Introduction To NLP Magic

Magic Has Structure

When we don't knowr how something works or how it operates and the principles that drive it, we live "outside the secret" of what seems like magic. Do you recall any moment wherein you suddenly experienced the shock of finding "magic" in your world?

1 low does flipping this switch turn on the lights?

You've got to be kidding! You mean by typing on this keyboard and pushing these sequences I can send e-mails around the globe?

You mean you put this food in the microwave and push these buttons and it will cook the food in seconds?

To an outsider to the secret of the magic, things often seem preposterous, incredible, unbelievable, non-sensical, etc.

How can the world be a globe that turns ¿iround the sun? That's crazy! So how come we don't just all fall off?

What wild flights of imagination! To think that we can build Hying machines. Next thing you'll know—he'll think we can fly to the moon!

As an uninitiate to the secrets, such wild and wonderful ideas and experiences can only seem like "magic." And yet knowing what we know today about gravity, aero-dynamics, the electromagnetic spectrum, artificial intelligence, information processing via parallel processing units, etc., we no longer think of such things as "magic." We view them as just "knoicledge."

Now suppose similarly we learn some of the "secrets" of the magic that occurs in the human brain-and-neurology system? Suppose we know the factors, components, and principles that govern human neurological information processing so thai we gain insight into how the bio-computer of our brain and nervous system works? Suppose we become initiates to how the human internal world that we refer to as "mind," "emotions/' "personality," "genius," etc., works? Further, suppose we discover its structure of "magic" and, as with processes in other sciences, we can identify, specify, and effectively work with those "patterns" of magic? Now just suppose that

When you fully imagine this dream of pushing the limits of scientific discovery into the internal, subjective and phenomenological world of human beings, you have stepped into the world that we call NLP—Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

The "Magical" World Of Human Subjectivity

Actually, the breakthroughs in this domain of human Neuro-Linguistics have surpassed the limits of what many people can even imagine as possible. Similar to the way scientific discoveries in physics, electronics, quantum mechanics, etc., lar exceed even our science fiction imaginations—so NLP has also surpassed what many in the field of human functioning, psychology, and communication ever thought possible in their wildest dreams.

"What incredible discoveries?" you ask.

• Altering a phobic response that has lasted for decades in as little as ten minutes

• Modeling the internal processes (strategies) of "genius" and teaching others to replicate them consciously

• Discovering the components of "consciousness" that make up the "building blocks" of "mind," "emotion," "personality," etc., in order to engage in some human "design engineering"

• Finding and reprogramming the structure of "meaning" in human neurology and processing to eliminate negative and dysfunctional meanings and replacing them with enhancing meaning

• Using hypnotic states to program one's autonomic nervous system processes for health and effectiveness

• Changing limiting and sabotaging beliefs

• Intentionally and consciously evolving human consciousness and skills

• Completely transforming toxic states of self-contempt, loneliness, boredom, despair, seriousness, etc.

Wild dreams? Not any longer. NLP has actually developed models that make such human technologies possible. In the twenty-four years since the first Neuro-Linguistic Programming book appeared (The Structure Of Magic, 1975), incredible discoveries have come to light that encourage us to think of the human neurological system of mind-and-body as a "computing" or information processing system that we can program. I laving specified a paradigm about how human subjectivity works, NLP has made available a set of distinctions that initiates us into the very secrets of what otherwise seem pure "magic." And with these secrets about the structure of magic, we can now direct the processes involved.

In 1977 Richard Bandler and John Grinder revealed what they designated as "The NLP Ten Minute Phobia Cure." They revealed it by doing such. They would work with a person with a phobia and make it such that they didn't have it anymore. The person would walk in and couldn't even talk about the phobic item (whether an elevator, a snake, public speaking, conflict, etc.) without feeling the panic, distress, and fear. Then after a few minutes of running them through a specific pattern—they would feel surprised to find that they couldn't get the panic back. Magic.

Further, what made this "magic" seem even more spectacular was that they only talked to the person. Word magic! Or at least—so it seemed. Yet in spite of the seemingly "magical" nature of this process, the two co-founders of this new domain knew and simply worked with the very structure of the magic.

