Even though the versions of the history of NLP is not totally agreed to by all… whenever the history of NLP is mentioned, the three individuals – Frank Pucelik, John Grinder and Richard Bandler immediately come to mind. This is because the science of NLP stemmed from their ‘behavioural modelling’ activity. In this activity, they studied three therapists (Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson).
At the time Richard Bandler originated NLP, he was a student of University of California, Santa Cruz. At the time, Richard Bandler was a young 20-year old student of psychology in the university in 1970 He was working on a project for Robert Spitzer. The project warranted him to listen to and select portions of taped therapy sessions. According to Bandler, while listening to the late Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls, he recognized peculiar sentence structures and particular words which he felt were the reasons for the wide acceptance of Perls’ therapeutic suggestions. Frank Pucelik worked with him closely on his theory. Bandler later decided to approach Grinder with his theories. Grinder at the time was reportedly the youngest associate professor in the states as an associate professor of linguistics at the time.
They grew NLP by applying Bandler’s creative genius and Grinder’s linguistic skills as a holistic package to analyse the works and even the success rate of therapy experts mentioned earlier such as Virginia Satir who is widely recognised as the mother of therapy and Fritz Perls who is accredited with founding Gestalt Therapy.
Working as a team, the trio developed what they called the meta version in 1975. This model was presented in two volumes which included
•The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy and
•The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change.
The major highlight of these models was them stating that therapeutic magic like the one performed by both Perls and Satir in their works were learnable. They claimed that these therapeutic magic performed by the above mentioned and other performers had structures that can be learned and applied by studying them in appropriate structures. They stated in the work that Satir and Perls carried out their therapeutic healings by challenging generalisation, distortion and deletion in the overall language of the client.
They stated that by challenging the linguistic distortions, recovering information that were already deleted from the clients’ utterances, one could effectively bring about a complete representation of the deep structures that are underlying and this can have immense therapeutic benefits on the client.
The place of Bateson and Korzybski in NLP development
Bandler and Grinder would later state that they borrowed certain ideas from the duo Gregory Bateson and Alfred Korzybski. The duo had previously done works bordering on the concept of human modelling and the ideas that are associated with human expression.
Evolution and Distribution of NLP
NLP has experienced significant progress and distribution since it was developed in 1970. Presently, the number of NLP training organisations are in their thousands on a worldwide scale while there are hundreds of thousands of certified NLP coaches and practitioners across the continents of the world. NLP has also expanded its bothers boosting of a wide range of training options which are dependent on personal preferences and location. One can use these plethora NLP options for self-improvement by indulging in one of the NLP certifications that are now easily and readily available.
What started as an experimental work by three individuals in the early 70’s in the US is presently being used internationally for all manner of purposes and for different fields of endeavour such as education, therapy, business, public relations, management, personal development, defense and sports.