Neuro Linguistic Programming has been a modern psychotherapy favourite for quite some time now. Its innovative take on helping people take control of their thoughts, their attitudes and their personalities has helped empower many patients to lead better, richer, more successful and satisfactory lives. But how did this newfound approach to psychology come to be? What events lead to the development of this cutting edge technique of understanding the human mind? Let’s explore the history of Neuro Linguistic Programming or NLP therapy to understand its humble origins.
Two researchers, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, worked as a team to bring to light the benefits of Neuro Linguistic Therapy in front of the world. Grinder and Bandler were academicians in psychology, and started out by researching the work of three therapists – Virginia Satir, Fritz Perls and Milton Erikson. Intrigued by the success of Viginia Satir in her work on Family Therapy, and by the work of Fritz Perls, Grinder and Bandler began to apply their genius in linguistics and creativity to model and analyse their work.
Through studying and analysing the recordings and notes that Satir and Perls took during their therapies, Grinder and Bandler started to form a skeleton of what could be counted as discoveries leading to successes with both their patients. Their insights expanded, new ideas emerged and work began to grow, which attracted more researchers into their project. This ultimately led to expansion of their team, and the birth of many concepts took place that are still employed in NLP therapy today, like Language Models and Practitioner Trainings.
The first books published by Grinder and Bandler as a team were two volumes of “Structure of Magic”, which were based on their research and findings on NLP while they were still working on it. However, in the early-eighties, disagreements led both researchers to part ways and continue their individual journeys on NLP. This is where the nature of NLP changed completely – instead of being something that was achievable through discovery, NLP is being used as a way of achieving higher control over oneself and over own life’s direction – and eventually became the favourite tool of the people who wanted to achieve quick results in behavioural changes.
Today, NLP is still evolving. This therapy still continues to be advocated and utilised successfully by many therapists around the world. Practitioners add their own modifications to NLP to make it better, and call it their ‘type’. So, today, NLP exists more like a ‘movement’ with continuous quality additions being done to it.