States and Performance


State can be described as the set of specific values in a person’s physiology, neurology and biochemistry that gives rise to their behavioural expression and their subjective experience of themselves and the world in any given moment. Some states recur in each culture with sufficient frequency to have acquired labels in the appropriate language. Examples include joy, depression, happiness, angst, and joie de vivre. Naming states implies a commonality of experience, which is not necessarily the case. Naming states does not describe the differences in individual subjective experience which actually exist within any particular named state: I.e. one person’s generation and experience of elation, misery or anxiety will be different from someone else’s and two people deliberately generating the same conditions within their bodies may call the resulting state by different names. One part of exceptional effectiveness is the state we are in and that state can become a matter of choice.

“One part of exceptional effectiveness is the state we are in and that state can become a matter of choice.”

A person’s state is the condition in which they find themselves in any given moment. It includes our emotional experience and the placing and use of our attention on aspects of the world and/or our internal experience. Our states are altering, often imperceptibly, from moment to moment as we breathe, move and shift our attention. Yet most of the time, we operate under the illusion that our state remains relatively constant. Many people believe that they cannot alter their state on demand to create an optimal state for a context or a socially appropriate state for an event.


There is a relationship between our state and the quality of performance we can generate. A high performance state is an optimal state for taking a particular course of action in a specific context. It is not necessarily a high intensity, energetically expressive, loud, leaping state. That is just one example, derived from the personal development movement, in which such states were proposed for taking massive (unspecified) action. A high performance state for book keeping would be completely different as would a high performance state for engaging and holding an audience’s attention when giving an advanced lecture on a serious topic.

“There is a relationship between our state and the quality of performance we can generate. “

When we have a special event to attend or a specific activity to complete, we want a state that allows us access to all the relevant resources we need and enables us to express ourselves fluently and appropriately for the context. On some days we feel more resourceful than others and many of us only dream of being able to change that. The first step is to recognise that we can change our state, to believe that states are amenable to change and can be altered to fit the person’s circumstances.

If the idea of a person changing their state deliberately is too unlikely to contemplate, nature has provided plenty of examples of state changes in daily life. Vigorous physical activity is one such example. Any exercise teacher can confirm that people arriving for class at the end of the work day are still in work mode. Their attention has shifted completely by the end of the class, no longer preoccupied with things that happened at work, often in a lighter mood, stretched, relaxed and ready for the evening. Laughing changes people’s state; so does listening to music, watching television, reading or playing with our children or pets. Going for a brisk walk for about 10 minutes will change our state and thereby allow different ideas and resources to become available if we are stuck or out of ideas. Even a single piece of information can prompt a change in our state.

The second step is to identify the qualities of the state we want and those of the state we have been in and want to change. This is known as taking an inventory of our state. There are several sets of qualities which we can use to do this, including our use of attention, qualities of postures, movement and levels of muscular tension. It helps to be able to step metaphorically out of our own shoes into an observer’s position so we can effectively see and hear ourselves from outside our own skin. This brings our state into relief, so we can identify its elements. If we are familiar with the observer’s position, this alone helps us to get out of a pervasive and unwanted state. At least two forms of inventory and the observer position are learned routinely in the first units of the Grad Cert NLP. Self management is an essential skill in creating tailored high performance states.

Dr. John Grinder, the co-originator of NLP and of the New Code, proposes a relationship between the way we are breathing, our physiology, our state and our performance. He calls it the Chain of Excellence. His proposal is that if we want to create a natural high performance state that fits us and adapts to our context, we need to change state. To do this we need to alter the way we are using our bodies; our physiology and the simplest way to do that is to change the way we are breathing. Generally, if we are anxious or concerned about something, our breathing has become shallow and possibly irregular. A good place to start for most resourceful states is to deepen our breathing and make it slow and regular. Changing state this way takes a few minutes. The kinaesthetic system moves more slowly than sounds and images, so it is not instant. If you believe you have tried something like this without results, give it at least three minutes. It will not necessarily create the perfect high performance state for your immediate needs, but it will be a marked improvement. To get specific, good NLP training or coaching is a source of skill.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP claim your free copy of , our e-book ‘The New Code NLP; A Paradigm Shift by Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For a limited time only, here).

Putting It All Together

Ideally, once we are aware of a context where we want a high performance state, we can create one to fit the bill. This is best done with the cooperation of our unconscious resources. The rational mind is very good at defining the context and describing the job to be done there, but it is not the resource of choice for determining what qualities need to be in the desired state. The cognitive unconscious can take the conscious description and provide qualities that allow for flexibility in the state as well as the most fitting attributes to begin it. A high performance state is the most fitting set of qualities and attributes for completing the tasks and interactions that actually occur in a specific context, not just those that were expected.

“We can manage, change, create and use our states to foster our best performance in a variety of contexts.”

We can learn to manage, change, create, use and organise our states to foster our best performance in a variety of contexts, public, private, social, formal and informal. It gives us an edge in our professional lives and reduces unwanted stress anywhere. It is possible, demonstrable and can be learned safely and naturally from competent NLP New Code coaches, management consultants and trainers and they do contribute to exceptional effectiveness.

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP claim your free copy of , our e-book ‘The New Code NLP; A Paradigm Shift by Chris Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For a limited time only, here).

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The Who’s who of NLP

John Grinder

Dr. John Grinder is the co-creator of Neuro-linguistic Programming. He was an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz when Bandler first approached him for assistance in modelling the skills of Fritz Perls. Since co-creating the original models of NLP (the Meta model, representational systems, eye accessing cues and the Milton model) John has continued to model new patterns. First he co-created the NLP new code with Judith DeLozier. Then, more recently he has created NLP models and applications for cultural and organisational change in corporations with his partner Carmen Bostic St Clair. John and Carmen’s latest book ‘Whispering in the Wind‘ is a seminal work. It defines the scope of the field of NLP and specifies the necessary and sufficient conditions for effective NLP modelling. At the same time it identifies the intellectual antecedents of NLP and places the field in its historical context.

Richard Bandler

Richard Bandler is the other co-creator of NLP. Having co-created the original models of NLP with Grinder, Bandler produced a series of applications of NLP based on an elaboration of the sub modalities model. In recent years Richard has developed his new NLP model, Design Human Engineering.

Frank Pucelik

Frank Pucelik was the third person involved in the beginning of NLP. He worked with Richard Bandler in the first attempt to model the patterns used by Fritz Perls to achieve reliable success with Gestalt therapy. He remained in the original research group as a participating member when Bandler and Grinder teamed up. Frank is best known for co-writing ‘Magic Demystified’ with Byron Lewis. “Magic” remains an excellent introduction to NLP.

Contributing Developers to NLP

Leslie Cameron-Bandler

Leslie Cameron-Bandler was in the original Bandler and Grinder research group in Santa Cruz. Leslie is best known as the developer of Meta Programs, a content model in NLP. According to Leslie Cameron-Bandler,

“….for ten years I’d been looking for what’s the patterns that tell me about the person and for a long time I thought it was Meta Programmes and then it turned out not to be cause[sic.] they change by context too, so always I’d been looking for what’s the essence, what’s the core, because that’s what I want to be able to touch…”
From tape 6 side A of ‘Empowerment: The power that produces success’.

She also developed an NLP model for exploring patterns of organisation of emotions (with Michael Lebeau) and a system for modelling personality called the Imperative Self. Her model of the structure of emotions is published in the book ‘The Emotional Hostage’. She co-developed a description of modelling called ‘The Emprint Method’ with Michael LeBeau and David Gordon which is published in a book of the same name. Leslie’s model of the structure of emotions is an excellent application of NLP for creating emotional choice.

Judith DeLozier

Judith DeLozier was also in the original NLP research group. She co-developed the new code of NLP with John Grinder and together they wrote ‘Turtles All the Way Down; Prerequisites to personal genius’. Currently she works with Robert Dilts at Dynamic Learning Center in Santa Cruz, California. DeLozier and Grinder’s new code of NLP is one of the most significant contributions to establishing the field of NLP.

Stephen Gilligan

Dr. Stephen Gilligan was a member of the original research group with Dr. John Grinder and Richard Bandler when they were developing NLP at U.C.S.C. Santa Cruz. He was introduced to Dr. Milton H. Erickson at that time and has the distinction of being the only person to be invited to train with Erickson while still an undergraduate.

Over the next five years he spent a substantial amount of time with Erickson and has become a world leader in Erickson’s therapeutic methods. Today, Gilligan has a Ph.D. in psychology and is an influential member of the Erickson Foundation, an organisation of health professionals dedicated to the furtherance of Erickson’s work.

He also teaches Ericksonian hypnosis around the world, sponsored by members of the Ericksonian Foundation and some NLP training institutes. Gilligan is the author of ‘Therapeutic Trances; the Co-operation Principle in Ericksonian Psychotherapy’, ‘Therapeutic Conversations’, ‘The Courage to Love; Principles and Practices of Self-Relations Psychotherapy’. He edited ‘Brief Therapy; Myths, Methods and Metaphors’ with Dr. Jeffrey K. Zeig and co-presented two volumes of ‘The Syntax of Behavior’ tape series with Dr. John Grinder.

David Gordon

David Gordon was another member of the original NLP research group. His most notable area of contribution to NLP is the use of metaphors to effect change. He wrote ‘Therapeutic Metaphors’, co-wrote ‘Phoenix’ with Meribeth Meyers-Anderson and later co-wrote ‘Know How‘ and ‘The Emprint Method’ with Leslie Cameron-Bandler and Michael LeBeau. In recent years he has developed a model for modelling called the Experiential Array.

Robert Dilts

Robert has been involved with NLP since meeting John Grinder while a student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He co-authored ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming Volume 1’ along with John Grinder, Richard Bandler, Judith DeLozier and Leslie Cameron-Bandler in 1981. Since then he has written numerous books on NLP and its applications to health, creativity, education, leadership, business and NLP modelling. He is well known in the NLP community for his Re-Imprinting technique as well as other NLP formats and models. Over the last 20 years Robert has evolved a description of NLP which he calls Systemic NLP. Currently he works with Judith DeLozier and Teresa Epstein at NLP University in Santa Cruz.

Steve and Connirae Andreas

With over 20 years of experience in the discipline of NLP, Steve and his wife Connirae founded NLP Comprehensive, one of the first major NLP training institutes in the USA.

