accessible text, which clearly explains the subject and is highly recommended for clinicians' students and laypeople alike.
  3. Drawing on his work with victims of post-traumatic stress in the city of Sarajevo in the late 1990s, Bolstad, a certified trainer with the International NLP Association and a member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists, details the RESOLVE model used in change work based on neurolinguistic programing (NLP). Combining theoretical background with practical techniques for integrating NLP with psychotherapy, the book will be useful for trained NLP practitioners, psychotherapists trained in other models, and those new to the field of personal change.
  4. This book is like your video manual but easier to understand! Although it is primarily about the application and methodology of NLP, the R.E.S.O.L.V.E. formula lends itself equally well to other types of therapy, including Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy. It sets out a seven-step plan for conducting a therapy session, each step being headed by the letters of the title in order. By following the steps in the correct order, a satisfactory conclusion for the client can usually be reached.

    The author illustrates the steps in the Resolve formula with several very interesting case studies, demonstrating the efficacy for this rather elegant strategy. The book will be very helpful for beginning therapists and for seasoned practitioners, a useful reminder of techniques perhaps left behind when newer ones came into use.
  5. Bolstad's RESOLVE model finds its roots in NLP as a therapeutic method with a presuppositional basis. It is a model for “understanding the steps behind the successful use of NLP changework.” This book will find an audience in NLP practitioners who want to approach their work systematically, and psychotherapists who seek an introduction to NLP and want to investigate it as a complement to other therapeutic approaches.


    RESOLVE is an acronym for a seven-step process that describes a therapeutic session, based on NLP presuppositions and NLP interventions. The steps are:
    For those not versed in NLP, Bolstad includes an excellent chapter called “User's Manual for the Brain” in which he covers the NLP constructs of subjectivity. The discussion includes sensory-based experience, perceptual processes, internal representations and maps, neurology, modalities and submodalities, eye accessing, strategies, the TOTE model, meta-states and state dependence.

    • R: Resourceful state for the practitioner. The practitioner accesses a state of confidence and clarity of purpose, in keeping with NLP assumptions

    • E: Establish rapport with the client

    • S Specify a well-formed outcome

    • O: Open up the client's model of the world and begin to expand/ reframe the client's “map.”

    • L: Lead with NLP “change techniques.”

    • V: Verify that the change has taken place

    • E: Ecological exit process

    Next, Bolstad sorts NLP interventions into ten categories that constitute the"L” (change techniques) in the RESOLVE model. The categories are:
    Bolstad explains each intervention in detail, along with findings from research and examples from case studies to emphasize his points. This chapter is a good starting point for beginners in NLP, as well as a review for seasoned practitioners.

    • Anchoring

    • Installing a new strategy

    • Changing submodalities

    • Trancework

    • Parts integration

    • Time-line changes

    • Linguistic reframing

    • Changing interpersonal dynamics

    • Changing physiological contexts

    • Tasking (giving the client an at-home assignment)

    Bolstad reviews several brief therapy models that are similar to the RESOLVE model, characterizing psychotherapy as a step-by-step process. “Self-help” studies (interviews with people who have helped themselves through some difficulty without therapy) also show that individuals faced with a major behavioral problem or emotional challenge move through various stages to achieve a favorable outcome.

    Bolstad links the RESOLVE model to the Motivational Interviewing method (developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1994). It is a change strategy that does not focus on the content or origins of the problem. Instead, it guides the individual through the stages that motivate people to change on their own. These stages are: contemplation, determination, action, maintenance, and recycling through the process until an exit point is reached and the new behaviors are lasting and permanent. What Bolstad is saying here is that the RESOLVE model mirrors natural and intuitive human change processes.

    Bolstad draws examples from Milton Erickson, Richard Bandler, and his own work with clients, to fully explain the intricacies of the RESOLVE model. He demonstrates hovv NLP interventions, in the RESOLVE framework can be applied, with variations and adaptations to a number of clinical problems/ diagnoses such as depression. anxiety, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, addictions and health issues.


    In RESOLVE, Bolstad gives NLP practitioners a framework for applying NLP in the therapeutic context in ways that are elegant, structured, solution-oriented, and respectful of the client as an individual. In the examples in this book, the RESOLVE model refers to a single “piece” (my word) of therapy - a single intervention against a stated outcome. From a case management standpoint, and given that therapists often schedule client sessions by the hour, it could be useful to add that this “piece” of therapy might span more than one session, depending on the pace at which the practitioner and client work through the process. I have had the experience where defining the outcome alone can take an entire clinical hour. Additionally, most practitioners will find that, for clients who present global issues that span many contexts, it is useful to “chunk down” the presenting problem into workable components, addressed over a number of sessions, each following the RESOLVE model as a template.