If in 1977 they had performed such wonders and with no explanatory model, they would have had a single piece of "magic" and no understanding of how it worked, how to teach it, how to replicate it, or how to discover more of the same. But they did have an explanatory model. They also spent several years developing supporting tools, patterns, and processes for their work. They further had legitimizing ideas which they had gathered from such domains as behaviorism, neurology, linguistics, cognitive psychology, general semantics, etc.

This explains why they did not dismiss their "magic" as mere flukes. John and Richard had discovered the structure of the magic. So the transformational technology that began to emerge from cutting-edge models of information processing, cognitive psychology, and linguistics in the early 1970s led them to more discoveries. And since that time, the technology of magic has continued to develop.

The Story

Neuro-Linguistic Programming came together when two men, both outside the field of psychology (therefore without its inherent biases), initiated a tremendous paradigm shift using their model of human functioning. Thomas Kuhn (1962) describes outsiders to a paradigm ¿is those who typically bring about revolutions in science.

One man (Dr John Grinder) came from the field of linguistics and, specifically, transformational grammar. The other man (Richard Bandler), could claim no expertise whatsoever, except he had a natural and wonderful genius. As a young college student he could only lay claim to an innate genius in replicating (or modeling) patterns. In school at Santa Cruz in southern California, Richard studied mathematics and computer programming.

Together they stumbled upon some pieces of genius and excellence in human functioning. It just so happened that Richard met Virginia Satir and then Fritz Perls through working at Science and Behavior Books. The publisher first asked Richard to listen to audio and video tapes of Satir and transcribe them. Later he sent Richard to one of her trainings to run the sound equipment and to record the family system processes.

As he ran the sound system for Virginia, Richard says he would play rock music in the sound booth and listen to Virginia through his earphones. And as he did so, he picked up on seven of Satir's patterns that she used in her work that seemed so magical.

Later he said, "You simply use seven patterns and continually recycle through those seven." She inquired as to what this young twenty-one-year-old kid thought were her seven patterns. He enumerated them—to her surprise. Richard later told me (MH) that she said she knew four of the patterns, but had never articulated the other three, but that he had correctly identified them.

Ihe next genius that Richard met was Fritz Perls. He became acquainted with him via audio- and videotapes. Dr Spitzer (1982) later noted that Richard would sometimes mimic Fritz so well that he caught himself calling Richard "Fritz." About that time, Fritz died. Dr Spitzer, who had an unfinished manuscript of Perls's, asked Richard to work on editing it. Richard selected various teaching films of Fritz and transcribed them, which then became the book Eye Witness to Therapy (1973).

From these experiences, Richard got permission as a senior in college to begin conducting a Gestalt Awareness class at the college, lerrence McClendon (1989) described this in The Wild Days: NIP 1972-1981. In those class sessions Richard "became" a Fritz Perls from having learned Gestalt therapy only by modeling Perls' patterns as gleaned from tapes and books. Dr Grinder entered the scene at this point having become Richard's supervisor lor the course. McClendon writes,

John with his brilliant modeling skills from linguistics in conjunction with Richard who had the experience in behavioural modeling skills and his knowledge in the new contemporary systems of psychotherapy, formed a relationship which later on proved to be exceptional and beneficial to both. (p. 10)

Richard w¿inted to understand more about his own skill in replicating patterns. And inasmuch as the patterns that he replicated with Virginia and Fritz primarily involved language, John provided the linguistic analysis. Reportedly, John promised to enter the adventure if Richard would teach him how he did it.

Richard, having worked as a computer programmer in modeling human tasks, breaking them down, and compiling programming formats, and John, a linguistic expert who modeled the structuring of language, then became engaged in a new form of modeling— modeling human excellence. Consequently, Richard and John set out to pull apart the component pieces that enable the human brain (actually the entire mind-body nervous system) to become patterned. This lead to their asking all kinds of questions:

• What comprises the components of a sequence?

• What initiates the sequence?

• How does the sequence work?

• What distinctions does the brain make?

• How does it sort and code these awarenesses?

• How does language facilitate this process?

Bandler and Grinder began this exploration viewing the human brain as a "computing" information processing unit that can become "programmed" with "programs" for thinking, emoting, behaving, etc. As structure drives and informs language, mathematics, music, etc., so structure also determines and runs human processes. As we can program a computer to do human tasks (e.g., working with numbers, adding, multiplying, word processing, etc.), so similar processes must occur in us at neurological levels.