Steve Andreas was previously known as John O. Stevens when he was a significant figure in the Gestalt therapy and personal development movement. His publishing company, Real People Press published ‘Gestalt Therapy Verbatim’ by the creator of Gestalt Therapy, Fritz Perls and Perls’ autobiography, ‘In and Out the Garbage Pail’. Steve himself wrote ‘Awareness: Exploring, Experiencing and Experimenting’, a book of group exercise based on Gestalt Therapy.

Steve and Connirae edited and published many classic NLP books written by the originators, Richard Bandler and John Grinder. These include: ‘Frogs into Princes’, ‘Trance-formations’, ‘Reframing’ and ‘Using your Brain for a Change‘. Later they wrote many other books on NLP including ‘Virginia Satir, The patterns of her Magic’, ‘Core Transformation’, ‘Heart of the Mind’ and ‘Change your Mind and keep the Change’.

Steve and Connirae have developed a number of NLP processes based on their extensive work with sub modalities. These include the grief and forgiveness patterns and the original modelling and development of mental timelines in NLP.

Christina Hall

Chris is a well-known and respected international trainer and major contributer to the development of NLP. She began her NLP training with the Co-developers close to 25 years ago during the pioneering days (1977), and became a Certified NLP Trainer in 1980. Having spent five years (1981-1986) in apprenticeship training with NLP co-creator Richard Bandler. She has incorporated into her teachings and applications a unique and singular insider’s perspective.

Chris collaborated in producing some of the most outstanding developments of that time, including sub-modalities, the swish pattern, the compulsion blow out, temporal language patterns and verbal swishes, and many of the Sleight of Mouth Patterns. Focusing on a systems and holistic orientation, she has become best known for her work with the structure of time and her mastery and innovations in the area of language patterning an approach which she refers to as Neuro-Systemic linguistics’.

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Gathering Superior Information with NLP Models

NLP and Gathering Information from Others

NLP, as you may know, stands for neuro (brain/thinking) linguistic (pertaining to language and its use) programming (creating algorithms to run specific processes in response to identified cues). In case it is not obvious, this description refers to processes and process instructions for responding to patterns detected in the world. The content of the detected material does not contribute to the choice of algorithm. The form remains constant through different content expressions on different occasions.

Imagine a sunbeam shining in through a window. If the window is clean and the air is clear, you can see a window-shaped patch of sunlight on the floor. If the room is smoky, you can detect the whole length of the sunbeam from window to floor and see exactly where it starts and ends. To follow the content, we would fixate on the need for smoke to reveal the path of the sunbeam. When we follow form, or pattern, we need something off which the light can reflect, to show where the sunbeam is. We could stick our arms into the light and wave them around, or throw flour into the sunbeam, or drop glitter or dead leaves through the air, or may be stir up dust or talcum powder. Any of these would render the sunbeam visible, which was our outcome in this experiment.

Questions that respond to the form of a person’s language

Now imagine having a set of questions that respond to the form of a person’s use of language. The outcome is to gather high quality information about any content under discussion and to be able to do so without deep subject knowledge. This makes content free coaching possible and effective. We can use linguistic form to assist anyone; even experts refine their thinking on their own subject or to get user friendly and accurate directions to someone’s office. We could map the form into another language and still follow the same cues.

Grinder and Bandler (mostly Grinder) developed neuro-linguistic programs for gathering high quality information in any context and they follow linguistic form. The most comprehensive set of language patterns for information gathering is the Meta Model of Language and it is the first time a comprehensive, form based linguistic model has been developed for this purpose. The meta model applies specific questions, known as ‘challenges’ to 13 linguistic forms or ‘violations’, each of which belongs to the class of linguistic distortions or generalizations or deletions.

The intent of challenging meta model violations is to bring accuracy to distorted comments, specificity to over generalised comments and restoration of information to deleted comments, regardless of the subject matter. This is designed to give the challenger the information they need, and/or to train the speaker or writer to think more clearly about the content under discussion. The meta model is applicable to anything that humans talk or write about.

Meta model challenges can be blunt. There are many stories of students learning the meta model and annoying the hell out of unsuspecting friends and relations when they first use the patterns outside class. Rapport maintaining activity, softeners surrounding the questions, gentle voice tones can all help to keep the subject interested and comfortable while finding the additional information called for by a challenge. Framing (explaining one’s intentions and what one is doing) is a great rapport enhancer, as the subject is then included in the process instead of being at the sharp end of it.

The cues for challenging meta model violations include:

  • Identifying (hearing or reading and recognising) one or more verbally expressed distortions, generalizations and/or deletions in someone’s language


  • Identifying a need to know more accurately, specifically or exactly and/or to teach clear thinking and articulate description


  • Identifying and implementing the level of rapport maintenance necessary to achieve the above.
  • When all of the above are activated, challenge detected meta model violations in the following order: first challenge distortions, then, if necessary challenge generalizations, finally, if necessary, challenge deletions. Also, please note, there is a most effective order within each class.

This is a lot of material to teach in one go, but is essential for anyone doing a comprehensive generic NLP training.

The Precision Model

There is a shorter version, the ‘Precision Model’, described in a book of that name by Grinder and MacMaster. The precision model is a cut down version of the meta model that covers challenges to generalization and deletion patterns. Like the newer specifier question model below, the precision model applies the questions, what, specifically and how, specifically to unclear nouns and verbs, describing these challenges as ‘noun blockbusters’ and ‘verb blockbusters’, respectively. The precision model also includes meta model challenges to statements of belief, known as modal operators of possibility (can, may, could and their opposites) and necessity (have to, must, should and their opposites) and to universal quantifiers (all, every, never, no-one). The precision model was designed to give people in business a shorter skill set than the meta model, one that would enable them to communicate more effectively and give and receive better quality instruction, but with less training and practice time.

For the many other people who could use a hand with giving and receiving information, Grinder and Bostic have now pared down the meta model to just two questions. You can use this model straight away, again, with rapport, after reading this page. The instructions are very simple.

The Verbal Package

‘What (noun) specifically?’, is asked in response to nouns, both abstract and concrete that could be clearer. ‘(Verb), how specifically’ is asked in response to unspecified and unclear verbs. Grinder recommends starting with the nouns. As with the meta model, a single question may not be adequate, but with repeated questioning with rapport, the desired specificity is obtainable provided the subject knows the answers.

Altering the form weakens the effect of these questions. While you can ask ‘Which (noun) specifically?’, instead of ‘What (noun) specifically?’ if you ask ‘What kind of (noun) specifically?’ you are eliciting a different class of response and it is not going to produce results. Ask ‘Which car, specifically?’ or ‘What outcome, specifically?’. With verbs ask, ‘Walk, how, specifically?” or ‘Put it down, how, specifically?’.

From the meta model, notice that the nouns and verbs being questioned, contain linguistic deletions and remember, the most effective order to challenge meta model violations is distortions first, then generalizations and deletions last. With this specifier model, Grinder proposes using specifier questions on nouns and verbs wherever there is a need to know. This includes nouns and verbs present in distorted and generalized sentences, too.

It is possible and functional to use specifier questions as Grinder proposes, because layered meta model violations occur in a single sentence, so specifying nouns and verbs contributes to clarifying distortions and specifying generalizations as well as restoring deleted material. Not only does every sentence derive from unspoken assumptions, every sentence also includes nouns and verbs that could be more specific, regardless of any overarching distortion or generalization in the larger text.

The cues for challenging non-specific nouns and verbs include:

  • Identifying (hearing or reading and recognising) one or more vague or under specified noun and/or verb in someone’s language


  • Identifying a need to know more accurately, specifically or exactly and/or to teach clear thinking and articulate description


  • Identifying and implementing the level of rapport maintenance necessary to achieve the above.
    When all the above conditions are met, ask ‘What (noun) specifically?’ and ‘(Verb) how, specifically?’. Keep cycling until you reach a satisfactory conclusion. (‘Satisfactory how, specifically?’ That is up to you).

To find more on the specifier question model, follow up Grinder’s ‘Verbal Package’ in the New Code of NLP. The verbal package includes:

  • Framing (defining the context, conditions, intentions and limits for a conversation or activity),
  • The specifier questions we have discussed,
  • Paraphrase.

The Verbal package is taught as part of our one-day course ‘The Rules of Engagement‘.

© 2008 Jules Collingwood.

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An Interview With Chris And Jules Collingwood 2002

1. Who is the Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming training for?

Master Practitioner is for anyone who has done NLP Practitioner training and wants to take their NLP further. Master Practitioner is an advanced training for practitioners of NLP who want to enrich, refine, deepen and generalise their NLP skills. It will give them a thorough experience and understanding of the underlying patterning of NLP and develop their ability to model anything of interest to them. (Modelling is the heart of the field of NLP.) Master Practitioners can create and develop specific applications of NLP to any area of personal or business interest and have sufficient skills in NLP change work to enter private practice if they wish.

We have had business people, educators, engineers, information technology specialists, doctors, nurses, film-makers, solicitors, bankers, marketers, sales people, psychologists, yoga teachers, personal trainers, sports and life coaches participate in our Master Practitioner trainings.

2. What are the personal and professional benefits of doing Master Practitioner training with Chris and Jules?

As you discovered on completing a comprehensive NLP Practitioner training, NLP made a significant change to all areas of your life. Our Master practitioner training will support your continued development and extend and deepen the process begun on Practitioner. You will be able to apply the advanced patterns of NLP learned in this training to your ongoing personal development, your profession or business. You will also be able to develop interventions for any context from first principles.

Specifically, you will learn patterns that can be applied to enhancing your relationships with family, friends and the people you work with, improved communication skills, negotiation skills, cognitive ability and organisational skills.

More importantly, you will learn to detect patterns and build models of human behaviour for yourself. As a result you will be able to evolve your skills in an ongoing way after the training period has finished. Being able to model means you can learn anything under your own direction. Think of some of the people you have met who have wonderful skills and thinking patterns. Would you like to be able to model these for yourself or to transfer them to other people? The ability to model your own and other people’s skills and patterns opens up the doorway to a wide range of human excellence suited to any area of life where you want to enhance or develop your performance.

3. What is the purpose of this training?

The purpose of our Master Practitioner training is to create a context for you to deepen your appreciation of NLP as an epistemology with all the practical benefits that entails. In addition, you will have the opportunity to enhance your skill development in any areas of your life through learning to model and generalise NLP patterning into how you are in the world, how you do in the world and how you think.

4. How specifically is Master Practitioner training with Chris and Jules Collingwood different from other Master Practitioner trainings within the NLP community?