    I enjoyed reading this book. As someone who has studied and practiced NLP for well over a decade, I found little that was startlingly new in this book. What I like, however, is the way in which Bolstad pulls together the various aspects of NLP into a coherent whole that results in an excellent model for conducting therapy. Bolstad creates his text through an artful blending of anecdotal and empirically-based information. He does an admirable job of crediting and building on the work of several others who have developed, influenced, and advanced NLP. RESOLVE is worthwhile reading and a good, solid textbook for psychotherapists who want to learn more about the clinical applications and methods of NLP.

    Finally, Bolstad, through this book, impresses me as a man who believes passionately in his profession, his clients, and the healing and motivating powers of NLP when applied with integrity and authenticity. Lest one think that the RESOLVE approach is mechanistic, I will end this review with a quote from his book that, for me, expresses Bolstad's passion.

    How do we summarise this attitude, which is at the heart of NLP? There is a word in English to describe helping, which is based on:
    That word is “love.” The attitude of love is more important than the specific skills that the NLP practitioner draws on. Love cannot be faked therapeutically . . . Love is not merely rapport, though effective rapport is an expression of love. Love is not merely the ability to focus on positive aspects of a client's exploration, though that too is an expression of love. Love is more than just an attitude, more than just a strategy or a Meta-program. It is the reason why most of us came into the therapy field in the first place. I begin every therapy session by remembering that. (p. 124)

    • Respecting the other person's model of the world

    • Seeking change that will be good for them as a whole human being

    • Believing that the person has basic good intentions

    • Believing that the person has the resources they need to change

  6. Remember those heady days of your Practitioner Certification: the excitement of reaching new heights above your time line, the mischief of metamodelling others, the profundity of parts integration, the ease of trauma cure, the magic of submodality shifts. It all happened for me in January 1993. Even then Richard Bolstad was presenting superb NLP trainings, and I remember noticing the care he took in reminding trainees of the limitations of just becoming good NLP technicians. His concern seemed to be that new practitioners find a way of consulting that was precise, professional, ethical, and effective. His challenge as an NLP trainer was to provide something more than NLP; a sort of meta-framework out of which NLP interventions could be best delivered. And his solution? RESOLVE.

    So if you are asking the question, “What is at the heart of NLP consulting?” then RESOLVE is a book that goes a long way towards providing a satisfying answer. In this text the author draws together the best of practice and research into a readable and inspiring collection of the values, beliefs, and practices that seem to best help the clients that come to us for help.

    While Richard writes from an NLP perspective, he also has the advantage of being trained in several modalities, and speaks from decades of experience as a counselor, psychotherapist, consultant, hypnotherapist, supervisor and NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He situates his claims within the matrix of professional and ethical issues that surround therapy, supervision, counsellor education, and NLP consulting. In this book you will find neither overblown claims about the efficacy of NLP nor promotion of any therapeutic pyrotechnics. What initially impresses the reader is the amazing breadth of research, and the number of case studies the author draws on to illustrate the RESOLVE approach to NLP consulting.

    This book serves several purposes. Firstly, it clearly explains a model for the effective delivery of NLP change processes. After its initial construction with the help of Bryan Royds and Margot Hamblett, Richard developed the model over several years of practice and research. Drawing on outcome research and case studies, he has applied the favoured tool of NLP, modeling, to demonstrate what “successful self-changers do that much of therapy fails to replicate” for those who do seek our professional help. RESOLVE is not actually NLP but a way of applying an NLP approach; it is an open and robust framework that combines in a logical sequence the best of what we do in consulting, regardless of training or theoretical orientation.

    Secondly, the book provides scientific and neurological explanations that point to a useful map for helping clients enjoy life more fully. Knowing how to run one's brain, or help someone run theirs, presupposes some knowledge of how the brain functions. Chapter 2, “A User's Manual for the Brain”, is a sort of Neurology 101 for practitioners, in which the author draws on a wealth of research-based detail to support his assertion that “Helping someone change involves helping them access useful neural networks at the times they need them.”

