General Interest > Thought Reform

NLP: Evolving the Double Bind


NLP: Evolving the Double Bind   

Also a review of ‘The Structure of Magic. Vol I and II’.- Bandler and Grinder

(The following subject matter is intimately tied with that this link     viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30423  )

I am posting this material on Neuro Linguistic Programming as it represents the emergence of a therapy, and theory, very closely tied to that of the Double Bind. I believe an understanding of NLP and it’s early development are an equally important part in identifying how the Troubled Teen Industry operates within the context of a Double Bind and is an argument against forced therapy. Furthermore the history and information will show how NLP was born from, and is a powerful tool in a Double Bind context, particularly in therapy.  I hope you find it interesting.

What…  is… NLP?

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a name that encompasses the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language and programming. The neurological system regulates how our bodies function, language determines how we interface and communicate with other people and our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay effects our body and behavior (programming).

In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions:

1. The Map is Not the Territory. As human beings, we can never know reality. We can only know our perceptions of reality. We experience and respond to the world around us primarily through our sensory representational systems. It is our 'neuro-linguistic' maps of reality that determine how we behave and that give those behaviors meaning, not reality itself. It is generally not reality that limits us or empowers us, but rather our map of reality.

2. Life and 'Mind' are Systemic Processes. The processes that take place within a human being and between human beings and their environment are systemic. Our bodies, our societies, and our universe form an ecology of complex systems and sub-systems all of which interact with and mutually influence each other. It is not possible to completely isolate any part of the system from the rest of the system. Such systems are based on certain 'self-organizing' principles and naturally seek optimal states of balance or homeostasis.

All of the models and techniques of NLP are based on the combination of these two principles. In the belief system of NLP it is not possible for human beings to know objective reality. Wisdom, ethics and ecology do not derive from having the one 'right' or 'correct' map of the world, because human beings would not be capable of making one. Rather, the goal is to create the richest map possible that respects the systemic nature and ecology of ourselves and the world we live in. The people who are most effective are the ones who have a map of the world that allows them to perceive the greatest number of available choices and perspectives.

NLP was originated by John Grinder (whose background was in linguistics) and Richard Bandler (whose background was in mathematics and gestalt therapy) for the purpose of making explicit models of human excellence. Their first work The Structure of Magic Vol. I & II (1975, 1976) identified the verbal and behavioral patterns of therapists Fritz Perls (the creator of gestalt therapy) and Virginia Satir (internationally renowned family therapist). Their next work Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Vol. I & II (1975, 1976) examined the verbal and behavioral patterns of Milton Erickson, founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and one of the most widely acknowledged and clinically successful psychiatrists of our times. As a result of this earlier work, Grinder and Bandler formalized their modeling techniques and their own individual contributions under the name "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" to symbolize the relationship between the brain, language and the body.

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. ... mming.html


Bandler and Grinder, under the tutelage of Gregory Bateson, adopted the communications theories presented in works done by the Double Bind group, Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, etc. As well they modeled Milton Erickson, renowned hypnotist, Fritz Perls, Gestalt therapist, and Virginia Satir, Family therapist. From this they produced their first two works, The Structure of Magic Vol. I: A Book about Language and Therapy, and, The Structure of Magic Vol. II.  Although NLP has taken on many new attributes and grown to be internationally recognized since Bandler and Grinder first published these books, they are an important starting point to understanding it more clearly.

Firstly, this book takes on the theories presented within the Double Bind group. They don’t get too heavily into their theory, but it is generally stated that it is in relation to the theories outlined in the works of Bateson and his colleagues. They list a few departures from Bateson’s approach, an important upcoming point, but in their pages they express to the reader..

“. We highly recommend the excellent work by Jay Haley, Gregory
Bateson and his associates, Paul Watlawick, Janet Beavin, and Don Jackson.
Their studies appear to us to be, at present, the closest approximation along
with the Meta-model to achieving this goal. “

“In our understanding, the most explicit and sophisticated model of human communication and therapy is that described in the work of Gregory Bateson and his colleagues.”

 Secondly, it models the techniques of Fritz Perls, Gestalt therapist and prominent figure in the Human Potential Movement, Milton Erickson, famous hypnotist, and Virginia Satir, Family therapist. As has been the description of NLP in general, using ‘what works’ is their point in modeling these successful people.