This is a non-trivial question and can be broken up into the following; an emergent learning approach to learning NLP, developing a practical, flexible and generalised application of NLP, an emphasis on learning how to model yourself and others and an exploration of the epistemology of NLP.

Emergent learning

All our certification courses are structured around the core competency of NLP modelling. We model what we teach and create contexts for discovery of patterns in action. Participants experience the patterns through live exposure or ‘first access’ (Grinder & Bostic St Clair, 2001) in all senses through exercises, games and tasks.

It is our intention that participants experience the patterns of NLP before acquiring conscious understanding and labelling for them. Our emphasis is always on replicating the skill or pattern in question, not talking about it and not reproducing a scripted format. Participants experience emergence of NLP patterning in their daily life, from which appropriate emergent understandings then follow. We call this approach ’emergent learning’.

We have a friend who models languages and cultures using an emergent modelling process. He is a socio-linguist who now speaks a number of Asian languages. When he enters a culture to learn a language he puts aside his first language, (in his case English), opens his peripheral vision and turns off his internal dialogue. He adjusts his physiology to match the people around him and enters into a rich sensory experience (First Access) of the context. He is able to experience the gestalt without conscious evaluation and without his usual linguistic filters (English). Within three months, he has first fluency in the target language (the ability to hold basic conversations with members of that culture). At this stage, he is unable to translate to and from the new language. He is very comfortable with delayed conscious understanding as his outcome is fluency in that language with appropriate gestures, accent and cultural presuppositions. His learning of the language is through First Access, not linguistic translation, (secondary representation), as commonly experienced in language labs. His accent is of the place where he modelled the language.

Practical ability and flexibility in doing NLP

The emergent approach to learning NLP enables the user to communicate spontaneously and naturally, with their own style and vocabulary. A practitioner can respond flexibly to the patterns they observe in other people’s communication instead of relying on scripted formats (NLP techniques). When applying NLP to themselves, the practitioner is able to self-model, (track and transform their own patterns and/or code) and to demonstrate new patterns of behaviour.

Emphasis on learning how to model

The emphasis in our Master Practitioner training is on learning to model yourself and others, and on developing an experiential (first) and conceptual (second) understanding of the epistemology of NLP.

The epistemology of NLP

Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. Accordingly, the epistemology of NLP is how we know what we know in the field of NLP. Having a rich, explicit understanding of the epistemological foundations of NLP is of fundamental importance for Master Practitioners of NLP. This supports Master Practitioners in modelling human excellence and developing new applications of NLP. It facilitates Master Practitioners and NLP trainers in contributing new models and applications of NLP to the field of NLP. If you are going to teach NLP, you have a responsibility to know and demonstrate your material. The foundation for developing a rigorous conceptual understanding of the epistemology of NLP is to have NLP patterning integrated unconsciously in your thinking before conscious understanding occurs, and to have learned pattern-modelling skills as an unconscious competence. While it is possible for people to work their way back to experiential skill from conceptual understanding, the process takes longer and carries a serious risk of distorting NLP as an epistemology and methodology for modelling human excellence.

Trying to understand NLP consciously, without prior comprehensive experiential immersion in the patterning, usually leads to poor skills and misunderstanding of NLP. This is evident in parts of the NLP community today where epistemologically shoddy models, content descriptions, and trainers’ personal philosophies are being passed off as NLP. This leads to poor outcomes for trainees and misrepresentation of the field itself! If trainers wish to teach NLP, they have a duty of care to the field and to their students to teach the epistemology of NLP as part of their certification trainings. If they are unwilling or unable to do so then they have a responsibility to state that their offering is a particular application of NLP and not a course in formal NLP.

One part of Self-modelling is significant personal development through exploring and changing your self-concept

Part of the training is a section on formal self-modelling by exploring, transforming and developing your self-concept. The function of this element of the Master Practitioner training is personal development. Participants have an opportunity to explore experientially, model, then make explicit significant patterns, perceptual filters and intentions (values) that have been incorporated into their maps of self, their self concept. Participants then have the opportunity to work with each other to transform any limiting patterns. We will be drawing on methods developed by Steve Andreas to incorporate and generalise new qualities, behaviours and skills into one’s self-concept.

5. Your Master Practitioner training has an emphasis on modelling? How can learning to Model be of benefit my life?

If you have the ability to create practical models of human excellence, then you have the leverage to learn any desirable skill that you want. The task then becomes one of finding suitable models of excellence, with expertise in the skills that you want.

You will learn to identify models of excellence, arrange a modelling project, take an unconscious uptake of the skill, replicate and create an appropriate description of the skill in a code that supports transfer of that skill to others. We will also explore how to carve up the skill into exercises and formats (appropriately chunk the model) once you have the model for teaching that skill to other people.

If you want to develop one or more applications of NLP and to do so successfully, it is necessary to have a well-elaborated ability to model. Being able to model gives you the means to create your own applications rather than depend solely on existing NLP applications developed by other people. Some of our Master Practitioner graduates have extended their modelling projects into comprehensive applications of NLP. One of our graduates, Geoff Wade, modelled three superb sales people. After completing the training he extended the project and created a new application of NLP to sales. He has written a book on selling, which is about to be published. It is the most wonderful book I have read on applying NLP to high value added sales.

If you decide to attend our Master Practitioner training, choose your models for your modelling project with care and it could result in a very valuable application of NLP. You have an opportunity to make both a significant contribution to yourself and to the NLP community at the same time.

6. How are student’s skills evaluated?

For Master Practitioner certification, there are 3 forms of evaluation

The first is experiential evaluation over the last 2 days of training. During this period, we assess the skills that have been taught experientially. The two days include practical exercises, a full piece of work to a client’s specification and a short presentation on an aspect of NLP to be determined at the time.

The second assessment piece is the completion of a modelling project within 3 months of the end of the training. The third assessment piece is a conceptual evaluation in the form of written answers to a set of questions based on the required texts and the Practitioner and Master Practitioner training materials.

We recommend that students wait until the end of the course before doing the set reading and completing the conceptual evaluation. We emphasise the importance of experiential learning as the foundation for conceptual understandings. You may have met people who can talk a lot about NLP yet do it poorly if at all. Our intention with all our certification trainings is the development of students’ skills in NLP.

7. Are there any special benefits for graduates of the Master Practitioner training?

Repeating the training

We want the people who participate in our certification trainings to become excellent in doing NLP. Repeated exposure to NLP patterning and practising formal NLP training drills develops skill in NLP, so we encourage and support Master Practitioner graduates to repeat the course. Apart from charging a small fee ($5.00 per day approx) to cover expenses such as tea and coffee, repeating the course is free and includes extra tuition in coaching skills and sensory acuity for those who function as trainers’ assistants.

The opportunity to become a Life Coach

For Master Practitioner and Practitioner of Ericksonian Hypnosis graduates who demonstrate a high level of skill with their NLP we may offer the opportunity to be an Inspiritive Life Coach and have the benefits of being marketed through our NLP resource website.

8. I have seen trainings of 10 days advertised as Master Practitioner Certification. Your training is 20 days. What is the value in having 20 days for the Master Practitioner training?

In the interest of a high level of skill development in modelling self and others during this training, we will be creating a rich multi-description of the NLP patterning through a broad range of presentations, metaphors, exercises and discovery games. With advanced language patterns, advanced processes, process design, construction and deconstruction as well as modelling, self-concept work and personality mapping, we would prefer 24 days but contain it in a nominal 20. Most years, we offer free extra evening sessions between course sessions to complete the personality mapping component.

© 2002 Chris and Jules Collingwood

Please note that Master Practitioner of NLP training has been replaced by the new post-graduate qualification – 1-250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.


Christopher Collingwood Dip Training and Assessment Systems, BA, Grad Cert NLP., MAppSci Social Ecology, NLP Trainer Assessor

Jules Collingwood Dip Training and Assessment Systems,Cert TEFL, RN, BSc, Grad Cert NLP., Postgrad Dip Conflict Resolution, NLP Trainer Assessor

Training Programmes:

10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming information for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Further reading:

The NLP Field Guide; Part 1. A reference manual of practitioner level patterns, by Chris and Jules Collingwood

An Interview With Steve Andreas 2001

Steve Andreas is an NLP trainer, author, publisher, modeler, and developer, with over 24 years experience in the field. With his wife Connirae Andreas he founded NLP Comprehensive in Colorado, one of the earliest NLP training institutes. Besides being certified as an NLP trainer by Bandler and Grinder, Steve has a BS in chemistry and an MA in psychology.

Before becoming involved in NLP in 1977, (and before changing his name from John O. Stevens to Steve Andreas) he was involved in Gestalt Therapy for ten years, and he also published two books by Fritz Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim and Perls’ autobiography In and Out the Garbage Pail. He also wrote Awareness: exploring, experiencing, experimenting, a book of group exercises based on Gestalt Therapy.

Through their publishing company, Real People Press, Steve and Connirae edited and published a number of classic NLP books by the original co-developers Richard Bandler and John Grinder: Frogs into Princes, Trance-formations, Reframing, and Using Your Brain-for a Change.

Steve and Connirae went on to author several books on NLP. They co-authored Heart of the Mind and Change Your Mind-and Keep the Change. Connirae wrote Core Transformations with her sister Tamara Andreas, and Steve wrote Virginia Satir; the Patterns of Her Magic.

Steve and Connirae have developed a number of NLP patterns and processes, most of them based on their extensive work with submodalities. NLP Comprehensive was the first NLP training institute to incorporate submodalities into their Practitioner training.

Steve will be teaching two NLP seminars for us titled ‘Recreating Yourself’ and ‘Logical levels of Meaning in Language and Experience’ here in Sydney Australia October 2001. The following are Steve’s responses to questions that we asked him by email:

1. You were quite active in Gestalt Therapy for many years. What led you from that to NLP?

I had organized the first Gestalt Therapy conference in 1975 in Estes Park Colorado, which is where I met Connirae. I turned the conference over to others, and in August 1977 we went to the 3rd Annual Conference in Berkeley, California. There Connirae and I went to an impromptu talk about NLP by another Gestalt Therapist. He had just been to a 5-day workshop with Richard and John, and was really excited. He said a lot of things that we found very hard to believe, but they were all easily tested. So Connirae and I asked everyone we met questions and watched their eye-accessing cues. The results of that hooked us, and I put Gestalt on the shelf and we started going to seminars.