    A third function of the book is to provide a range of choices that allow maximum flexibility in helping people attain their well formed goals. ln chapter 3, for example, ten types of NLP interventions are presented. Each is clearly explained, and illustrated by a case study. However, the real genius of this section lies in what might be called its modalic translation. Rather than defend the integrity of NLP Richard looks for commonalities with other styles of therapy. For each category of NLP intervention, he also provides an additional section explaining how it would be understood and practiced in a range of therapies. Richard does his readers the immense service of translating the Ianguage of NLP into the many tongues that speak in the field of therapy, including Freudian psychoanalysis, Transactional Analysis, Jungian analytical psychology, psychodrama, client-centred Rogerian counselling, Psychosynthesis, Rational Emotive Therapy, hypnotherapy, and others.

    There are probably very few therapists left who work solely and purely out of one model. The process of dialogue between practitioners trained in different approaches has produced a sort of cross-pollination within the field of therapy. Perhaps the greatest purpose this book serves is to demonstrate that rather than choosing from an eclectic collection of approaches, the RESOLVE model provides a powerfully integrated way to apply effective change processes. Chapter 4 shows how this can be done by selecting change techniques that match clients' individual preferences for processing information, and introducing those change processes in a way that both respects and matches how people most successfully internalize ways of responding to their world. Each stage of the RESOLVE framework is explained and demonstrated by a case example. Richard also continues the task of translation by showing that the approach that has proven most useful for promoting effective change for clients is the consulting approach, and that the modalities that come closest to this approach when outcomes are actually checked, tend to be modalities such as Solution-Focused Therapy, Brief Motivational Interviewing, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and NLP.

    As Joseph O'Connor points out in his foreword to RESOLVE, the book also serves a secondary purpose of providing an excellent introduction to NLP, one “that will leave you with a deeper knowledge of NLP.” High praise from the coauthor of the NLP classic, Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The big ideas behind an NLP approach are explained; those useful presuppositions to hold when helping oneself or others. For both students and teachers involved in counsellor education, for supervisors of practitioners with NLP training, and for therapists and clients generally, this book is worth reading, and having as a handy reference.

    For me, one of the great features of this book is its clear statement of what lies at the heart of effective consulting - LOVE. Here is a therapist who openly asserts, “The attitude of love is more important than the specific skills that the NLP practitioner draws on.” I believe this to be true for all helping professions, and it's refreshing to see it in print. What Richard dares to suggest is that even the elegance and power of his RESOLVE rnodel, without love, remains merely process, and that it is love that transforms technique and process into efficacy.

    I found this handy sized paperback an easily readable book. The author achieves a clear and fluent register without technical and academic clutter. Yet the text is amazingly well referenced, in APA format, technical terms are well explained with examples to illustrate, and the bibliography runs into fifteen pages. There are helpful headings, bulletpoint lists; a handful of diagrams, and very succinct chapter-end summaries. Readers may wonder why a book published in 2002 does not source the current edition of the DSM-lV rather than its 1994 ancestor. This may well have to do with the time the publishers took to get RESOLVE into the bookshops, rather than any shortfall on the author's part.

    The title RESOLVE has several layers of meaning, delightfully explored in Joseph O'Connor's foreword. There were a couple of curiosities about the subtitle that attracted my attention. Firstly, as a metaframework out of which NLP practitioners and others can practice effectively, RESOLVE is more a new model for therapy, rather than yet another model of therapy. Secondly, Richard indicates his preference for consulting as the most effective approach to working with clients. Like some of his earlier theoretical influencers, such as Thomas Gordon and Robert Carkhuff, he opts strongly for language that signals a shift from the older dependency producing models of “therapy” and “treatment” to “a model in which the practitioner assists the client to change and expand their choices.” This raises the question why he would want to use the word “therapy” in the title of his book. The only reason I can think of to explain this incongruity is that it was a marketing decision. In the nomenclature of the helping professions, no widely accepted term has yet emerged to replace the term “therapy”. Perhaps retaining the word in the title means that the book will have the widest appeal to those in the helping professions.

    In the field of NLP consulting, and for other practices such as counselling and psychotherapy. I consider RESOLVE the most significant publication this century. It is written with outstanding clarity and precision, uncompromised by the distraction of other coauthors: the best of Bolstad yet. If you are the sort of NLP practitioner who is looking for ways to elevate your consulting work to new levels of excellence, then this book will certainly stiffen your resolve.

    Te Ruru, an NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer, lives on the largest of a collection of South Pacific islands that constitute the nation of Aotearoa, also known as New Zea!and. He works in private practice as a personal consultant and educator.
  7. A must read for any professional trainer or psychotherapist who wants to stay informed.

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