Within the texts Bandler and Grinder outline specific tools to achieve successful therapy (change, fixing, cure, growth etc.). Their approach to therapy also comes from their philosophy  which makes certain assumptions:

1)   The experience of reality is entirely subjective. We do not act on reality itself, but rather we have models of the world which we act on. For this concept, they use the phrase, ‘The Map is not the Territory”.

““Human beings Live in a “real world.” We do not, however, operate directly or immediately upon that world, but, rather, we operate within that world using a map or a series of maps of that world to guide our behavior within it. These maps, or representational systems, necessarily differ from the territory that they model by three universal processes of human modeling: Generalization, Deletion, and Distortion.” Bk 2 p.4


One of the important conclusions we establish in MAGIC I is that the map is not the territory it is representing, and that each map will differ from every other map in some way. The map or model that we have been reffering to so far is a simplification of a more complex process. In fact, the maps we have been referring to is actually a series of maps which result when we model our experiences by using what we call REPRESENTATIONAL SYSTEMS.

There are three major input channels by which we, as human beings, receive information about the world around us – vision, audition, and kinesthetics (body sensations). “

2)   They defined our experience as being the result of being part of systemic processes. They expanded upon family systems theory, Double Bind theory, Cybernetics, and communications theory.

“The forms of family therapy with which we are most familiar
make extensive use of the concept of congruity (Satir, Bateson,
etc.). Here, congruent communication can be a useful tool for
looking at individual members of the family or at the family as a
unit. In fact, frequently recurring patterns of incongruent communication
are claimed to be a major source of schizophrenia (see
Jackson, 1967).”

The matter of ‘congruency’ will be a key subject they identify in relation to Double Bind theory, from the table of contents for book II,

“PART II. Incongruity
1.   Incongruency: Expanding the Double-Bind Theory”

Some core components within the systems theories they take from are:

-All behavior is communication, all communication is behavior

-One cannot not communicate, even not communicating is a type of communication.

-Every communication has a content and relationship aspect.

-Communication is processed through digital (left brained, stepwise, calculating) and analogic (right brained, holistic)

-Interpersonal communication is Symmetrical or Complementary. A "symmetric" relationship here means one in which the parties involved behave as equals from a power perspective. They can be equally submissive, agreeable or domineering. A "complementary" relationship here means one of unequal power, such as parent-child, boss-employee or leader-follower, officer soldier.

(Pragmatics of Human Communication – Watzlawick)

In The Structure of Magic I and II Bandler and Grinder recommend that their material be used as an application to other therapies. Since it is the study of subjective reality it can work in conjunction with any other belief system or school of thought.

They outline a relatively simple process of therapy which focuses on sorting the clients various verbal and non-verbal communications and identifying when certain messages are incongruent, or conflicting.  An example of this might be if someone said “I love my mother” but while rolling the eyes. The next step is to polarize these conflicting messages by getting the client to ‘play each part’ one at a time. The stated purpose is to turn the incongruity into something that occurs in succession rather that simultaneously. Once these parts are polarized the job is to modify each “map” or model to include material that makes them compatible with one another. The last step is parts re- integration and finally getting the client to achieve “meta – position” with respect to his parts.

The other main therapeutic tool they teach is the “Meta-Model” for analyzing language. For this they maintain that each person has a language model of the world and, as with any other model, it is subject to the same distortions, generalizations, and deletions of which invariably cause us to experience reality as different from how it really is. (distortion = “I didn’t sleep ALL NIGHT”, generalization= “Men scare me.” [all men?], deletion = “I was hurt.” [how, by whom,])
By challenging the clients ‘surface structure’ in language Bandler and Grinder believe it will eventually lead to the ‘deep structure’, or underlying belief system, that it is referencing. As surface structure represents deep structure, it is necessary to challenge the client to fill in the deleted material to get at the core beliefs. One is led to believe the overall strategy is to challenge all the clients communication by asking ‘What [does that mean, is that] specifically?’

Using the meta- model, the therapist will continue to challenge the clients model(s) (Language, gestures, eye direction, smile, posture, hand positions, overall right and left body congruence) until he receives ‘mixed messages’ from the client. They also relate this to stress and identify four common roles that people take on under stress conditions : Placater, Blamer, Computer (super reasonable), Distracter. They list ways to identify and therefore disarm these protective games.

The final procedure is, as previously stated, identifying the incongruencies, polarizing the parts (with Perls’ empty chair technique, Spatial sorting, fantasy sorting, psychodramatic sorting, representational system sorting, for example),  and altering each ‘map’ to include ‘new territory’ that will allow each to permit re-integration. Once this is done, the clients various communications should be congruent. What was once ‘mixed messages’ is now a single congruent one.