2. What do you perceive as the most significant NLP patterns of your many contributions to the field of NLP?

I think you should probably ask that question of someone a little less biased than I am. But if I have to answer, I’d say our forgiveness pattern is particularly elegant and useful. If it were more widely used, it could do a great deal to end the anger, resentment, blaming and revenge that does so much violence and harm in the world. That would free up a lot of human energy for figuring out how to solve problems instead of blaming others for them. My next choice would be the self-concept modeling that I have done more recently. The problems resulting from self-importance and ego are legendary and have been discussed by sages and saints for thousands of years, but without an effective methodology for doing anything about it.

2. How did you come to discover timelines?

Connirae and I modeled Timelines in early 1984, at a time when we were learning about submodalities in depth from Richard Bandler, and we taught it as part of our first Advanced Submodalities training in March 1984. We assumed that there was a submodality structure underlying all experience, and the experience of time was one of the things we investigated. People can read about that in more detail in our 1991 article ‘A Brief History of Timelines.’

3. Does it bother you that many people are unaware that you made these important discoveries and attribute them to others?

Well, it’s always nice to get credit. Some developments have many different roots, so sometimes it’s difficult to determine the relative contributions of different people. But when we have copyrighted seminar notes dated 1984, and someone who was first introduced to NLP in 1985 claims credit for it, it’s time to put our forgiveness pattern to work.

4. What draws your attention to your next area for modeling and what criteria do you use to decide to go ahead with a project?

Personal interest, mostly, and that is something that waxes and wanes over time. I modeled the first small piece of self-concept about twelve years ago, which appears as Chapter 3 in our book Heart of the Mind. Although it was a very limited piece, it was quite useful, and quite profound in its widespread results. Then a couple of years later I scheduled a low-cost ‘research’ seminar for master practitioners, in which we explored self-concept in a lot more detail, enough that I felt comfortable teaching it in a weekend workshop. Each time I have taught it over the years, I have learned even more, and now that I am writing it up in book form, I am learning more still. So modeling is a process that never really ends, and I don’t think of it as a “project,” but more just continuing to follow up on what interests me, as time permits, and as long as it’s productive.

5. Have you ever started investigating a potential modeling project and then decided it was not suitable? If so, what criteria were not met?

That’s a tough question. I can’t think of an example of that. I have often guided participants with the modeling projects that have been an optional, though highly-recommended, part of NLP Comprehensive’s Master Practitioner Training for years. I think almost any question is useful to follow up on if it is chunked small enough – and probably very few questions are very useful if they are chunked too large.

6. What would you advise people to do if they want to get really good at NLP?

Our favorite story in that regard is about a man who is trying of find his way to a concert in New York City. He sees a guy with a violin case, and thinks, “Oh, I’ll bet he knows where it is,” so he walks up and asks him “How can I get to Carnegie Hall?” And the man with the violin case says emphatically, “Practice, man, practice!” When we have developed a new pattern like the grief resolution process, we only become moderately confident of it after we have run about 30 clients through it, and at that point there are usually still some surprises ahead for us.

7. How do you know when someone is really accomplished at NLP?

Primarily by the results s/he gets. Secondarily by the overall understandings that unify all the different specific methods into a whole. It is this kind of understanding that can keep you going in a useful direction when the specific method doesn’t work. I have written about a few of these understandings in an article, “What Makes a Good NLPer.”

8. Do you think it is necessary to train to apply NLP to therapy, business or education after becoming a practitioner or master practitioner of NLP?

Well, certainly the applications in those different areas require different skills. That depends a lot on how the Practitioner or Master Practitioner training is designed and focused. But basically training never ends. When he was 95, someone asked Pablo Casals (then the world’s greatest cellist) why he still practiced six hours a day. Casals replied, “Because I think I am still making progress.”

9. How would you like to see NLP develop from its present state?

Iwould like to see NLP develop more into a personal practice that empowers people, rather than only a way to influence others by selling more widgets, or curing phobias faster than anyone else. I would like to see NLP applied more to the problems that are tearing apart our world and threaten to leave no safe place for us to live. Unfortunately that often means working with people who have little money to spend on such things, and often even less interest in doing so. I would also like NLP to develop into a coherent field, but that will probably take some time.

10. Do you have any hopes for the NLP community?

Not many. There really isn’t an NLP community at this time, though perhaps there are a number of different communities. I don’t think there will be a single one until everyone involved agrees on a set of fundamental presuppositions, and begins to look on NLP as a field of inquiry, and not just a way to make a quick dollar. Quite a number of NLP trainers, including some of the bigger names in the field, are teaching unecological “patterns” without any ecology frames whatsoever. That doesn’t solve problems, it only exchanges one problem for another, and the new one is sometimes worse than the first. In the early days of physics there were many subgroups and personal attacks, until they came to agreement about what physics was all about, and what constituted appropriate ways to confirm theories, and so on. That is sorely lacking in NLP, and I think it is an absolute prerequisite for a real community, and for the consolidation of the field as a whole.

11. What is your opinion of the shortening of NLP Practitioner trainings from 24 days to 16, then 9 and now 7 day trainings?

I have written a little about this in a sort article titled ‘NLPers doing therapy?!’ Briefly, twenty-four days is less than one-eighth of a freshman year in college, barely long enough to start learning NLP. In the US, manicurists and barbers are required to train considerably longer than 24 days for their certificates. Would you want to go to a medical doctor who had only 24 days of training? Most of the people I know who are really good at NLP assisted at several trainings after being certified, in order to consolidate and expand on what they had learned. As new methods and patterns were developed over the years, we kept adding them into our trainings, because we thought of it all as basic material that everyone should know, but then we had to decide what else to leave out of the 24 days. Short trainings are accommodations to people’s desire for a cheap training with a certificate, not the need for quality, and I think that they really should be called “short change” trainings?

12. With some NLP Training organisations it is possible to go from no NLP experience to having NLP Trainer certification in as little as 6 months and to be out there teaching NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner certifications. How much training over what period of time would you consider appropriate for someone to become a competent NLP Trainer starting with no experience?

Maybe there is a genius somewhere who could learn to be a good practitioner-level trainer in six months, but I don’t know anyone who has done it in less than about four years of very diligent work, and all of those had prior experience in teaching. Training is a complex task that requires a quite a number of different skills, and there are many people who either are not suited for it, or who are not interested in putting in the time to learn those skills. The idea that anyone can be taught to be a competent trainer in a short training is outright deception. In our entire career, Connirae and I have only certified twelve people as trainers, and that was always only after many years of practice with detailed video feedback. For us, trainer certification was always completely separate from trainer training, and it meant that we considered someone capable enough to begin to train at the practitioner level.

13. What do you think of the trend of some NLP training organisations to certify Master trainers and more recently Master Trainer Elite?

I think it is a rather bad joke – not funny at all, really. I know only one so-called “Master Trainer” that I would personally allow to teach in a practitioner training, and his ability has absolutely nothing to do with that designation, which he does not use in publicity. I haven’t even heard of the “Master Trainer Elite” designation! Next I suppose we can expect “Supreme Master NLP Trainer of the Universe.” Like the “short change” workshops, those titles are self-serving market-driven attempts to appear superior to the competition, and nothing more. Many years ago Connirae and I wrote up our “Consumer’s Guide to Good Training,” and the title that a trainer had played absolutely no part in it. We advise people to go to trainings by people who can demonstrate what they do, not just give themselves superior-sounding names.

14. You are continuing to model and develop new NLP patterns. What are your current areas of interest and exploration and are we likely to see a new book from you sometime soon?

I am working hard right now on a book about the self-concept material – in between the demands of being the father of three teenage boys, and being the owner of a small publishing business, and teaching workshops. I hope to have the book out sometime later this year. Recently I went back to reexamine Modal Operators and learned quite a lot about them that is not taught in any training that I know of. In response to an email, I recently wrote up a piece on Certainty and Uncertainty that pleased me greatly. Certainty is a meta-level evaluation of an experience or belief that locks it in and makes it very difficult to change. So before you can change the belief, you first need to work with the degree of certainty about it. In this situation, trying to change the belief or experience first is a complete waste of time. Exploring this kind of meta-frame is something that isn’t often taught, and it is an area that I’m sure has much more in it. Very few people have any notion of the different logical levels of generalization from experience, and fewer yet are able to track these levels and move among them systematically to work at the most useful and appropriate level. Another example of this appears in the self-concept material. The self-concept is a generalization from experience, and my modeling of this has determined the different ways that people select experiences to include in their self-concept and how to represent them. Self-esteem is a meta-level generalization about the self-concept, whether you like your self-concept or not. Yet most people use the words self-concept and self-esteem interchangeably, and have no idea how futile it is to work with self-esteem rather than self-concept.

15. If NLP is a neutral study of pattern detection and utilisation in and between living systems, how can something described as spirituality, be it practical or otherwise, be taught in the context of NLP other than as a content area to which NLP is applied?

Everything that we do in this field is applying NLP to a content area, to determine the patterns evident in that content area, and spirituality is simply another one of these content areas. Spirituality is just a word, of course, that has many different meanings to different people. But one of the common meanings of the word is for a person to have a felt sense of connection to a much larger universe. I think of spirituality and religion as distinctly separate, and I would say that for most people it is easier to experience spirituality without religion that within it. The felt sense of connection is something that even atheists like myself can experience through Connirae’s Core Transformation process, and it can be thought of as the largest frame, the largest chunk of all. A scientist contemplating the profundity and universality of E=MC2 (in a universe at least 13 billion light years across (and growing as we get better telescopes!) is really very close to the mystic who does something similar from a less rigorously mathematical perspective. We seem to be creatures who are determined to ask about these larger frames of meaning, and our answers to them are very important to us in organizing our lives. History is replete with examples of people who have transformed their entire lives profoundly after a spiritual experience. Given that, the structure of spiritual experience is worth exploring to find out what it is made up of, how we can gain some understanding of it, and ultimately how to create that experience and utilize it well.

© 2000 Steve Andreas, Chris and Jules Collingwood


Andreas, Connirae., Andreas, Steve. A Brief History of Timelines. VAK International NLP Newsletter Vol 10, No 1. Winter 1991-1992.

Andreas, Steve. NLPers Doing Therapy. Anchor Point, June 2000, Vol. 14, No. 6, pp. 26-27.

Andreas, Steve. Modal Operators. Anchor Point, January 2001, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.19-26.

Andreas, Steve. Certainty and Uncertainty. Anchor Point, October, 2000, Vol. 14, No. 10, pp. 3-8.

