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Neuro-Linguistic Programming

The early years of Neuro-linguistic programming

To my knowledge there is no definitive history of neuro-linguistic programming. There are many stories told by some of the earlier developers and top trainers who trained with them. What follows is a general page on what NLP is and how it came to be developed.

Back in the 1970s Richard Bandler and John Grinder got together and did some research into the communication patterns of three of the top therapists in the world - Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson. John Grinder had a PhD in Linguistics, while Richard Bandler was a student of his and brilliant mathematician and computer programmer.

Prior to their meeting Richard Bandler had been studying the works of Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir. After they met they became involved in studying the language patterns and general communication techniques of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson. They published two books based on this work, The Structure of Magic I and The Structure of Magic II. They also published the hypnotic patterns of Milton H. Erickson and Frogs Into Princes.

It was this work that formed the field of neuro-linguistic programming. You may find several different descriptions of what it is, but what it boils down to is an exceptional model of communication.

NLP today

Neuro-linguistic programming has evolved over the years from this initial work. It really is a model of communication with broad applications. NLP has been used therapeutically, which is the area it probably receives the greatest criticism.

Neuro-linguistic programming has made its greatest contribution in the business, personal development field, and athletics. The actual process of modeling experts is an untapped field made possible by the work of Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and others. There have been other offshoots or repackaging of NLP.

Tony Robbins is probably one of the most influential people in terms of bringin neuro-linguistic programming to the general public. His book Unlimited Power is far more readable and became a far more popular book than any of the more academic books written by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Tony eventually repackaged what he was marketing and in his second book, Awaken the Giant Within, began to refer to Neuro-Associative Conditioning, which is an updated and repackaged version of NLP.

Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall's contribution was the book Time-Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. Like neuro-linguistic programming, time-line therapyTM Techniques (TLT) has not been extremely well-received in mainstream psychology circles, but does offer tremendous potential. It will need continued documentation and experimentation, as does NLP itself in the area of therapy.

The most popular use of neuro-linguistic programming is in the sales and business community where the communication techniques taught have tremendous financial value - increased sales means increased earnings. Athletics would be another potential lucrative market for the use of NLP as would education.

There is inceasing interest in NLP and TLT applications in the health field. Tad James has written articles about TLT applications to helping cancer patients. There are also many connections with the works of Deepak Chopra.

NLP, TLT, and Concerns of Christians

There are those in the Christian community who shun NLP, TLT, and hypnosis. There are valid reasons that should not be ignored if you are a christian.

Many of the people involved in these areas are much more involved in New Age spiritual practices. Tad James for instance teaches courses on the ancient Hawaiin spiritual practices of Huna.

These fields are also closely tied to the notion that humans can create their own destiny (Tony Robbins offers such courses) or program their future (Tad James has a course entitled The Secret of Creating Your Future), which many Christians have an issue with.

The communications model that has become known as NLP has many applications and some very powerful and legitimate ones for anyone who communicates with others for a living - pastors, teachers, sales and marketing professions, advertisers, lawyers, and politicians all come to mind.

If you are a Christian learning these communication techniques does not mean you are entering a humanistic, new age field. You will want to carefully select a trainer and be clear on what your purpose is in learning these skills. You will want to maintain a discerning heart.

Other NLP Resources

Richard Bandler's Site

John Grinder's Site

Robert Dilts

Tad James

Tony Robbins

Judith Delozier

NLP Certification

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