One very curious concept that they adopt that differs from Bateson’s concept of incongruity is that, during therapeutic work, they do not consider any of the clients various communication ‘outputs’ (gesturing, tone of voice, eye contact, verbal, etc.) to be ‘meta’ to any others. That is they don’t consider non-verbal communication (shoulder shrugging etc) to be a comment on the accompanying verbal communication. It is not communication about the communication, but each message is taken as an equal, independent message each giving a representation of the various models the client uses to interact with the world. They go on to say that their method eliminates the confusion of identifying which message is the “true message” and which are meta messages, which they cite is a problem the therapist has when analyzing a clients incongruity from Bateson’s standpoint which says messages are organized in a hierarchal format. Bandler and Grinder propose these many ‘output systems’ are active in any single transaction and each independently represents certain models within the individual. When the client exhibits communication behavior that is congruent this means that his various ‘maps’ or models of the world are compatible, not conflicting. When communication and/or behaviors are incongruent it means that two or more of the clients various models of how to act within the world contain parts that do not agree with each other.

This is probably the most interesting and peculiar part of their interactional model because it is such a deviation from what we are accustomed to in social interaction. This way of interacting with the clients communication denies that he is perceived as having a locus of control, in Bandler and Grinders’ terms he is not being related to as an entity that is ‘meta’ to his parts, or in keeping with Bateson’s analyses of hierarchal messages, his messages are no longer seen as coming from an individual perspective, but in terms of parts.


At this point it is extremely important to clarify some key points in Gestalt psychology (perls) and in systems theory from which they drew.

Gestalt (g?shtält') [Ger.,=form], school of psychology that interprets phenomena as organized wholes rather than as aggregates of distinct parts, maintaining that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Gestalt therapy, developed after World War II by Frederick Perls, believes that a person's inability to successfully integrate the parts of his personality into a healthy whole may lie at the root of psychological disturbance.

Gestalt (a German word meaning “form”) also refers to any structure or pattern in which the whole has properties different from those of its parts.

And you will notice the similarities to the systems theory outlined by those in the Double Bind group.

“Open systems: Wholeness; non-summativity

Every part of a system is so related to its fellow parts that a change in one part will cause a change in all of them and in the total system. That is, a system behaves not as a simple composite of independent elements, but coherently and as an inseperable whole. This characteristic is perhaps best understood  in contrast with it’s polar opposite, summativity: if variations in one part do not affect the other parts or the whole then these parts are independent of one another and constitute a “heap” that is no more complex than the sum of it’s elements. This quality of summativity can be put on the other end of a hypothetical continuity of wholeness, and it can be said that systems can be characterized by some degree of wholeness.

Nonsummativity (The state of a system that is more than, or not equal to, the sum of its parts), then as a corollary of the notion of wholeness provides a negative guideline for the definition of a system. A system cannot be taken for the sum of it’s parts; indeed, formal analysis of artificially isolated segments would destroy the very object of interest. It is necessary to neglect the parts for the gestalt and attend to the core of it’s complexity, it’s organization. The psychological concept of gestalt is only one way of expressing the principle of nonsummativity; in other fields there is great interest in the emergent quality that arises out of the interrelation of two or more elements.

Furthermore it is very interesting that the slightest change in the relationship between constituent parts is often magnified in the emergent quality – a different substance in the case of chemistry.

In the study of human interaction we propose to contrast essentially individual- oriented approaches with communications theory. When interaction is considered a derivative of individual “properties” such as roles, values, expectations, and motivations, the composite- two or more interacting individuals- is a summative that can be broken into more basic (individual) units. In contrast, from the first axiom of communication- that all behavior is communication, and one cannot not communicate – it follows that communication sequences would be reciprocally inseparable; in short, that interaction is non-summative.

Pragmatics of human communication- Watzlawick, Beavin, Jackson “


We begin to get towards Bandler and Grinders beliefs behind NLP. Bateson and his colleagues studied the family system. The Double Bind theory of schizophrenia outlined that there is a tie between communication and behavior, that we are made to communicate with our environment, and the effects of paradoxical communication in important relationships.

They also theorized that this kind of communication can confuse a family member’s ability to understand different communication modes, as incongruent messages would be common in such a family regarding the content and relationship aspects of communication. Schizophrenic symptoms, then, are not viewed as isolated within the individual, but are the emergent quality that results from the nonsummativity, that is the interaction in a stable family system.