An interview with Chris Collingwood 1999

By Claire Andrea Zammit

1. What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming explores how we know what we know and how we do what we do. Neuro means brain, linguistics language and programming refers to coding (representation). It examines the relationships between thought, communication and behaviour.

NLP is an “epistemology” meaning the study of how we know what we know. You could think of it as a way of exploring the patterns of organisation and behaviour of human intuition (neuro-linguistic programmes).

NLP is also a “methodology” which allows us to unpack how we do what we do. By using NLP as a methodology we can explore how people organise their thinking processes, their beliefs and their behaviour so that we can replicate their skills and capabilities in particular areas. Those skills and capabilities can then be transferred to others. See our What is NLP? FAQ.

2. So how is it useful?

If someone is very skillful and has spent years developing a particular capability, we can use NLP to build a description of how they perform that capability. We can replicate the patterns of organisation that make up their intuitions and then those skills can be transferred to other people, so others can learn the same capabilities far more rapidly than would be possible through the usual ways of learning.

We modelled one of Sydney’s best futures and commodities traders. This gentleman gets a very high return on his trades. His average was 70% return per annum for the past seven years before we worked with him. We were able to unpack how he made such effective trading decisions and other important patterns concerning his trading. As a result we are able to work with other traders, coaching them to enhance their skills in derivatives trading.

In terms of application, there are descriptions of patterns of organisation from great psychotherapists, educators and business people available through the NLP community and generic NLP models for gathering high quality information, exploring thinking processes and enhancing relationships. If you want to learn how to learn, how to think and enhance your communication skills then NLP is useful.

3. Can NLP be used to make fast changes?

Some people get very rapid change. With others a number of consultations is more appropriate. It depends on the client, the context and the client’s outcome. An NLP practitioner will design a series of interventions to help each client create changes in an ecological time frame (a time frame that supports positive consequences for the client and their significant relationships). The relationship between client and practitioner is very important. Usually the greater the rapport, the greater the potential for change.

4. Can you give me an example of some of the fastest changes?

There is an NLP process for reducing phobias that helps some people in 20 minutes. The perceived speed of NLP change work is relative to the time needed for an equivalent piece of work using other methodologies. However the quality of lasting change with NLP is more important than the shorter time frame. NLP provides a methodology for detecting and using patterns enabling clients to make lasting changes in their lives in a few sessions rather than years of therapy. A skilled practitioner designs an approach for each client rather than fitting clients to technique or philosophy.

5. How is NLP itself different from its applications?

NLP explores how we take information in from the world, how we represent the world in our mind, organise ourselves and then shape our behaviour. With NLP we can build descriptions of how people organise themselves. We look at embodied patterns of organisation that enable the expression of mental, emotional and physical activity. That is what NLP is: an epistemology and a methodology for modelling human excellence.

Now from that epistemology and methodology, multiple applications from NLP have arisen (and many more yet to be derived). There are applications to psychotherapy and counselling, education, business, management to leadership, negotiation, artistic endeavours. There are applications of NLP to almost every major area of human endeavour.

6. It’s very important that people appreciate the distinctions between the applications of NLP and NLP itself.

Often people are more interested in the applications, probably because they can measure results immediately. I think for personal evolution, learning NLP as an epistemology and methodology has a marked flow on effect throughout a person’s life. In contrast, learning set procedures or an application of NLP to just one context can be limiting. For example, if you learn specifically to create a compelling future, or to sell or do effective psychotherapy, it will be harder to transfer those skills to other contexts. Someone may be a very good negotiator but have a lousy relationship at home. By learning NLP itself, people generalise the principles and underlying patterns into multiple areas of their lives and get much richer value.

7. So how is it different from other techniques?

NLP is not a set of techniques or a collection of formats. Many techniques have been developed through the epistemology and methodology of NLP. Now if we compare NLP processes to other techniques, the significant distinction is that a skilled NLP practitioner or trainer understands the patterns behind the techniques. They will use the processes to frame a context where the client can have a rich experience of the underlying pattern (or patterns).

With a rich array of patterns of organisation in your system of mind, then in any context (e.g. psychotherapy), you can design interventions on the spot and tailor processes for each client, rather than robotically using existing formats for clients in general. NLP trained people who rely on technique (poorly trained) tend to have inflexible responses to our rich and diverse world.

8. So it is unfair to say that NLP is just a set of tools?

Yes, when people think of NLP as just a set of tools’, probably they have only experienced the applications of NLP, not NLP as an epistemology and methodology for modelling. Their training may have over emphasised procedure; I call it doing NLP by numbers (like painting by numbers).

NLP is a system that creates tools (including techniques / formats) as a by-product. Rather than focusing on tools, it is more useful to attend to NLP as a system that promotes the personal enrichment and skill development for people, their families and communities as a byproduct of modelling human excellence.

9. So is NLP a way of thinking?

I like to think of NLP as a useful approach for exploring the different ways of thinking that skilled and capable people have in their lives. If you model a group of excellent teachers you can build models of their range of expertise. All fit with the outcome of excellent teaching. Instead of having one way of thinking, with NLP you can have many approaches to any outcome in the appropriate context/s where you want to have that outcome. It naturally supports and enhances creativity.

10. Can a person develop their individuality through NLP?

I think so. Each of us is unique and NLP does respect the uniqueness of the individual. Instead of claiming one ‘right’ way of doing something, with NLP you can explore and add many choices to your life, your family and your community. Skill in detecting and using patterns is a key to having many choices available. Having choice supports both individuality and co-operation with others.

11. Can NLP be used for deep level personal development?

You can use NLP to choose the way you want to be in life, and the skills and capabilities you want to develop. You can use NLP to explore your own patterns of thinking and behaviour. You can model yourself. In other words you can replicate the best examples of your own skills and capabilities access them more consistently. Also you can use NLP to explore other people’s skills and capabilities and increase your range of behavioural choice.

12. How can you tell if someone has really mastered NLP?

There is a natural quality to their communication and behaviour and a smoothness in their movement. Often it is easier to spot someone who has a partial or poor training in NLP. With those people you can see procedural behaviour as if they were following a set of instructions. A skilled in NLP practitioner is very natural and it can be quite difficult to detect their NLP background.

13. How long would it take to achieve a level of mastery with NLP?

It’s quite an individual matter. As a rule of thumb it is useful for a person to attend practitioner and master practitioner two or three times in two or three years and to practice processes regularly until those skills are totally integrated. With NLP it’s great to take a pattern, to practice it until it becomes familiar and then forget about it consciously while it becomes part of your repertoire. Then move your conscious attention to the next pattern you want to incorporate.

14. What is the best way of learning NLP?

My personal opinion is that learning NLP experientially through live seminars where you are immersed in the experience of the NLP patterns is most effective. I think watching videos and listening to audio tapes can help but not as a substitute for hands on training.

15. I’ve seen lots of NLP courses advertised ranging anywhere from seven days to 21 days for practitioner training. What would be the advantage of a longer training?

NLP is best learned experientially. The more live training days where you are actively engaged in your own learning as a participant, the better. Also the quality of the trainers is very important. You want to have skilled and experienced trainers. It can be difficult to find out if a trainer is highly skilled. Generally you would be better off trained by people who studied with one of the originators of NLP, in contrast to fourth or fifth generation trainers. It is like a game of Chinese whispers: The closer you are to the source, the higher the quality of information. If someone claims to be trained by Grinder or Bandler, ask them how many days and at what level. There are trainers who make this claim on the strength of a single day’s participation in one the originators’ seminars.

In the last few years the length of training for practitioners has been shrinking. Some training promoters are claiming that “using accelerated learning methods” they can teach “practitioner” training in a very short amount of time. Our response is that NLP patterns are the basis for accelerated learning, and that the people who benefit most from shorter trainings are the trainers themselves in terms of lower overheads, increased earning capacity, and more free time.

Full length trainings do not necessarily cost more than short ones, and you will usually find the trainers running them are committed to a thorough transfer of NLP (experientially and conceptually with the emphasis on the experiential acquisition of the patterns).

16. What could I expect at the end of Inspiritive’s practitioner training?

Expect an enrichment of your skills in communication with others and in communication with yourself; skills in choosing your emotional and psychological states; skills for enhancing your relationships (professional and personal); skills that explore and develop your thinking processes. Skills that enable you to model and replicate your own talents, behaviour and capabilities, even refining, enhancing and enriching them.

Please note that since this interview our NLP Practitioner program has been superseded and replaced by a new post-graduate credential – the Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

17. How do NLP practitioners help clients?

By creating a context where clients can explore, discover and experience the resources that they need to assist them with the outcomes they have set for the session. By resources I mean skills, behaviours, understanding, beliefs; anything that makes a difference in the ability of the client to achieve their outcomes with positive flow on consequences.

18. Can practitioners assist clients to discover their outcomes?

Practitioners create a context where clients can explore and develop their outcomes, discover what they want, how they would know if they got it, what resources they would need to develop to achieve that outcome and the costs and consequences of achieving that outcome. See our article on creating a Well-Formed Outcome.

19. How do you know if someone is a good NLP practitioner or trainer?

There is a congruence in their communication; an alignment in their body language and their verbal language. The practitioner or trainer has a focus on the relationship between themselves and the client or student. They will ask questions and suggest trains of thought that enable the individual to make their own discoveries. Also avoid anyone who describes NLP as a way to manipulate and control people and get them to do things for you.

20. Can NLP be a tool for manipulation?

NLP is a neutral field of endeavour. Like anything else with wide applications that works, it can be used or abused. Responsible practitioners and trainers assist clients and students to discover their own outcomes and to consider those outcomes in relation to their whole life system before acting on them. Responsible practitioners do not try to impose their will on others but they may invite clients to question beliefs that could be limiting them.

21. How do I know if I’m getting good training?

The evidence is in the results you get by the end of the training. Compare the level of skill you had before the training with the level of skill you have after the training and your outcomes at the beginning of the training with how effectively you have achieved them. Also you may discover enhancements in the quality of your communication skills, your thinking skills, your expression, your relationship to the outer world months or even years after the training.

22. If I have already done some training with another organisation and I am concerned with the quality of training I have received what can I do?

I suggest reviewing the outcomes you had for doing that training, reflect on if or how deeply you explored those outcomes with the trainers at the beginning of the training. Ask your trainers about it. If you are still not happy with what you have achieved you may like to consider what you want from NLP and you can call us at Inspiritive to talk about your outcomes. You may be able to get those outcomes through repeating a practitioner training with us. (Discounts available for Certified NLP Practitioners you want to repeat practitioner training).

