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It turns out to be foundation for an established therapeutic model called "Internal Family Systems," where consciousness is viewed as being composed of various "parts" or unconscious "sub-personalities. Indeed, the primary criticism of IFS is that there is no empirical evidence to back it up - a concern that, it seems to me, is strikingly applicable here.
If it doesn't work, it's because you don't believe So, we've discussed the content of NLP. The question now is: does it work? As I've now alluded to more than once, the authors don't offer much in the way of objective evidence.
Support is provided in the form of stage demonstrations, wherein willing participants are forcefully pushed towards whatever outcome the instructors desire. As stated in the preface, this might have been compelling in the original context, but here, even if instructive, it's rather unconvincing.
Perhaps what irked me most about this book, however, is the extent to which the authors describe their theory as unfalsifiable. Some quotes are in order: "You will try it and it won't work. However, that's not a comment on the method. That's a comment about not being creative enough in the application of it, and not having enough sensory experience to accept all the cues that are there [emphasis mine].
One is to be too rigid. And when it doesn't, it's because you never really "believed" in the first place. This kind of reasoning drives me absolutely crazy. Outside the realm of pure mathematics, if a theory is unfalsifiable, it's absolutely uninteresting. Summary "Frogs and Princes" is full of interesting, underdeveloped, and unsubstantiated ideas. The idea of content-free therapy is interesting and provocative, and I do hope it's been examined in greater detail elsewhere.
I'm intrigued by the idea of representational systems, and I like the authors' constant reminders that "when you do something that doesn't work, do something else" - even if complete flexibility detracts from the viability of NLP as a well-defined therapeutic model.
As a work of informative piece of nonfiction, however, the book fails. Thoughtful organization and carefully reasoned arguments be damned: this is hurried transcript of a three-day seminar, and it shows. The end result, even if interesting, is ultimately unconvincing. I work with the process. There is another paradox in the field.
The hugest majority of therapists believe that the way to be a good therapist is to do everything you do intuitively, which means to have an unconscious mind that does it for you. They wouldn't describe it that way because they don't like the word "unconscious" but basically they do what they do without knowing how they do it.
They do it by the "seat of their pants"—that's another way to say "unconscious mind. The same group of people, however, say that the ultimate goal of therapy is for people to have conscious understanding—insight into their own problems.
So therapists are a group of people who do what they do without knowing how it works, and at the same time believe that the way to really get somewhere in life is to consciously know how things work! And their answer was "Oh, I have no idea. Are you interested in exploring and finding out with me what the outcome was? What we essentially do is to pay very little attention to what people say they do and a great deal of attention to what they do. And then we build ourselves a model of what they do.
We are not psychologists, and we're also not theologians or theoreticians. We have no idea about the "real" nature of things, and we're not particularly interested in what's "true. So, if we happen to mention something that you know from a scientific study, or from statistics, is inaccurate, realize that a different level of experience is being offered you here.
We're not offering you something that's true, just things that are useful. We know that our modeling has been successful when we can systematically get the same behavioral outcome as the person we have modeled. And when we can teach somebody else to be able to get the same outcomes in a systematic way, that's an even stronger test. When I entered the field of communication, I went to a large conference where there were six hundred and fifty people in an auditorium.
And a man who was very famous got up and made the following statement: And everybody in the audience went "Yeahhhh!
Make contact. We all know about that one. He never mentioned one single specific thing that anybody in that room could do that would help them in any way to either have the experience of understanding that person better, or at least give the other person the illusion that they were understood. I then went to something called "Active Listening.
Then we began to pay attention to what really divergent people who were "wizards" actually do.
When you watch and listen to Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson do therapy, they apparently could not be more different. At least I couldn't figure out a way that they could appear more different. People also report that the experiences of being with them are profoundly different.
However, if you examine their behavior and the essential key patterns and sequences of what they do, they are similar.
The patterns that they use to accomplish the rather dramatic things that they are able to accomplish are very similar in our way of understanding. What they accomplish is the same. But the way it's packaged—the way they come across—is profoundly different. The same was true of Fritz Peris. He was not quite as sophisticated as Satir and Erickson in the number of patterns he used.
