Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a system co-founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler for bringing about personal development in any individual by interpreting and translating the human perception, experience, beliefs and language. It was developed in early 1970s with the active involvement of Gregory Bateson. Gregory Bateson was a distinguished anthropologist, linguist, social scientist and a cyberneticist at the University of California at Santa Cruz between the periods of 1960s to1970s
The basic principle of Neuro Linguistic Programming is that success can be achieved by increasing the positive habits and reducing the negative ones. These positive habits either can belong to the same individual, or can be a model of habits of highly successful people. The initial study of interpreting success patterns and behaviors was done on exceptional psychotherapists who were had attained the zenith of success in their field. Neuro linguistic course started with the modeling the key behaviors and methods taken by the psychotherapists in order to achieve outstanding outcomes in their field. This model would then be applied to individual wanting to achieve a similar level of success and excellence.
The initial concept of Neuro Linguistic Programming could have said to be derived from the General Semantics theory by Alfred Korzybski, which was based on concept of creating a brand new outlook in life by training the mind. This approach led to the creation of multiple schools of thought, with financially successful organizations set up to realize highest human potential with techniques such as Scientology, Dianetics and EST. Several Esalen seminars were conducted that caught the attention of a range of people, such as the famous Virginia Satir, Milton H. Erickson, Gregory Bateson and Fritz Perls.
A ground-breaking aspect of the neuro linguistic philosophy was the method of practicing a technique rather than investing time in its theory. The general process followed by most neuro linguistic practitioners was the generating a brand new concept, testing its merits by actual application on individuals, and concluding with detailed scientific reports on the outcome of the idea. As a rule, no set process or guidelines were followed. There was no bound on the exploration process, avoiding use of any standard procedure for Neuro Linguistic Programming Development.
The Neuro Linguistic Programming was influenced by the modern outlook of considering any problem as subjective to an individual’s perception and experiences. Anthropologist Bateson supported the concept of cultural relativism. These techniques prodded Bandler and Grinder to make observations on their subjects by understanding their specific behaviors, rather than adopting the psychoanalytic approach of manipulating the interpretation as per the theory.
The ensuing linguistic model was used to influence a change in individual behavior by interpreting therapeutic recognition and analyzing the language patterns. The model was initially published as “The Structure of Magic Volume I” in 1975. The book “The Structure of Magic Volume II” published in 1976 expanded on the model. In 1976, with the help of Satir, the book “Changing with Families” was published later on known as the Meta model and developing into a new field by itself.
The initial development on the Meta model generated keen interest of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, who later on influenced foundation of domains such as double bind theory, logical levels and types, cultural relativism and cybernetic epistemology. The initial studies on models such as Meta model and Milton model grasped the interest of several renowned psychotherapists and anthropologists, and also gained popularity with common people through their series of seminars and workshops.
With the increasing popularity and demand of NLP, a development group was formed with the NLP cofounders Grinder and Bandler, and noted NLP contributors such as Stephen Gilligan, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Robert Dilts, David Gordon and Judith DeLozier. The NLP seminars of Bandler and Grinder were later on published into a successful book “Frogs into Princes” by Steve Andreas in 1979.
Neuro Linguistic Programming