23. Is NLP training expensive?

Good quality training is relatively inexpensive. For around Aus. $340 per day, for what you learn it is extremely good value for money. In Australia self education expenses are tax deductible. And frankly, in terms of the benefits of learning NLP how can you afford not to accelerate your personal evolution.

24. How long have you been involved in NLP?

I first read about NLP back in 1979. I read an article called “People who read People” written by Daniel Goleman in a magazine called Psychology Today. By the end of the article I knew that this was what I wanted to do. At that time I had to import all three books that had been published. It took three months for the books to arrive! I was so fascinated I read them over and over again. As soon as I could I completed an NLP Practitioner training. By the end of 1981 I was counselling people using NLP full time in a Doctor’s surgery. In 1983 I started training in NLP. In 1984 I met John Grinder and I’ve never looked back.

25. What excites you the most about NLP?

Through the epistemology and methodology of NLP a person can create their own personal culture and have choice about what they do and where they go, what they create, how they express themselves. I think it provides a personal renaissance for people.

I am deeply satisfied when I think about many former students who have blossomed in terms of their own evolution and experience of life through NLP. They are out in the world more capable, doing what they want to do, following their dreams and creating what they want to create.

26. Who are the originators of NLP?

NLP was originated by Dr. John Grinder, an associate Professor of Linguistics, Richard Bandler and Frank Pucelik back in the early to mid 70’s while John was working at the University of California Santa Cruz. See our interview with Dr John Grinder.

27. Who are some of the people who have developed NLP?

In the early days there was a small group of people around John and Richard, many of whom have since contributed to NLP. Judith DeLozier and Carmen Bostic St Clair co-developed new code NLP with John. Leslie Cameron-Bandler has made significant contributions with models for working with emotions and personality. Robert Dilts had a lasting impact on NLP. See our Who’s Who in NLP.

28. Does Anthony Robbins use NLP?

Anthony Robbins was an NLP trainer. Now he applies NLP to teach personal success. Many people who enjoyed his seminars then decide they want to study NLP and come to our courses. During the 24 day practitioner training people have the opportunity to learn NLP as an epistemology and methodology and immerse themselves deeply in the NLP patterns to develop skills and capabilities of their choice. I am grateful for the work that Robbins has done to inspire people to go further into learning NLP.

29. Is there a relationship between Time-Line processes and NLP?

Timeline processes are products of NLP. Mental timelines were developed by Steve and Connirae Andreas, physical timelines by John Grinder and Robert Dilts. Mental and Physical time lines are explored in quality practitioner trainings. This includes time line elicitation, modelling timelines (self and others) and using time lines for change. See the Steve and Connirae Andreas article A Brief History of Timelines.

30. What is the difference between Classic and New code NLP?

A useful way of thinking about the difference between new code NLP and classic code NLP is in terms of emphasis.

Classic code emphasises technique, mechanistic metaphors and the production of NLP technicians. It uses conscious explicit models that are often divorced from their original context. With Classic code you often hear the questions “where do I use this technique” and “how do I know which technique to use”? There is a tendency for classic code trained practitioners to try to fit clients to procedures, rather than creating interventions with clients.

New code emphasises the relationship between the conscious and unconscious minds of the individual, their relationships with others and their relationship with the world. It works towards the personal evolution of the participant. New code promotes unconscious competence. Training drills are used in service to pattern incorporation and the development of unconscious competence. The balance between the conscious and unconscious minds is paramount. This is known as the conscious / unconscious interface. New code is directed towards the detection and utilisation of patterns in the world, with an emphasis on patterns. A new code practitioner often creates a process spontaneously in response to a particular context. In new code participants do a lot of exploration of psychological states. They learn to recognise, inventory and change states. This work connects in with the development and incorporation by each participant of a modelling state. A state of mind for modelling excellence. Another aspect of New code is attention training (essential for modelling). That is learning where and how you place your attention, how that relates to state, perceptual position and context. My understanding is that Grinder and DeLozier (and then Bostic St Clair) developed new code as a second description of Neuro-Linguistic programming to create a system for learning NLP which is more likely to foster the development of systemic wisdom in the participant. If you want to learn more about New code read Turtles All the Way Down by Judith Delozier and John Grinder and Whispering in the Wind by Carmen Bostic St Clair and John Grinder. For an article on the New Code please read The New Code of Neuro-Linguistic Programming; a paradigm shift in NLP by Chris Collingwood.

For people who want a comprehensive training in NLP we teach a postgraduate qualification – 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. This NLP program incorporates the original classic code NLP key models within a New Code NLP design as well as many of the New Code NLP models.

© 1999 Chris and Jules Collingwood, Claire Zammit.

An interview with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair 1997

This is a second interview with Dr John Grinder (co-originator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and co-developer of New Code NLP) and Carmen Bostic St Clair by Chris and Jules Collingwood of Inspiritive.

1. John what is your definition of “Personal Evolution”?


In the world of biology, evolution is a predicate which typically refers to the logical level of taxonomy – the biological unit – referred to as species. For, while it is individual organisms – the fundamental unit of survival – which exhibit individual differences which are associated with differential individual reproduction rates, we say that it is the species which evolves. These differential reproductive rates associated with the individual genetic differences followed over time form an image of what we usually see as evolution.

The term Personal Evolution, then, is intended as a challenge to this image. It is sometimes proposed that Darwin’s system proven appropriate and useful even illuminating for biological, genetically driven change while Lamarck’s proposal serves well for cultural change. Personal evolution is the art of living impeccably, pursuing change as a way of life – learning as its focus. The focus then is what are the patterns at the individual level which promote change – especially a sensitivity to redundancy at the personal level and its defeat. Imagine the game of chess with the ability of the pawns to learn from their experiences and thereby move beyond the rules of movement which presently bind them.


Personal evolution to be effective for the individual and the context within which the individual moves must give equal emphasis to co-operation as a principle of the same rank as competition in transmitting Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, thereby achieving a balance between personal power and the larger ecological issues of the larger system. Constancy occurs in such systems only at the higher logical levels where one finds constancy in learning and the ability to wonder.

2. How did you come to choose Personal Evolution as an area of exploration? and what is its relationship to NLP as a field of endeavour?


What other game is there in town? The heart of the endeavour of living impeccably is sensitivity to patterning and a commitment to continuously shift the stability points around – to preserve the distinction between the hunter and the hunted.

The field of NLP was from its first moment for me in the way in which I perceived it originally the study and capturing of excellence in its many splendoured forms. Excellence can be interpreted as living at the extremes. Like surprises, exceptional experiences are the substance of such living.


Learning to identify the edges of all aspects of our lives – recognizing them and having the choice to travel to the edge as well as comfortably find the middle when the context suggests it is appropriate.

3. What is the context you perceive for creating the Personal Evolution seminar?


I will offer three responses to this question and leave it to you to select the one most useful for your purposes. They are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • I have no idea what you are talking about
  • The twinkle in Gregory Bateson’s eye.


A group of individuals who have the flexibility to dance with a cyclone as well as a gentle breeze.

4. The fact that you will be teaching a seminar called “Personal Evolution” suggests that:

a) we as individuals can evolve,

b) that this is in some way desirable,

c) that there are patterns involved.

Could you please elucidate?


Yes, to all three. When Europeans first began to explore the great Amazon basin, it wasn’t because the Amazon was in some sense better. Rather it was different. Or as Marcel Proust says the purpose of exploration is not to see new lands but to see those lands with new eyes. The practice of impeccable personal change as a way of life implies a personal discipline to ferret out the repetitive portions of our own behaviour and through the ecological patterns such as holding intention constant and varying behaviour or wanton capricious variation to move the assemblage point – the focusing of our attention on other aspects of the world around us. Thus it is not that any particular change we make in this practice is better than what we had previously but that the change itself at the higher logical level is desirable to avoid complacency or the falling into a routine which robs us of our appreciation of the unknown which surrounds us.

Of course, there are patterns involved – this is precisely the point. Such patterns are the web of redundancy through which we must pass. The mastery of personal patterning is the prerequisite to escaping its tyranny.


Different is not necessarily better but better is always different. The evolution of the person provides that person with choice not before available.

5. You draw on ideas from Gregory Bateson in your seminar Personal Evolution. How are Bateson’s ideas relevant to someone who wants to evolve themselves personally and professionally?

Bateson has made the opening move in a game which will continue as long as there are representatives of the species. Through his insistence that the laws which govern the short term and local interactions of biological systems are fundamentally different than the laws which govern non-organic physical systems, through his exploration and application of logical levels to the patterning of communication and learning and through his precise pointing at many of the phenomena which must be incorporated into a theory of mind, he lights some of the paths which we must travel to leave the valley of the blind.

6. I understand that Bateson was a mentor of yours. Would you like to talk about your experience of Bateson and his impact on your life and work?


I shall never succeed in appreciating the deep and inspiring ways in which he influenced me and my work in NLP. These experiences range from the time he borrowed a pair of socks from me on the occasion of finding himself without socks on his way to a University of California Regents’ meeting (he was a Jerry Brown appointee) – thereby teaching me the pitfalls of being a narrow band genius as opposed to a broad band genius – one who is a genius in all those areas of experience which impinge on his or her well-being. He demonstrated an utter lack of competency and willingness to learn group theory on the occasion of a disagreement we had over his use of the word formal, thereby pushing me to make a commitment to seek out my own monumental areas of incompetence and ignorance to face them squarely. But mostly, he continued to astonish me with the clear and swift shifts in perception in his ability to focus on the synthesis of ideas in very large systems driven by years of detailed and focused study of any number of fields ranging from classic evolutionary theory in biology through anthropology and animal studies to the balanced relationships in the plant communities in the redwood forests which surrounded us at the time of our connections. Perhaps most importantly, he paid me the ultimate compliment of presenting along with any number of awesome puzzles to which he had worked out answers, the puzzles to which he had no answers.

7. What is your definition of a pattern?


Imagine a description of some sequence of events, whether internal to you (intake of glucose with a subsequent shift in heart rate) or external to you (the shift in the type and frequency of the marine wildlife associated with the change in the temperature of the water in the ocean off Santa Cruz as a consequence of the seasonal up welling from the deep submarine canyon off Moss Landing in the center of Monterey Bay and connected with the Davis current) to all the astonishing mixtures of internal and external events.

Consider this description as a series of snapshots over time. Now, if you can place a slash mark “/” anywhere in that sequence of events such that you are able with better than random chance to predict what is on one side of the slash based solely on what is on the other side of the slash mark, you have a pattern. In this technical sense, pattern and redundancy are names for the same thing.