But when he was operating in what I consider a powerful and effective way, he was using the same sequences of patterns that you will find in their work. Fritz typically did not go after specific outcomes. If somebody came in and said "I have hysterical paralysis of the left leg," he wouldn't go after it directly. Sometimes he would get it and sometimes he wouldn't.
Both Milton and Virginia have a tendency to go straight for producing specific outcomes, something I really respect. When I wanted to learn to do therapy, I went to a month-long workshop, a situation where you are locked up on an island and exposed every day to the same kinds of experiences and hope that somehow or other you will pick them up.
The leader had lots and lots of experience, and he could do things that none of us could do. But when he talked about the things he did, people there wouldn't be able to learn to do them. Intuitively, or what we describe as unconsciously, his behavior was systematic, but he didn't have a conscious understanding of how it was systematic. That is a compliment to his flexibility and ability to discern what works.
For example, you all know very, very little about how you are able to generate language. Somehow or other as you speak you are able to create complex pieces of syntax, and I know that you don't make any conscious decisions. You don't go "Well, I'm going to speak, and first I'll put a noun in the sentence, then I'll throw an adjective in, then a verb, and maybe a little adverb at the end, you know, just to color it up a little bit.
There's a group of people called transformational linguists who have managed to take large amounts of tax dollars and academic space and figure out what those rules are.
They haven't figured out anything to do with that yet, but transformational grammarians are unconcerned with that. They are not interested in the real world, and having lived in it I can sometimes understand why. When it comes to language, we're all wired the same.
Humans have pretty much the same intuitions about the same kinds of phenomena in lots and lots of different languages. If I say "You that look understand idea can," you have a very different intuition than if I say "Look, you can understand that idea," even though the words are the same. There's a part of you at the unconscious level that tells you that one of those sentences is well-formed in a way that the other is not.
Our job as modelers is to do a similar task for other things that are more practical.
Our job is to figure out what it is that effective therapists do intuitively or unconsciously, and to make up some rules that can be taught to someone else. Now, what typically happens when you go to a seminar is that the leader will say "All you really need to do, in order to do what I do as a great communicator, is to pay attention to your guts. My guess is you probably don't. You can have them there at the unconscious level, but I think that if you want to have the same intuitions as somebody like Erickson or Satir or Peris, you need to go through a training period to learn to have similar intuitions.
Once you go through a conscious training period, you can have therapeutic intuitions that are as unconscious and systematic as your intuitions about language. If you watch and listen to Virginia Satir work you are confronted with an overwhelming mass of information—the way she moves, her voice tone, the way she touches, who she turns to next, what sensory cues she is using to orient herself to which member of the family, etc.
It's a really overwhelming task to attempt to keep track of all the things that she is using as cues, the responses that she is making to those cues, and the responses she elicits from others. Now, we don't know what Virginia Satir really does with families. However, we can describe her behavior in such a way that we can come to any one of you and say "Here. Take this. Do these things in this 10 sequence.
Practice until it becomes a systematic part of your unconscious behavior, and you will end up being able to elicit the same responses that Virginia elicits. All we do in order to understand whether our description is an adequate model for what we are doing is to find out whether it works or not: We will be making statements up here which may have no relationship to the "truth," to what's "really going on.
After being exposed to it and practicing the patterns and the descriptions that we have offered, people's behavior changes in ways that make them effective in the same way that Satir is, yet each person's style is unique. If you learn to speak French, you will still express yourself in your own way.
You can use your consciousness to decide to gain a certain skill which you think would be useful in the context of your professional and personal work. Using our models you can practice that skill. Having practiced that consciously for some period of time you can allow that skill to function unconsciously. You all had to consciously practice all the skills involved in driving a car. Now you can drive a long distance and not be conscious df any of it, unless there's some unique situation that requires your attention.
One of the systematic things that Erickson and Satir and a lot of other effective therapists do is to notice unconsciously how the person they are talking to thinks, and make use of that information in lots and lots of different ways. For example, if I'm a client of Virginia's I might go: Things have been, they've been heavy, you know. Just, you know, my wife was What she does is very 11 magical, even though I believe that magic has a structure and is available to all of you. One of the things that she would do in her response would be to join this client in his model of the world by responding in somewhat the following way: You have different kinds of hopes for this.