After all, some people have the ability to perform high level math. Others, (e.g., Perls, Satir) have a "program" to use language eloquently and "magically" to bring about significant personality chiinges.

How do these "programs" work? What comprises their component parts? What creates the programming? How does one change such programming? How can one train one's conscious and unconscious mind to develop the necessary intuitions to run such programs?

The paradigm shift that Bandler and Grinder initiated grew out of their collaboration. Eventually the results of this became the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Immediately upon studying Perls and Satir, they published two volumes of The

Structure Of Magic—books about therapy and language. Virginia Satir and anthropologist Gregory Bateson wrote the introductions. These revolutionary books established the foundation of the technologies that formed the field of NLP—the field of modeling human excellence.

As they brought those books to press, Bateson introduced them to another magician, hypnotist Milton Erickson, M.I). Bandler and Grinder immediately modeled Erickson's marvelous language and non-language patterns that formed his skills in hypnosis. The next year (1976), they produced two volumes of the hypnotic-techniques of Erickson (Patterns, Vol. I & //, 1975,1976) which led to finer distinctions in the NLP model.

There you have it. Using the formulations of linguistics, General Semantics, and cognitive psychology (especially George Miller, Karl Pribram, Eugene C.alanter, etc.), Bandler and Grinder modeled the models that thev found in such diverse fields as Gestalt, Family Systems, and liricksonian hypnosis. They didn't create a new field of psychology. Instead, they created a meta-field. Through modeling, they sought to discover and understand the patterns and structures that work.

Each of these highly skilled wizards of communication facilitate wonderful life-changes when they talk with clients. What did they have in common? They adopted an entirely new focus—one never before used in psychology. Namely, outside of the "theories" that explain why it works, what processes describe how it works?

This summarizes the heart and passion of NLP: modeling, searching for processes and the "how," and disdaining the "why," and focusing on experiences of excellence rather than on cases of pathologxj.

Psychology for a hundred years had operated from a completely different orientation. Based on the medical model and physical "hard" science model, it Ux)ked at pathology (at distortions, perversions, pain, distress, etc.), seeking to understand the source ("where did this come from?", "why is this so?"), and wanting empirical, external proof.

The paradigm shift completely uprooted the old formulations in psychology. The "why" question which had focused clinicians entirely on knowing the source of a difficulty, in one fell swoop became irrelevant. Suddenly a new focus emerged: "How" does it work? Empiricism, modernism, and positivism gave way to postmodernism, phenomenology, and constructionism. The basic question changed from "What 'is' the real nature of this problem?" to "How has this person constructed his or her felt and experienced reality?"

The Patterns Of NLP

Since those early days, the field of NLP has generated trainings, workshops, conferences, journals and publications, thereby giving birth to change patterns. I hese gave people a way to "rim their own brains" in new, creative, ¿md productive ways. Some of these patterns radically transform a person from feeling caught up in immense pain and distress to feeling free to live a more sane and empowering life. Some patterns delineate the secrets of genius so that "ordinary" people can learn to do new and marvelous things. Some patterns simply identify the component pieces and sequences of basic living strategics—how to speak up assertively, how to eat sensibly, how to negotiate in business contexts, how to parent with loving firmness, how to read more intelligently, how to spell, etc.

From the mundane to the sublime then, NLP patterns give stef>-by-step instructions for "how to run our ozvn brains." They provide us with knowledge about how to "program" our organic and neural bio-computers to create highly efficient experiences.

This means that while NLP has lots of psychotherapeutic applications, NLP does not merely describe another psychology. It begiin there. Having modeled two psychotherapists ¿md two schools of psychology—it started in the field of therapy. Yet the co-founders, and those who followed, did not keep it there. NHLP describes a much larger field, namely, the field of human subjectivity, and even more pointedly—the field of human excellence.

Part of the radical paradigm shift that NLP brought to psychology has to do with its focus. Prior to the cognitive psychology revolution in the 1960s, psychology had primarily focused on understanding the "why" questions:

• What causes people to get so messed up?

