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What Is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a way of understanding the neurology of our experiences (such as memories, emotions or responses.)  Our brains store information in patterns made by our five senses.  By understanding this neurology we can change or enhance those patterns if we wish to.

"NLP cannot be dismissed as just another hustle.  Its theoretical underpinnings represent an ambitious attempt to codify and synthesize the insights of linguistics, body language, and the study of communication systems."

-- Psychology Today

A History of NLP

NLP was created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.  John and Richard met at the University of California at Santa Cruz in the early 1970s.  One is a linguist and one is a mathematician.  When Bandler and Grinder met they had both studied Gestalt Therapy with its founder, Fritz Perls.  They became friends as a result of their fascination with Gestalt Therapy. Together they studied the work of three great therapists: Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls.

Virginia Satir was the primary developer of Family therapy.  She developed Family Systems Theory (the work that John Bradshaw has popularized) and was famous for her incredible skill and effectiveness as a therapist.  The beliefs and presuppositions she held were part of what made her the great therapist she was.  Some of these beliefs were adopted into NLP from the very beginning and have helped make NLP the effective tool it has become.  Part of the NLP philosophy includes the Presuppositions of NLP; a set of beliefs that we hold to be true in every circumstance.  The first presupposition of NLP is that "Behind every behavior is a positive intention."  This was Virginia Satir's philosophy for her work with her clients.  John and Richard observed Satir's work in minute detail.  Some the first NLP processes identified the steps that Virginia Satir followed to create the incredible results she achieved with clients.

Bandler and Grinder then studied the work of Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy.  He was brilliant in his work with trance states.  Milton Erickson was a medical doctor as well as a hypnotherapist.  Much of his work was with people with severe physical and mental illnesses and disabilities.  He successfully guided people towards the changes they wanted in a way that was quite amazing.  John and Richard worked with Dr. Erickson and watched hours and hours of video tapes of him working with clients.  They played back small segments of tape over and over to determine the exact steps that he used to create the successes he achieved with his patients.

The combined learnings from the work of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson came together through Richard Bandler and John Grinder as the beginning of a new field that they called Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

The early years of NLP were an exciting time of discovery.  Together Richard and John observed the dynamics of unconscious communication, the influence of language patterns, the structure of belief and identity, and the neurological patterns we use for storing information.  They experimented with the processes and procedures they created and discovered that these were effective in helping people to make the changes they wished to make with surprising, and sometimes instant, results.  NLP became known as a new field of personal growth that offered people the possibility of working through difficult problems in a short amount of time.  It was then that NLP attracted a wonderful group of highly intelligent and dedicated people to study and advance the field of NLP to the stature it has today.  NLP was initially developed with Richard and John by Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, and Robert Dilts.  Judith and Robert currently offer some of the best NLP training available through NLP University.

The field of NLP has created a community of some of the most brilliant, creative, reputable and caring people around the world holding very high ideals of integrity, love, and high purpose.

My Practitioner and Master Practitioner training was designed and lead by many of the best NLP trainers in the world through NLP Comprehensive in Colorado.  I received this training at the NLP Institute Of California several years ago when it was affiliated with NLP Comprehensive.  I received my NLP Health Certification training at NLP University at UC Santa Cruz.  I highly recommend NLP University in Santa Cruz, California and NLP Comprehensive in Boulder, Colorado as two of the best NLP training institutes in the world.  NLP Comprehensive is a great resource for NLP materials such as books, tapes and videos.  See my Links page for links to their web sites.

People often ask me for a recommendation of a book on NLP.  The book I always recommend is NLP: The New Technology Of Achievement.  This book is available through NLP Comprehensive or can be ordered by any bookstore.  It is a compilation of writings by the NLP trainers affiliated with NLP Comprehensive (most of whom were my teachers) edited by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner, two of the top leaders in the field of NLP.

I am proud to be part of this NLP community and a practitioner in a field that offers growth, change and personal resources with consistently impressive results.

Pati McDermott, CHT
Certified NLP Master Practitioner

(NLP Comprehensive Graduate -- March 1995)
(NLP Institute Of California Graduate -- June 1996)
Certified NLP Health Practitioner
(NLP University Graduate -- June 2001)
Certified TPM Master Practitioner
(Thought Pattern Management, Inc. Graduate -- June 2005)
Certified TPM Advanced Master Practitioner
(Thought Pattern Management, Inc. Graduate -- October 2006)
Certified Hypnotherapist
(Palo Alto School Of Hypnotherapy -- August 1990)