Bandler and Grinder take these theories and, like Perls’ gestalt psychotherapy, identify the individual under these same systemic terms. As a unified whole an individual consciousness is the emergent quality, the gestalt, that is more than the sum of its parts. This is suggested when they say we function using different ‘models’ or ‘maps’, and when they emphasize that the most important part of therapy is to “get the client to achieve meta- position with respect to his parts.”


We now find that we are faced with analyzing the paradox presented in their books, The Structure of Magic I and II, as it is about communication in the context of therapy (a paradoxical context extensively discussed by Bateson’s camp).

Firstly, this situation has the potential to form a double bind. 1. There is an important relationship in which the therapist has the power to dictate the status of another 2. This imbalance of power leaves the client unable to counter the therapists assertions, and therefore unable to leave the communicational field or successfully meta-communicate about the paradoxical situation. And 3. A paradoxical injunction (i.e. do something impossible, ‘be spontaneous’, ‘I demand you be independent’, ‘do not see this as punishment’ or ’be your parts’).

The paradoxical injunction that is inherently present was represented earlier, “from the first axiom of communication- that all behavior is communication, and one cannot not communicate – it follows that communication sequences would be reciprocally inseparable; in short, that interaction is non-summative.” What this means (theoretically) is that the persons’ behaviors cannot be viewed as parts if they are functioning within an interactional context.

Furthermore if we consider the interaction between the therapist and client as a system, much of the process will consist of focusing on behaviors that the client is largely unconscious of in his communication. This then increases the amount of behavior that can be included in the system as interaction, therefore increasing the potential for behaviors to be a result of nonsummativity, or the emergent quality, of two party communication.

Bandler and Grinder are playing off  Bateson’s concept that says in systems a change in part of the whole also affects the other parts, and therefore the whole. This emergent quality is the pattern that results when the system achieves homeostasis, or stability, due to the change in relationship. Bateson and his colleagues  then identified individual behavioral effects, or symptoms,  that resulted from  family (group) interaction.

Bandler and Grinder, however, are identifying behavioral effects and symptoms that (theoretically) result from the interaction (communication) between a person’s maps, models, and representational systems, AND they are saying they can manipulate those parts WITHOUT consideration for the interactional context, as we are all unavoidably part of systems. This keeps in line with the earlier statement from Watzlawick. “In the study of human interaction we propose to contrast essentially individual- oriented approaches with communications theory. “ This contrast would be represented by summativity and non-summativity.

I think we now find that this book, and  NLP, are on the other end of the spectrum when analyzing behavior and communication. It operates from the standpoint of summativity, in fact making the client a summative heap simply by viewing him that way, as those parts are all the therapist allows into the system of interaction between them. It denies that behavior is a result of a relationship in that reality is experienced subjectively and therefore so is a belief in ‘force’, and more importantly the therapist is to view the clients communication as parts. When these parts are not communicating congruently Bandler says,

“we know that the models of the world which he is using to guide his behavior are inconsistent” and “We accept each of the conflicting paramessages as a valid representation of the model which the client has for his behavior – these conflicting paramessages are indicators of the resources which the client has in coping with the world.”
This would be followed by polarizing, modifying maps to be congruent, and re- integrating to produce behavior that the therapist views a congruent.

This constitutes a view of the client as being a ‘heap’ rather than a gestalt. It seems Bandler and Grinder have incorporated this concept of nonsummativity when they say the final step in therapy is to get the client to achieve ‘meta- position’ with respect to his parts.

So in therapy, communications theory considered, we have an interactional context in which the interaction (communication, behavior) is nonsummative (a result of the emergent quality of the system as a whole between client and therapist) yet this interaction (the client and his communication) is being analyzed as though he were a summative heap. If this is the agreed upon fiction contained within the social interaction (overtly or covertly) this means the therapist is the only fully functional person and that the resulting interaction is therefore between him as a nonsummative entity and (due to the therapists belief affecting the interaction)  and the clients parts,  overall disqualifying his communication from having meaning.

What this presupposes is that the process of therapy itself is one where the clients act in a way that surrenders their will to the therapist and either not know it is happening, or act like it is not a consideration within the context. The overall method is meant to function within the context of the Double Bind. This so, the behavior effects, or cure of symptom (incongruity), are the result of an interpersonal context in which one person has control of the communication. They point out how infinitely complex an individuals’ models can become in family systems.