If the same client were to go to another therapist, the dialogue might go like this: You know, it's just like I cant handle it, you know And I thought maybe you could help me grasp it, you know?
I see what it is you're talking about. Let's focus in on one particular dimension. Try to give me your particular perspective. Tell me how it is that you see your situation right now. I just feel like I cant get a grasp on reality. What's important to me—colorful as your description is—what's important to me is that we see eye to eye about where it is down the road that we shall travel together.
And I'm trying to find a way The colors aren't all that nice. It's very depressing. And what we noticed is that many therapists mismatch in the same way that we just demonstrated. We come from California and the whole world out there is run by 12 electronics firms. We have a lot of people who are called "engineers," and engineers typically at a certain point have to go to therapy.
It's a rule, I don't know why, but they come in and they usually all say the same thing, they go: Can you see that? I mean, could you see what that would be like for a man of my age? And, you know—" "I feel that this is very important. I mean, can you see how that would be? You have raised certain issues here which I feel that we have to come to grips with.
And it's only a question of selecting where we'll grab a handle and begin to work in a comfortable but powerful way upon this. Just go ahead and let them flow up and knock the hell out of the picture that you've got there.
I don't see that this is getting us anywhere. Are you willing to talk about your resistance? We watched therapists do this for two or three days, and we noticed that Satir did it the other way around: She matched the client.
But most therapists don't. The practitioner pays particular attention to the verbal and non-verbal responses as the client defines the present state and desired state and any "resources" that may be required to bridge the gap. According to Stollznow , "NLP also involves fringe discourse analysis and "practical" guidelines for "improved" communication.
For example, one text asserts "when you adopt the "but" word, people will remember what you said afterwards. With the "and" word, people remember what you said before and after. As an approach to psychotherapy, NLP shares similar core assumptions and foundations in common with some contemporary brief and systemic practices,    such as solution focused brief therapy. The two main therapeutic uses of NLP are: 1 as an adjunct by therapists  practicing in other therapeutic disciplines; 2 as a specific therapy called Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy  which is recognized by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy  with accreditation governed at first by the Association for Neuro Linguistic Programming  and more recently by its daughter organization the Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy and Counselling Association.
Unfortunately, NLP appears to be the first in a long line of mass marketing seminars that purport to virtually cure any mental disorder What remains is a mass-marketed serving of psychopablum. Ten years should have been sufficient time for this to happen. In this light, I cannot take NLP seriously Patterns I and II are poorly written works that were an overambitious, pretentious effort to reduce hypnotism to a magic of words.
Rowling as three examples of unambiguous acknowledged personal failure that served as an impetus to great success. Briers contends that adherence to the maxim leads to self-deprecation. According to Briers, personal endeavour is a product of invested values and aspirations and the dismissal of personally significant failure as mere feedback effectively denigrates what one values. Briers writes, "Sometimes we need to accept and mourn the death of our dreams, not just casually dismiss them as inconsequential.
NLP's reframe casts us into the role of a widower avoiding the pain of grief by leap-frogging into a rebound relationship with a younger woman, never pausing to say a proper goodbye to his dead wife. These applications include persuasion ,  sales,  negotiation,  management training,  sports,  teaching, coaching, team building, and public speaking.
Scientific criticism In the early s, NLP was advertised as an important advance in psychotherapy and counseling, and attracted some interest in counseling research and clinical psychology.
However, as controlled trials failed to show any benefit from NLP and its advocates made increasingly dubious claims, scientific interest in NLP faded. Langford categorizes NLP as a form of folk magic ; that is to say, a practice with symbolic efficacy —as opposed to physical efficacy—that is able to effect change through nonspecific effects e. To Langford, NLP is akin to a syncretic folk religion "that attempts to wed the magic of folk practice to the science of professional medicine".
Several ideas and techniques have been borrowed from Castaneda and incorporated into NLP including so-called double induction  and the notion of "stopping the world"  which is central to NLP modeling.