PNL - Programmazione Neurolinguistica

One of the brief psychotherapies: Neuro linguistic Programming

Fabrizio Marcolongo

I want to tell you a story. In 1975 two founders met each other in California, after spent time together. Richard Bandler, was a student of UCSC [University of Santa Cruz - California] who was attending the lessons of John Grinder, a professor of Linguistics at UCSC. It was the story of a smart schoolboy, who met a professor of math. John Grinder was the astonished professor by the natural gift of Richard to analyse the structure of communicationn of various psychotherapists. He analysed the structure of the best psychotherapeutic practice in U.S.A. '70 [Virginia Satir - the mother of ecological family therapy, Frizt Pearls - the father of gestalt, and Milton Erickson ] and put these materials in a book with of John Grinder.

It was born the first generation Neuro Linguistic Programming.

I received an education in NLP, part in Italy, part in California, by a school in Italy of NLP, inspired by the principles of the NLP University of Robert Dilts, Judith De Lozier and Suzy Smith, three of the first practitioner of the "First Generation" NLP. When I was in the same classroom of UCSC were NLP rose, I was listening Robert Dilts telling us, about fifty trainers of the thousands trainers of NLP in the world, this story. I heard directly from the voice of Robert, that on seventies, the first generation NLP was the original model that most of the best psychotherapists of U.S.A., and Europe call to NLP classes. Many of those were eager to learn effective techniques for phobias and addictions. In that period classes were composed mainly by psychotherapists and there was also the great group of the Human Resources, Chief Executives, Managers, Sellers, lawyers, and many others. Robert remarked that "these early applications of NLP were all applied one-on-one, with the focus almost entirely on the individual". These topics were day by day bringing NLP as "something which one 'did to other people'. This led to some NLP applications as seeming to be manipulative when used in non-therapeutic contexts. " said Robert Dilts. Furthermore one of the criterion of first generation was oriented to the behaviour and capabilities: "to be able to do something" [to stay among pigeons - about the birds-phobia, ... to travel by air - about the phobia of flight, to say something in an appealing way to the employee to get a good level of motivation, etc], and NLP was able to produce many techniques to do so such as: anchoring, 6 step-reframing, eye accessing cues, calibration, meta-model.
One of the most important element that forced many people to stay very far from NLP in the eighties and nineties was the prejudice that NLP is less effective rather than psychodynamic psychotherapy, because of the hypnosis of NLP and also many psychologists think that NLP is something manipulative, and something related to force people to do something they do not want. "To install" is a taboo term for psychodynamic psychotherapists.
The second generation of NLP was active from the middle, late eighties and was related to higher logical levels of beliefs and values. In that period NLP implemented technical instruments such as time line, submodalities and perceptual positions and formats like reimprinting, conflict integration, the Disney strategy and the Swish Pattern. This period is remarkable for "emphasize the relationship between oneself and others" and others area of education were involved: "... negotiation, sales, education and health..." In that period NLP culture was involved with complaints about copyright and NLP was strongly protected by Robert Dilts from the attack of Richard Bandler who wanted to reduce the science of NLP to a "product" to sell, as Coca Cola or Tavor, as many Americans do. Robert Dilts, a patents solicitor's son, knowing well intellect production's issues, was determined to make NLP free by rules, and one of principles of his school is the freedom of style in NLP practicing.
The third generation is the current age of education in NLP and it is focused on identity and mission. It's oriented on change the whole system. Skills are "field based" and improved by the sponsorship perspective. Coaches are not simply NLP Practitioner but Awakeners with the approach of Coaching: helping clients to reach the peak of abilities, educated to create Team Leaders. NLP is not only for managers and executive, but also for medical doctors and ward managers.

The name

The name of these complex elements is instead very simple and friendly:
Neuro: Brain is composed by neurons and this system is almost a computer. The net of the neurons builds a filter that makes the reality, the reality of "that net", and that net is not equal to others and make reality different from others. Our conditioning is always active to reduce wider choices we would or should have. Our perceptions are filtered by this net. "The map" of the territory we build is never the same of others: "the map is not the territory", as Korzybski said.
Linguistic: all the commands on a computer are made by a "sentence" or "words". In the same years during which NLP was born, Gregory Bateson discovered "the double bind" theory. So since the beginning also NLP school was influenced by the analysis of the "script" that, above all, we are writing on our pc/brain! When we can't to reach some targets is due to the lack of beliefs and values.
Programming: we can discover the program that isn't working and we can change it. When I was teaching NLP in an Italian Therapeutic Community, one of the psychologists was asking for the meaning of the term "programming", and I answered that the program is a thing you can install. Installing programs is for psychologists a "taboo word" because is something that it would mean "to exploit" and "not stable, not permanent", related to hypnosis. Nothing about that! "To install programmes" means "changes".
Many European countries and in other continents were focused a great attention towards psychodynamic psychotherapies that are light in bill and time. All these psychotherapies are due to an objective. Richard Bandler is used to say: "NLP coaching is like a taxi driver, you have to know where you're going to go".

The rules of NLP therapy are:

1) The map is not the territory
2) Brain and Body form a Single System
3) Behind every behaviour is a positive intention
4) Rapport
5) There is no failure, only feedback
6) Choice is better than no choice (and flexibility is the way one gets choice)
7) The meaning of the communication is in the response
8) People already have all the resources they need to succeed
9) Multiple descriptions are better than one
10) NLP is generative
11) Structure matters more than content
12) If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you always got - also sometimes described as "If what you are doing isn't working, try something else".
13) Use whatever works - also known as the principle of utilization
14) There are no resistant clients; there are only incompetent (or less skilled) therapists - resistance is a communication. It should be respected, explored, treated as valuable information.
15) If something can be done effectively and ecologically in ten minutes, don't spend an hour doing it.
16) NLP incorporates the body as well as the mind - the body impacts on the mind, as the mind impacts on the body. How one stands, walks, moves, breathes, and holds muscle tensions, will have an impact on a person's emotional state.
In NLP there is no patient and no doctor, there is a guide and an explorer. Together they can use the healing parts of the explorer, and during the session not only they can talk but also they can do something. The problem is focused by the explorer and not by the guide. There's no setting in NLP.
There is the "Problem state" and the client is interested in a not passive way. No interpretations, no wrong things, the number of sessions are rarely more than fifteen for a single problem.
Neuro Linguistic Programming is a way of life, not only a kind of psychotherapy. It's a system of systems, and a great systematic view and tool to realise your dreams.

Current Trainers and famous Presenters of NLP exercises are:

Robert Dilts, Judith De Loziers, Suzy Smith were together at the , Santa Cruz - California, where all began.
Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Anthony Robbins.
Wake L., 2008, Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy, A postmodern Perspective -London - Routledge
Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975a). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.. ISBN 0831400447.
Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975b). The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change. PaloAlto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.. ISBN 0-8314-0049-8.
Satir, Satir., Grinder, John., Bandler, Richard. (1976). Changing with Families: a book about further education for being human. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.. ISBN 0-8314-0051-X.