“. In addition to the model of the world which
each member has, the family has a shared model of themselves as a
family and the way that they interact. Within their model, each
family member has a model of the shared model of themselves as a
part of the family unit. To get some idea of how complicated even
a three-person family is, consider the following:
Suppose that we designate the family members by the
letters a, b, and c. In this family system, there are the
following perceptions or models (minimally):

a's model of himself;
b's model of herself;
c's model of himself;
a's model of himself and b together;
a's model of himself and c together;
a's model of b and c together;
a's model of himself with b and c together”

Taking this type of modeling into account as a therapist using NLP the process of achieving successful results depends on the ability to define the clients model of himself and the therapist together, that is he is to define how each other is to relate to each other. In the context of group therapy this becomes far more complex. This brings back into focus the Double Bind, as it is the non-summative result of interaction and, and as Bandler and Grinder suggest, in such a relationship it cannot be taken that one person is in control of the other. This is because the binder may not step out of the relationship pattern any more than the bound. They are both bound. As long as one of them maintain their roles neither may transcend the situation. And their assertion that reality is subjective, and so is the idea of control. It may be as simple as maintaining a lie for many years, but each are bound to their roles if the emergent quality, or symptoms, of the Double Bind are to result.

[[I am going to make as brief a statement possible here, as the argument of what constitutes power or force in this context can be argued to no end, and has been argued, and this is the general argument.

“Power and Neutrality

Bateson (1972) referred to the "myth of power" (p. 494), calling it "epistemological lunacy" (p. 495). Dell (1989) says that the invalidation of power is an inevitable consequence of adopting a systemic perspective. According to a social constructionist view, however, to tell a community of persons (women, for example) that the power differentials they experience and name are illusory is inconsistent with the notion that the distinctions we make through language construct the experiential world we inhabit.

In systemic terminology, to speak of victims and abusers in families is to slip into "linear causality." And so familial relations are typically couched in terms of "complementarity," "recursiveness," and "circularity." To explain this divergence from linear thinking, Becvar and Becvar (1988) write: "Thus a sadist requires a masochist, just as a masochist requires a sadist" (p. 62). What is missing, of course, is acknowledgment that the victims of sadists are not, by definition, willing partners. Says Goldner (1985): "the systemic sine qua non of circulatory looks suspiciously like a hypersophisticated version of blaming the victim and rationalizing the status quo" (p. 333).

The postmodern view states that power grants privilege--the privilege to have one's story dominate another's, to have one's truth prevail. However, these meanings are foreign to the analysis of biological organisms or electronic feedback mechanisms; when those metaphors are transplanted into family therapy, power remains tellingly absent.

The notion of therapist neutrality--a variation on the theme of power--is also incongruent with a social constructionist view. Neutrality fails to address the ideological nature of world- making. The meanings generated by therapists, no less tha n those of clients, are embedded in language and emerge from cultural milieus. Anderson and Goolishian (1988), remind us that our theories--including those about therapy--"are ideologies invented at a moment in time for practical reasons" (p. 373). It is not a question of whether we bring politics into the therapy room, says Michael White (1994), "it's a question of whether we admit it or not. ... gid/400892 "  ]]

 But being in control of how a group communicates, all under a therapists direction, magnifies the Double Binds’ effect in the gestalt of the group.

Bandler and Grinder utilize a very common Double Bind that Bateson’s camp first called ‘Prescribing the Symptom’.

“ … the therapist is fully accepting and utilizing the clients behavior , he literally tells the client to do what he is, in fact, already doing. Notice that this leaves the client in the position of having two choices:

(a)   Accept the therapist’s directions to do in an exaggerated form what he is already doing, or

(b)   Resist the therapist’s directions to do in an exaggerated form what he is already doing

…One outcome of the clients accepting the therapist’s direction to play his more fully expressed polarity in an exaggerated form is the emergence of the opposite polarity. This general tactic of playing polarity has different names in different forms of psychotherapy. For example, in Gestalt therapy, this is called ‘making the rounds’. The therapist instructs the client in playing his more fully developed polarity with each member of the group until the client flips polarity…..