• Where does human psychopathology come from?

In response different psychologies invented different reasons and explanations: Freud used various Greek mythologies to explain the sexual drives which he held responsible for most problems; Adler explained the "why" in terms of inferiority; Jung explained the "why" in terms of the collective unconscious, and so it went. Almost everywhere therapists focused on the source, assuming that people had to understand the "why" to get better.

Bandler and Grinder challenged that assumption calling it "psycho-archeology" and "psycho-theology." Coming from the Cognitive-Behavioral models of Korzybski (1941/1994), Chomsky (1956), Miller (1956, 1960), the semi-cognitive, existential, and humanistic model of Perls, the systems model of Satir, the cybernetic model of Bateson (1972), etc., they introduced a new focus. As inheritors of the Information Processing models of the cognitive revolution and computer science era, they focused on the "how" questions:

• How does this or that brain work?

• How do "minds" get programmed in the first place?

• What comprise the components of information processing in the mind?

• What representational components comprise "the difference that make a difference?"

• How does the programming work?

• How can we interrupt, alter, and/or transform the programming?

The Structure Of "Subjectivity"

NLP, as a modeling field of human subjectivity and excellence, focuses primarily on how things work:

• How does language work?

• How do human "minds" function?

• How many styles of "thinking," processing, representing, sorting, etc., can we find?

• What difference do different processing styles make?

• What sequence of thoughts, representations, etc., create a human program?

• How can we run or program a brain to run more efficiently?

Writh this emphasis on structure—the early developers of NLP began inventing and constructing all sorts of "patterns" for changing behaviors. These structured processes operate in human experience (consciousness, representation, feeling, etc.) as human technologies for change and excellence.

In that sense, these transformational patterns offer to the social sciences (communication, relationship, thought-emotion, states of consciousness, etc.) technological advances that we have seen for several hundred years in the hard sciences.

Transformational Patterns—

"Magical Incantations For Growth And Excellence"

We offer this brief synopsis of NLP in order to hook your interest and capture your fascination in this model and its patterns (which we refer to as "techniques" or "technologies"). Since so many patterns have emerged, and so many more will emerge, we have focused on the original patterns that empower people to "run their own brains" as they construct subjective "realities" that will enhance their actual functioning. We have here written out and condensed those patterns to give you the know-how knowledge, hence the step-by-step format.

No single volume to date has collected all of these NLP patterns in this kind of format. We have written this book to fill that void. Previously, one would have had to purchase dozens upon dozens of books to locate these patterns. Typically a person can find three or four patterns in a given book, although some may have ten or fifteen patterns. Books have even been written that only have one pattern in them! We have usually referenced works that continue more in-depth presentation of a given pattern. We have also sought to provide, for those new to NLP, a picture of the exten-siveness of this empowering and paradigm-shifting model.

You will find in the next chapter a very brief overview of the essentials of the NLP Model. We have presented this so that even a neophyte to this field can immediately begin using these know how patterns. We trust also that this collecting and organizing of patterns will assist the NLP veteran by providing an easy access to the patterns. Perhaps this will, in turn, stimulate additional creativity as practitioners use patterns, or component pieces of patterns, to create new arrangements.

From the beginning, the NLP founders recognized that this model functions not only remediallv, but also generative!}/. Using both the model and its technologies, NLP offers processes for creating new and unthought-of patterns of excellence. This enables us to develop and evolve more and more ¿is we actualize more of the human potentials available. May that be forever true of your adventure into this domain!


As a model for "running your own brain," Neuro-Linguistic Programming offers not only a theoretical model, but also actual patterns for doing so. These human technologies for change, transformation, and renewal enable us to examine the maps that we have built as we have moved through life, and to update those that don't serve us well. In the pages to come, we will introduce this positive, solution-oriented model and then articulate cutting-edge technologies of the mind-body for becoming increasingly resourceful in the way we live our lives.

Chapter 2

The NLP Model

Hypnosis Plain and Simple

Hypnosis Plain and Simple

These techniques will work for stage hypnosis or hypnotherapy, however, they are taught here for information purposes only. After reading this book you will have the knowledge and ability necessary to hypnotise people, but please do not practice hypnosis without first undergoing more intensive study.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment