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Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. NLP is marketed by some hypnotherapists and by some companies that organize seminars and workshops on management training for businesses. According to Bandler and Grinder, NLP comprises a methodology termed modeling, plus a set of techniques that they derived from its initial applications. Bandler and Grinder claim that their methodology can codify the structure inherent to the therapeutic “magic” as performed in therapy by Perls, Satir and Erickson, and indeed inherent to any complex human activity, and then from that codification, the structure and its activity can be learned by others.
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Their 1975 book, The Structure of Magic I: A Book about Language and Therapy, is intended to be a codification of the therapeutic techniques of Perls and Satir. Bandler and Grinder say that they used their own process of modeling to model Virginia Satir so they could produce what they termed the Meta-Model, a model for gathering information and challenging a client’s language and underlying thinking. In contrast, the Milton-Model—a model of the purportedly hypnotic language of Milton Erickson—was described by Bandler and Grinder as “artfully vague” and metaphoric. The Milton-Model is used in combination with the Meta-Model as a softener, to induce “trance” and to deliver indirect therapeutic suggestion.
However, adjunct lecturer in linguistics Karen Stollznow describes Bandler’s and Grinder’s reference to such experts as namedropping. Other than Satir, the people they cite as influences did not collaborate with Bandler or Grinder. According to André Muller Weitzenhoffer, a researcher in the field of hypnosis, “the major weakness of Bandler and Grinder’s linguistic analysis is that so much of it is built upon untested hypotheses and is supported by totally inadequate data. Bandler has claimed, “NLP is based on finding out what works and formalizing it. In developing NLP, Bandler and Grinder were not responding to a paradigmatic crisis in psychology nor did they produce any data that caused a paradigmatic crisis in psychology. There is no sense in which Bandler and Grinder caused or participated in a paradigm shift. What did Grinder and Bandler do that makes it impossible to continue doing psychologywithout accepting their ideas?
By the late 1970s, the human potential movement had developed into an industry and provided a market for some NLP ideas. At the center of this growth was the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. A community of psychotherapists and students began to form around Bandler and Grinder’s initial works, leading to the growth and spread of NLP as a theory and practice. According to Bandler and Grinder: We experience the world subjectively thus we create subjective representations of our experience. These subjective representations of experience are constituted in terms of five senses and language. Behavior can be described and understood in terms of these sense-based subjective representations. Behavior is broadly conceived to include verbal and non-verbal communication, incompetent, maladaptive or “pathological” behavior as well as effective or skillful behavior.