If the client chooses to reject the therapist’s directions[take option(b)] then the typical result is that the client will respond by flipping polarities. Thus, whether the client chooses (a) or (b), the less fully expressed polarity will emerge and the process of growth and change is well under way.” –p.322

It seems that, in a therapeutic context containing a resistant client, this becomes nothing more than a tool to modify their behavior into something that fits the therapists definition of ‘congruent’. Offering the idea that people have models of how to operate in ‘self and other’ contexts, and also suggesting the identification of ‘congruence’ (or complete self) is then dependent on adopting a model (belief) that asserts that the other has the control to decide that status presupposes that the client give up control, but also act as if they do not realize it, and that the therapist can define when he is’himself’. The process of therapy is one that creates a shared model of the world with the client that includes the belief that he can be re- programmed. This belief is installed during therapy because the message is carried within the presuppositions of the interaction. The clients actions are also agreements with parts of the therapists model, until eventually the unexamined presuppositions allude to the belief system of the therapist, and supports the therapists definition of the client as acting in ways that show he believes this true as well. This leaves the client in a situation that is difficult to challenge, or meta- communicate about, and leaves little chance for the therapists’ model (NLP itself) to be challenged or accountable for failure, as up to that point the client was responsive and it appeared that the therapist was in control.  

Now I want to refer briefly back to the Double Bind that the Troubled Teen Industry places on kids who are forced to be there. This is the realization that at some point one must ‘play at not playing’ the game of therapy, or pretend to want the ‘help’ they are being confronted with, if one is to ease their life in program and get out. In this context NLP is invaluable for molding behavior because therapy under the context of force is experienced as punishment, and something to be avoided.

Being the subject of therapy, then, amounts to a context of learning to utilize outwardly ‘congruent’ messages as avoidance behavior in response to threat of punishment. In group therapy each individual in the ‘hot seat’ is a context for everyone to learn which behaviors the therapist is accepting of and which to avoid. It is in this way that coercive persuasion can be used and the intention always remains ambiguous. In this way the entire school can be witness to a single interaction between a student and staff, learn to act out of fear of having the same experience, but as a group everyone will outwardly accept the transaction as ‘therapeutic’ ‘working on themselves’ ‘individual progress’ and the like.

Furthermore, as force cannot be overtly identified due to the ambiguity of the double bind that asserts it is therapy, the suggestion for how to act is given in a non- direct way by the therapist. The behavior when actually produced is therefore not felt by the subject as being done under the direction of, or the direct threat of, the therapist. It is felt as something they want to do as a result of believing that the therapist himself believes what he is presenting (and he in fact may believe this to achieve the same end.) It is the result of the total control and unchallengeable position of the therapist, combined with an interactional context that proves him to be pathologically unreasonable. It may be comparable to being under the control of someone that is insane and therefore abandoning logical approaches in favor of trying to understand that person’s model of the world and predict what is going to best help you survive, but in reality the person isn’t insane at all, but just lying to get you to act that way.

 In the Troubled Teen Industry, we cannot label behavior change in such a context with such terms as ‘personal growth’ ‘therapy’ ‘cure of disorder’ etc. It is the result of a shared pathology resulting from the unchallenged, and therefore accepted, social fictions held within the group interaction. Abusive situations do not need to consist of screaming, violence or any of the more popular arguments against the Troubled Teen Industry. They are artfully deployed and highly effective in the most highly esteemed programs.

I’ll conclude this by, first, saying that NLP is still very much alive today in just about any area of business that requires human interaction and communication, but it’s broadest application is still in the context of therapy. NLP has influence in the Troubled Teen Industry as it’s history has similar origins and it has a context within which NLP is most applicable. It is also very commonly seen in association with life coaching, and hypnosis trainings. I will refer back to my argument for why the TTI cannot function (yet must function) as a context for therapy, and that the results must be analyzed under the context of Double Binding

(read Double Bind: Mind Control in the TTI   viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30423  )

I will note the inherent dissociative effect of the double bind and the relationship of dissociation to mental illness or perceived symptoms of such) Even those who have been out of programs for decades still cannot transcend the Double bind of the Troubled Teen Industry until it is recognized on a societal level.

And finally, I am going to leave a list of NLP techniques and tools commonly used today, first of which is the meta-model, which I remember most in RAPS at CEDU. This is probably the most useful and reliable tool. It is pretty easy to ‘get the ball rolling’ using it, and  as a subject of therapy in such a context as the TTI there is very little you can do to protect yourself from it. You, the reader, could create this context with another (who will agree to you acting as therapist) and using the meta- model you could effortlessly perpetuate a communication cycle within this therapy ‘game’. Consider a group session in the Troubled Teen Industry, and how simply this maintains an outward appearance that it is not abusive. This is a short script, Let’s call Brad the counselor and Kate the teen, in a circle of chairs full of her peers.

Brad: Who should we start with today? Kate, you didn’t talk on Tuesday. What’s been going on with you?

Kate: I’ve been fine.

Brad: Just fine? Everythings just fine with you?

