"The changing that people do because others make them costs an organisation a very dear price and is much shorter lived than the changing people do because they have first changed their minds"
There are so many web sites and so many books now on offer, all claimiing to be about "NLP" that unless you are already knowledgable about the subject it can be hard to tell what's genuine from the half-truths, the codswallop and the downright "anti NLP"* offerings.
NLP is a Process
Despite the multitude of definitions you may come across, NLP is in fact very easy to describe. Because NLP itself is simply a particular form of modeling which enables the modeler to:
As you can see, everything here is a process - Identifying, coding, "teaching". It is the modeling process which is NLP, not the model itself.
Note: A full description of the NLP modeling technique is included in FAQ #24 on this site.
Learning without Stress
The origin of the NLP process was not, as is popularly believed, a driving curiosity about the way some people seem to be so much better at performing certain tasks than other people engaged in the same activity.
In fact it was by way of being an accident, or two accidents, to be precise.
Working initially with fellow student Frank Pucilik, Bandler developed an ability to replicate Perls' therapeutic results.
If it seems a little strange to say that Bandler and Pucelik were doing something without knowing what they were doing it is worth noting that in the 21st century we would say that they were very probably making excellent use of their mirror neurons. But in the early 1970s these mirror neurons were yet to be identified, described and understood . There had been a certain amount of research into the "monkey see, monkey do" phenomena - especially by Albert Bandura. But what Bandler and Pucelik were experiencing went way beyond simple conscious observation and imitation.
In Bandler's case he is said to have modelled Virginia Satir without any corresponding intention, and with only a bare minimum of direct observation. What actually happened is that he was reading and listening to music by groups such as Pink Floyd at the same time that he was monitoring the sound and recording systems whilst satir was running training sessions. Yet Bandler was able to replicate Satir's behaviour with such accuracy that he could come up with a Satir-like solution to a a training exercise situation unlike any situation he had actually seen her dealing with.
And that's where John Grinder, the third of the co-creators of the FoNLP came in. His job, initially, was to get a conscious understanding of what Bandler and Pucelik were actually doing (at a detailed level) to get these results. And then to codify (create an accurate description of) that information so that it could be passed on in a coherent manner.
(As the result of some kind of dispute, the details of which are still not entirely clear, Frank Pucilik appears to have played an increasingly minor role in the development of the FoNLP after Bandler and Grinder started working together. His name does not appear on any of the Bandler and Grinder generated books) and he seems to have dropped out of the picture completely by the end of 1978. Apart from co-authoring Magic Demystified (an introduction to NLP), with Byron Lewis, Pucelik seems to have taken little or no part in the "Story of NLP" after that time.)
The FoNLP - some Core Presuppositions
It is sometimes said that NLP has no guiding "theory," and therefore cannot be validated or invalidated.
* The phrase "if they meet certain pre-requisites" means: If they have the relevant mental and physical capabilities, if they are prepared to put in the time and effort needed to develop the relevant skills, and so on. For example, you might teach someone a model of the skills of an expert mountaineer to someone who has an unresolved fear of heights. In this way they can find out what to do, and how to do it, but until they overcome their vertigo the knowledge isn't going to be of any practical use to them.
NLP and Anti NLP
Anti-NLP is, in effect, simply any technique which is alleged to be part of NLP, but which utilises an approach/techniques/a mindset which actually contradict certain essential elements of the genuine FoNLP. To understand this more clearly we need to set out a short list of propositions which seem to be essential to the authentic NLP process and it's associated techniques and methodologies:
(* The "observer effect", suggested by Heisenberg's "Uncertainty Principle", says that the observer of an event cannot be neutral, and that the act of observing directly influences what happens - from the observer's point of view. It explains why several people can have differing views about a given event and yet all be "right".)
By contrast, Anti-NLP techniques exhibit some combination of the following features:
In other words, in contrast to the mindset of facilitation and empowerment which characterises genuine NLP, the mentality behind Anti-NLP is that of a micro-managing autocrat.
An Anti-NLP ideas and techniques, on the other hand, can often be identified by an almost compulsive emphasis on working at a markedly small chunk level (getting involved with details about details, as one person described it), and in a highly procedural, sequential manner - Step 1 followed by Step 2 followed by Step 3 ... etc.
Don't Know, Don't Care.
Sad to say, it is exactly the negative features of Anti-NLP which make it so attractive to some people. "Give control to the client"-style thinking may have motivated the co-creators of NLP, but there are plenty of other people ready to jump on the NLP bandwagon who don't give a tuppenny damn for that point of view.
Indeed, what strikes me after years of being on various online chat groups is the regularity with which newcomers appear with questions about how they can, in some sense or other, control the people around them. Managers who want to make their subordinates behave/perform "better", boyfriends and girl friends, husbands and wives who want to make their partners behave the "right" way, etc.
And what characterises almost all of these questions is that the questioner is entirely in "down time" mode. That is to say, they don't think about the people they want to control except from their own totally inward looking perspective.
"... she doesn't do what she should. I don't understand and I don't know how to handle her."
Taken from a genuine online enquiry, are typical of this kind of question.