Kate: pretty much

Brad: What does ‘pretty much’ mean?

Kate: It means it’s going as well as I can expect it to. (looks up and right, shrugs shoulders, right hand turned up)

Brad: [chooses to focus on the shoulder shrug]  What’s this then? (shrugs shoulders) It doesn’t look like everything’s going that well. What is that?

Kate: I don’t know! I just don’t want to talk ok.

Brad: Why don’t you want to talk in here, specifically?

Kate: Because I just don’t want to ok! (Louder, clenches fist)

Brad: (looks at kates tense fist) know what I see kate? Someone whose just trying to hold it together. You’re not fine, what is one reason it so hard for you to open up in here?

Kate: I just don’t like talking about myself in front of everybody.

Brad: What about yourself, specifically, don’t you like to talk about it?

Kate: I don’t know. It makes just makes me uncomfortable.

Brad: Maybe that’s something we can work on. Is there a way you can feel more comfortable talking in here?

I think it can be seen how Kate is likely to modify her behavior to appear comfortable talking in group in the future.

NLP TCHNQUE#2 is the Milton Model. This achieves the opposite, or inverse function of the Meta Model and technically it is a technique of hypnosis, as it is derived from Milton Erickson, an unrivaled hypnotist. Much could be discussed on this, as Bandler and Grinder wrote books on him as well, but for now this will suffice.

NLPTCHNQUE#3 is pacing and leading. In hypnosis, this would be a modification of the ‘Yes Set’. It basically consists of Pacing the clients reality (saying things that the client experiences as true, validating their experience), and then Leading the reality, by asserting some possibility of ambiguous nature. Pacing and leading is a Milton Model (hypnotic) technique that can be intermittently used with the Meta-model to non-directly offering an option as to the direction that reality may take from this point. The basic pattern is (pace) (pace) (pace) [lead].. (repeat). Ex.

Brad (to Kate): You’re here(1)… You’re saying you’re fine(2)…. you’re clenching your fist(3)… and you’re angry about something[4]. What are you angry  about?

NLPTCHNQUE#4 Is Anchoring. Anchoring is often associated with classical conditioning theorizing that information regarding situational context is coded and accessed within states of mind. Re- accessing the state of mind also accesses information coded in that state. Essentially the concept  is to induce a state, or emotion, and at the height of emotion, or when the client is most fully associated with the state is when the therapist applies the anchor. The anchor can be anything perceivable, but must be unique enough to be memorable and able to re- connect the client with the state at a later time by triggering the anchor. It can be a specific touch, a word spoken in a particular way, a symbol, even taste or smell. To successfully anchor a state of mind the subject will need a lot of time being coached to associate that state with the surrounding stimulus by making sure it is uniquely present when the state occurs, but a successful anchor can be used in a non-direct, or ambiguous contex and still bring about the state of mind ,and the associated information, without the client being aware it was intentional. This is very much a part of successful hypnosis/ or hypnotherapy which is mostly a process of teaching the client (through many sessions) to refine their ability to ‘relax’ or go into trance more deeply each time, but using a unique anchor, (or many unique anchors likely) or accompanying stimulus (tone of voice, counting backwards, the ‘eagle eye’), but overall it is a process of learning how to interact, and develop a relationship with the hypnotist. Eventually states of mind can be achieved quickly by triggering the anchors that are unique to that state. These can become covert triggers. More on that ... oring.html and

NLPTECHNIQUE#5 Is Rapport. Rapport is the quality of harmony, recognition and mutual acceptance that exists between people when they are at ease with one another and where communication is occurring easily. Rapport is an essential basis for successful communication - if there is no rapport there is no (real) communication.

Rapport is gained by using the techniques:

Matching- very subtly match the clients non- verbal communication. Voice patterns, tone of voice, eye contact patterns, rate of breathing, posture.

Pacing and leading- above

NLPTECHNIQUE#6 Eye Accessing Cues-  This is far from a proven science that can be universally applied, but these concepts in mind they can be useful to test the clients eye patterns in contexts when he is being truthful, and then monitor his eyes during other questions in order to compare them to determine if someone is lying. Theoretically, when one is asked a question they analyze it through different processes and these processes will be shown via the direction of the eyes (link to chart ) Often a person will flick their eyes in various directions (Up left, up right, right down.. ex.) while they are processing an answer to a question. Another tactic is to spot trance behavior that happens as someone concludes the mental search and has found an answer they are considering giving. This could be represented by the client looking up left, up right, down right, down left and stopping. If the client has processed an answer you may spot trance behavior which is (at a brief moment) defocused gaze, softened or flattened facial features. This is the time to pull a ‘mind read’ on the client for two reasons. First it asserts control, and gives the impression that the therapist is highly observant and can see through the veil. And second, it will catch the client at a moment where he is not prepared to lie, or cover up his thought. This will result in a scramble to find an answer that will implicate him. The simple statement, you’re thinking about something, what is it?’ is enough.

There is more to come, but to the dedicated reader…

“Ethical concerns of manipulation have also been voiced: “so long as the influenced party's outcome is achieved at the same time as the influencer, this is "influencing with integrity." However, "Achieving your own outcome at the expense of or even without regard for the other party constitutes manipulation. What makes this particular 'informed manipulation' so frightening is that people with these skills acquire such personal power that they are able to affect people deeply, and their capacity to misguide others is thereby increased to the point of evil." (Seitz and Cohen 1992). Concerns have also been raised over NLP's use in “speed seduction” methods proposed by NLP proponents such as Ross Jeffries in that may encourage manipulation and coercion.

NLP and Cult Activities

NLP has been strongly associated with modern day cults (Tippet, 1994) (Langone, 1993)(Singer 2003), it is seen as an intrinsic part of modern ritual mind control tactics (Crabtree, 2002) and NLP has even been monitored by the Cult Awareness Network (Shupe & Darnell, 2000) and appears on some lists of cults (Howell, 2001). This has partly been attributed to NLP’s tendency to promote an “almost evangelical fervor” which makes practitioners unreceptive or even unprepared to countenance scientific reviews of NLP (Platt 2001).

Although the basic tenets of NLP have been proved by science to be incorrect and ineffective, concepts that NLP borrows from other areas, such as hypnosis, social psychology etc, are used to coerce cult members to do things that they would normally not do.  Certain cults use borrowed techniques within NLP, in combination with the occult and pseudoscience to claim modern day miracles and induce dependence and compliance on the part of the cult’s victims. Borrowed hypnotic techniques within NLP are used by both mild cults and very aggressive cults to induce dependence on the cult, and to further provide conditioning to induce compliance within the cult (Langone, 1993).  

The techniques used tend towards the drilling of guided imagery techniques that are designed to create suggestible circumstances for the mind so that the suggestions of the trainer/leader are instilled into the mind of the devotee or recruit.  The Australian Report, on Scientology has banned the use of these techniques within cults and religions in Australia due to their ability to create unhealthy dissociative states and delusion within the subjects.  Well trained psychologists even have to refer to the mind control aspects of NLP to help the victim recover from the NLP using cult.  Fortunately, the ill effects of these techniques is restricted only to those individuals using them extensively on their own, or during workshops, seminars, and other recruitment venues. ... ed/NLP.htm ”

I thought I’d post this for fun. but not entirely.

This is the prelude Bandler and Grinders, 'The structure of Magic', the work that began the field of neuro linguistic programming. It all begins with this short story, which is telling I think, and an awesome story for kids or not.


Reprinted from The Magus, by John Fowles

The Prince and the Magician

Once upon a time there was a young prince who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father's domains, and no sign of God, the prince believed his father.

But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace and came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling, creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.

"Are those real islands?" asked the young prince.

"Of course they are real islands," said the man in evening dress.

"And those strange and troubling creatures?"

"They are all genuine and authentic princesses."

"Then God must also exist!" cried the prince.

"I am God," replied the man in evening dress, with a bow.

The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.

"So, you are back," said his father, the king.

"I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God," said the prince reproachfully.

The king was unmoved. "Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God exist."

"I saw them!"

"Tell me how God was dressed." .

"God was in full evening dress."

"Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?"

The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled. "That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived."

At this, the prince returned to the next land and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress.

"My father, the king, has told me who you are," said the prince indignantly. "You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses,

because you are a magician."

The man on the shore smiled. "It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father's kingdom, there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father's spell, so you cannot see them."

The prince pensively returned home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eye. "Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?"

The king smiled and rolled back his sleeves. "Yes, my son, I'm only a magician."

"Then the man on the other shore was God."

"The man on the other shore was another magician."

"I must know the truth, the truth beyond magic."

"There is no truth beyond magic," said the king.

The prince was full of sadness. He said, "I will kill myself."

The king by magic caused death to appear . Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.

"Very well," he said, "I can bear it."

"You see, my son," said the king, "you, too, now begin to be a magician."



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