If I provide you with the sequence of consonants str… and tell you that they are part of a well formed word in English and then ask you what kind of creature will follow, you will after a moment’s reflection correctly tell me that the creature is a vowel.

I have done professional patterning in linguistics, mathematics and NLP. Each discipline has its own requirements for presentation and proof. In this latter field, I would propose that the author of a pattern has the responsibility to be explicit about certain aspects or is, in fact, doing something other than professional patterning. In NLP, I would propose that the author of a pattern must descriptively specify:

The internal structure of the pattern – what are the elements which define the pattern and in which specific order do they occur.
The consequences which will occur if the pattern is employed in a disciplined and congruent manner.
a set of contextual markers which indicate under which conditions its use is appropriate.
Please note I said descriptively specify – by this I am placing a gate through which would be patterns must pass – for example, more years ago than I care to count, on the occasion of spoofing patterns and to amuse myself and Richard, I created a set of pseudo-patterns now known as Meta Patterns. These are, in fact, not patterns at all but non-descriptive chunks of content which apparently people are unable to distinguish from actual patterns or forms. This exercise backfired on me in that people reverently go on teaching these strange things passing them off to the next generation as patterns when in fact I designed them to distinguish between actual patterns and content. Ask someone who fails to make this distinction what the difference is descriptively between moving in time and through time. Or to describe the difference between moving away from pain and towards pleasure in the case of a masochist or sadist. The third criterion – the specification of appropriate context is easily the most difficult requirement for patterning and the one which typically receives the least amount of attention – this was true in the original work classic NLP patterning as well as in more recent endeavours.


Patterns are a series of arcs. These arcs when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts create loops. Loops when linked in a series over time and in certain contexts become predictable segments of behavior.

8. How is enhancing one’s ability to detect patterns useful to an individual?


If you are unaware that you are in a box which you call your life, how will you ever liberate yourself?


Hamsters in a cage run in circles within a squeaky wheel.

9. How do you know when to look for a pattern?


Only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J. The art of living impeccably is in part the art of continuously extending your competency to detect patterns. The ones you don’t detect are the ones that will get you. Sensitize yourself to surprise, differences between what you are unconsciously anticipating and what happens and all auto pilot sequences. Seek the unpredictable. Is it possible to tickle yourself?


It is only important to ‘know’ when you haven’t been looking.

10. How do you know what to look for when seeking patterns?


You never do if you are actually in pursuit of a serious pattern. That’s what makes it an art form rather than a science, the pursuit of heuristics rather than algorithms.

Take any significant, let’s say, physical endeavour – any sport or dance form… How can you determine by observing a group of people engaging in this form who are ones who are experienced and adept and who are amateurs who have little experience. The rock climber who is hanging out over a 1500 foot exposure but who shows only tension in the fingers of the hand which is locked into a crack and nowhere else in her or his body is a pro. The accomplished and experienced sports person is the one who does less – the one who uses less effort and who is clearly ignoring large portions of the situation in which they are performing and focusing on only those portions of the situation they need access to perform.

The art of patterning is the art of ignoring most of what is happening and attending to only those few leverage points which allow the manipulation of the situation. In this sense, patterning is an exercise in the fixing of attention.

11. How do you know where to look for a pattern?


Since this is a continuation of the last questions I will continue with the answer …only before breakfast on odd days of the months which begin with the letter J and under rocks of a size larger than the ambition you have to become a patterner.

12. What are 2/3/4/n point patterns?


The numerals indicated simply refer to the number of points of attention described by the patterner in presenting the pattern. A 2 point pattern is one in which there are two events described, one on each side of the slash mark, a 3 point pattern is one in which there are three events described and distributed on different sides of the slash marks. Please note that the number of attention points will vary for the same pattern depending on the rigor of the description by the patterner. In other words, the chunking – how many points you fix in the pattern – is relatively arbitrary.

13. When dealing with nested patterns at different logical levels, how do you find out;

a. How many there are

b. Which ones are relevant

c. Which is the controlling pattern

d. If there is a controlling pattern


Well now, there’s one hell of a question! Let’s unpack it a bit. First of all you are going to want to distinguish between properly nested and improperly nested dependencies – the difference between

The house owned by the man who drove a car built by a woman who said that her son was hired by Alan Ginsberg to carry the suitcase which contained the manuscript that…

The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

Both of these are technically grammatically well formed fragments of American English – the first one is an improperly nested dependency as well as being intelligible and the second one is a properly nested dependency which while technically well formed exceeds all short term memory processing abilities. I offer a build up to it more gently in the sequence below:

  • The horse ran away
  • The horse that the cow saw ran away
  • The horse that the cow that the dog bit saw ran away

and finally

  • The horse that the cow that the dog that the cat chased bit saw ran away

or deleting the relative clause markers (normally an option) we have

  • The horse the cow the dog the cat chased bit saw ran away

The terms properly nested and improperly nested, while a classification based entirely on the structure of the phrase has powerful consequences for processing.

I have already commented on the question of how many there are – how many depends on how you decide to count and in particular, what descriptive vocabulary you allow yourself. Every technical field is a demonstration that with finer and finer distinctions we invent a denser and denser vocabulary to create the shorthand we need to overcome some of the limitations of short term memory and facilitate our thinking and communication. The code system in a well organized Emergency Room (Casualty Department) or the pixel or superconductor are dense signals unique to a specific context and fully grounded in the sense defined in Precision. Clearly such terms embody a number of components which under normal circumstances we would distinguish as separate elements but which are rolled up into a single term by definition. Similarly with patterning, the development of an explicit well defined vocabulary will change the count.

I confess that I am at a loss as to what a controlling pattern would be in such a system.

14. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions which must be present to enable people to develop the ability to recognise previously unexperienced and unnoticed patterns?


OK, what are they?


The study of your successes and failures.

15. How does a working ability to detect patterns in our environment facilitate learning?


It doesn’t facilitate learning – it is learning.


I learned French in the university. I learned Spanish in the streets of Mexico. I speak Spanish a hell of a lot better at present than I speak French.

16. Is it necessary for pattern detection and utilisation skills to be available consciously, or is it sufficient to have these skills well developed at an unconscious level


The goal of all learning is to master the skill sets to the point that they become unconscious competencies. This clearing of conscious by pushing competencies down into the unconscious has a cost however and specifically in the art of pattern detection, one of the most useful tools is the ability to perceive context and its contents from multiple perceptual positions, including a conscious one as well.

17. What qualities and attributes would you recommend be present in a state that is designed specifically for detecting ‘new’ patterns?


Please review questions and answers 1 through 16.


Breathing is good.

18. What contextual markers would you use to attract the interest and application of people in a content oriented society to learning to detect and use patterns in their lives?


As always the most powerful contextual marker to attract the interest (if that is in fact what you want to do) of content oriented people is your personal competency. People are attracted to people who are remarkable. So be remarkable!


Go to university, read books and explore. Or explore, read books and go to university. Or…

19. How do you ensure that people in a content oriented society learn to make and keep the distinction between patterns, illustrative content examples of patterns and content?


Personally, I don’t. I just keep on discovering patterns and presenting some small portion of them to the interested world. I wish the rest of the world a good day.


A horse can be shown the location of water; the drinking has to be the horse’s choice.

20. When you detect a pattern at a given logical level, can you assume there will be a related pattern at a higher logical level?


No, please assume nothing and check everything of importance. Like the 2 cent ‘O’ ring at the connection between the air hose and the pressurized SCUBA tank, it’s a little thing and critical to your health and well being.

More sympathetically, the present of a pattern at one logical level is an invitation to search for an associated pattern at the logical levels above and below but no guarantee. The presence of a track of a large cat on the ground just outside of the window in front of me as I write this sentence here in Bonny Doon does not guarantee that the cat is still in the neighbourhood – he may have already faded into the mists surrounding us.


If you are successful today, can you ‘assume’? that you will be successful in 10 years?

Interested in comprehensive training in NLP find out about our postgraduate qualification – 10250NAT Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

© 1997 Chris and Jules Collingwood

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An interview with John Grinder 1996

By Chris and Jules Collingwood

This interview with John Grinder co-creator of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was at the end of part one of a two-part seminar on Pattern Detection conducted in July 1996 in Boulder, Colorado with NLP Comprehensive. Part two was held in September 1996.

1. As one of the few individuals who has developed a whole new field of endeavour, do you have any thoughts regarding the circumstances that make it possible to be in that position?

There is a metaphor which is extremely common in western European traditions in which an investigator establishes his or her contribution while simultaneously paying tribute to the work which forms the foundation which makes possible their specific contribution.

This is typically expressed by noting that the new contributor can see farther than the original giants who established the foundation for their new work by standing on their shoulders. But for me, personally, this is quite misleading and not at all congruent with my experience.

Rather than a physical metaphor – that is, the additional height achieved by standing on the shoulders of the giants who preceded me, it seems to me that what Bandler and I did in our original work – the classic code of NLP – was much more accurately captured by the idea of seeing in a totally different way rather than seeing farther.

So while one of the circumstances which made it possible for us to create NLP certainly was the previous work, especially by Russell, Turing, Godel, Chomsky, and Bateson as well as the specific models of Perls, Satir and Erickson, the actual value added by our activity was an audacious style of provoking the world by refusing the common sensical wisdom, most assuredly by rejecting the presuppositions of the vast majority of researchers active in the field, by seeking to extend the patterning to its limits and by creating the process tools (at a higher logical level than the content of the investigations) to enable others to follow the paths of discovery which lie all around us. As Stephen Jay Gould said beautifully (The Panda’s Thumb, p243):

“The best thinkers have the imagination to create organizing visions, and they are sufficiently adventurous (or egotistical) to float them in a complex world that can never say ‘yes’ in all detail”.

Thus, I believe, anyone seeking to create such a paradigm shift would be wise to develop a healthy respect for the research which has preceded while cultivating an equally healthy disrespect for the presuppositions for precisely the same body of research. As George Bernard Shaw once said (corrected for sexist language):

“Reasonable people try to adapt themselves to the world
Unreasonable people try to adapt the world to themselves
That’s why all progress depends on unreasonable people.”

So be it!

2. When you and Richard Bandler were first developing NLP did you have any ideas or expectations about what would happen to it over time?

My memories about what we thought at the time of discovery (with respect to the classic code we developed – that is, the years 1973 through 1978) are that we were quite explicit that we were out to overthrow a paradigm and that, for example, I, for one, found it very useful to plan this campaign using in part as a guide the excellent work of Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in which he detailed some of the conditions which historically have obtained in the midst of paradigm shifts. For example, I believe it was very useful that neither one of us were qualified in the field we first went after – psychology and in particular, its therapeutic application; this being one of the conditions which Kuhn identified in his historical study of paradigm shifts. Who knows what Bandler was thinking?

3. If so, in what ways has it conformed and deviated from your expectations?

One of the expectations which I personally carried at the time of discovery and development of NLP was that people interested in our work would cleanly make the distinction between NLP and applications of NLP. My hope at the time was that given this distinction, there would arise a group of committed men and women who would recognize the meta levels tools which we had either discovered (the Milton Model…..), or created (the verbal patterns of the Meta Model or Precision Model, Representational Systems….), and go out and identify and create new models of excellence to offer the world. This has not happened and is very disappointing to me. NLP is popularly represented and commonly practiced at least one logical level below what it was clearly understood to be at the time by Bandler and me.

This inability to distinguish either behaviorally or cognitively the consequences and applications of NLP from core NLP itself (modelling of excellence) is extremely commonplace.

4. How would you like NLP to progress from here on?

As I indicated in my response to question 3, I would like to see NLP cleanly distinguished from its spin-offs – its applications – and a dedicated group of modellers go after new models of excellence. This would constitute for me a validation that the message I set out to deliver to the world has been received.

“I would like to see NLP cleanly distinguished from its applications”
– John Grinder

5. What prompted you and Judith DeLozier to develop the New Code?

The context which stimulated the development of the New Code by DeLozier and myself in the mid-80’s contained two characteristics which I wished at the time to correct:

There were a large number of people who had trapped themselves in a ritualistic practice in a mechanical way of the patterns which we had created. The New Code carries with it an elegant simplification of the classic code as well as certain presuppositional traps which serve as a gate against ritualistic behaviour. This was one of the objectives of the development of the New Code. In effect, the New Code was the creation of a second description which I hoped would shake people out of their ritualistic behaviour. Alas, the net contribution was to create a set of new exercises and patterns which were incorporated into the rituals of the trapped practitioners of NLP.

“The New Code carries with it an elegant simplification of the classic code”
– John Grinder

The second objective I had in the development of the New Code was to provide a context at a logical level much higher than had been previously attempted. This involves the setting of ethical, cultural and intellectual frames which indicate in what way specifically, NLP is a step or stage in a larger historical process – that is, where it fits into the western cultural and intellectual development.

6. How would you describe the difference between the Classic Code and the New Code NLP?

The New Code differs in two important ways from the Classic Code:

One, as mentioned above is the placement of the higher level frames to indicate the positioning of NLP with respect to larger issues.

Two, the New Code contains a series of gates which presuppose a certain and to my way of thinking appropriate relationship between the conscious and unconscious parts of a person purporting to train or represent in some manner NLP. This goes a long way toward insisting on the presence of personal congruity in such a person. In other words, a person who fails to carry personal congruity will in general find themselves unable to use and/or teach the New Code patterns with any sort of consistent success.

This is a design I like very much – it has the characteristic of a self correcting system. On the other hand, as we say, these built in gates have had the result that few people who were originally trained in the classic code of NLP are able to adapt themselves to the New Code.

7. There is a common misconception both within and outside the NLP community to the effect that some people are labelling themselves or others as if “a visual”, “an auditory” or “a kinaesthetic” were terms of identity. Could you describe the function of representation systems and their place in NLP?

Yes, easily! The entire problem would be resolved if anyone using the representational system material (e.g. eye movement patterns, unconscious selection of predicates….), would recognize and act congruently with the following proposition:

The temporal value of a representational system diagnosis is 30 seconds.

This would ensure behaviour congruent with the original intent I carried at the time we discovered the patterning – namely, its use as a precise way of knowing what the unconscious preferences and strategies (and failures) of the person in front of me has from moment to moment – that is, a very precise form of feedback in which the practitioner samples every 30 seconds to verify the continuing preference or strategy (or failure to access and employ one of these great resources).

8. If you could change three things between the origins of NLP and the present time, with hindsight, what would they be, and what would you imagine the effects to have been?

Sorry, I’ll pass on this one. It is a question about what would have happened had I done something which I did not do. Since I am never going to do this, I have no interest in exploring it. The principle is clear for me – I will not attend to issues which I will not act on. For me, this is a waste of time, and it may be a guiding principle for someone interested in actually accomplishing something in the world.

“I will not attend to issues which I will not act on. For me, this is a waste of time”
– John Grinder

9. If someone seeking their first NLP training were to ask you to advise them on choosing their training providers, and how to get the most out of their training, what criteria would you suggest they use, and how would you suggest they approach their training?

Yes, to me this is an important question. First, I would say to such a person that they select by the congruency of the trainer. More specifically, I would recommend that they deliberately provoke the potential trainer and appreciate the way in which the potential trainer handles their state and the response they make – more importantly at the relationship level than at the content level.

Secondly, I would ask the person entering a training to be an active skeptic – more specifically, that they question everything, demanding first hand evidence (that is, personal experience) for each and every claim issued by the trainer(s). In addition, it is my ethic that a trainer has a responsibility for ensuring that each pattern presented includes three elements (the sequence of presentation by the trainer may vary as a function of their style):

The definition of the pattern, including its decomposition into its elements and their sequencing
the consequences that a congruent person employing the pattern may anticipate when the pattern is used
The condition which must be present in the context to indicate that this particular pattern (as opposed to some other pattern) is the appropriate one to use in this particular context. Further that a person entering an NLP training make two personal arrangements with themselves:

That they successfully resist the tendency to translate what is being presented into mental maps that they already carry (e.g. oh! Anchoring is just like Pavlovian conditioning). The patterns which are at the heart of NLP are not like any previous X, Y and Z, and the person who translates into X, Y and Z robs him or herself of the experience of learning something new. That they test each pattern offered through personal experience for which they arrange to enter a state of congruity for the test period. To test a pattern incongruently is to waste your time.

“To test a pattern incongruently is to waste your time”
– John Grinder

10. What background skills and knowledge would you like to expect working NLP trainers to possess?

Personal congruity, sparkling intelligence, a deep, bottomless curiosity, a driving desire to discover new patterning, a phobic class response to repeating themselves, a continuous scanning for evidence that they are mistaken in every aspect of their personal and professional beliefs, solid personal ethics, physical fitness, actual real world experience in any field in which they intend to present NLP and an excellent sense of humour.

11. In recent years you have been doing very little in the way of formal NLP training. What have you and your partner Carmen Bostic St. Clair been doing instead? Where are you attending to the world and what for?

Within the corporation QUANTUM LEAP, partner, Carmen Bostic St. Clair and I have focused ourselves on co-developing at the group level (companies, work teams, governments, institutions, sporting teams,…) a new set of tools and models roughly equivalent in precision and power to what Bandler and I originally developed at the personal level. Our work thus typically takes the form of a consultancy, often initially labeled Re-Engineering or Re-Design of Critical Business Processes, into which we always accomplish the following:

  • the client organization is more productive
  • the client organization is more profitable
  • the members of the organization (typically through the mechanism of work teams which ultimately involve all members of the company) achieve local control over the work processes in which they are involved (they become owners of those processes) as intelligent and participating members of the company, recognizing and valued by the co-workers, and demanding, recognizing and valuing the quality of the contribution from other members of the organization.

In part this activity is a concrete expression of a commitment to make the world we live in a better place and the recognition that if we are to realize this grand goal, one of the leverage points we can use to succeed is the work context. Since everyone participates in some way or another in the work context, to create a new standard (or paradigm) in this field would have the greatest influence.

12. Your company is called Quantum Leap Inc. What prompted you and Carmen to name your company Quantum Leap?

QUANTUM LEAP was originally created by Carmen Bostic in 1987. While engaged in a business consultancy contract for her working in some of the companies which she as the CEO ran, I recognized in Carmen Bostic a genius in the fields of negotiation, relationships, and business. I joined her corporation in 1988.

The word QUANTUM (contrary to popular use) refers to the smallest unit of energy (or light) while the word LEAP suggests a discontinuity. Thus the phrase QUANTUM LEAP contains a tension approaching paradox. The idea is quite simple: in total opposition to Michael Hammer who insists that Business Process Re-Engineering begins with a wiping clean of the organizational structure in order to design from nothing the new company, we take pride in being able to identify the what and the where to put that what to initiate the change required for a corporation to succeed in achieving its potential, according to the three criteria listed above. The alert reader will recognize that we are referring to the necessity of systems thinking and actions congruent with it in succeeding in changing organizations – something often spoken of and rarely achieved.

More specifically, the phrase/name QUANTUM LEAP refers to our ability to make the smallest difference consistent with achieving the greatest change for all classes of our clients. This correctly implies that one of the features of our consultancy is rapid and ecological change.

13. Pattern detection is obviously a topic that is important to you. Would you like to comment on its place in NLP?

Pattern Detection is indeed one of the first steps in the modeling process, and clearly, without it, it is not possible to create a model. Or more generally, without the ability to recognize (some people would argue that the more appropriate verb would be a blend of create and recognize) patterns, learning itself of any type is impossible – I agree. Thus what could be more fundamental than the ability to detect pattern.

“Pattern Detection is indeed one of the first steps in the modeling process”
– John Grinder

14. Carmen Bostic St. Clair and you will be making a rare Australian appearance in May 2007 to present a seminar on advanced use of metaphor. What is its significance in terms of individuals’ approaches to the world?

All which is not concrete is metaphoric – clearly, this involves the vast majority of our everyday experiences. The structure of the unconscious – easily the factor most influential in our success in life – or more correctly said, the relationship which we have with our unconscious is easily the factor most important in our success in life – is that of metaphor.

The unconscious contains no nouns, only verbs – the part of language which carries the representation of the relationships and processes which determine the quality of our lives. This in part accounts for the fact that the typical production of the unconscious is metaphoric – dreams, poems, dances, songs and stories. In this presentation by Carmen Bostic and myself, we will address ourselves with the participation of the members of the seminar to two primary issues:

  • the discovery, examination and replacement or refinement of the deep metaphors only dimly glimpsed which govern our lives.
  • the specific strategies available which we can use to identify or create newly the metaphors we need for specific purposes – such as influencing our bosses, spouses and children (assuming they are different) at the unconscious level – an extremely satisfying way of influencing important people in your life.

15. What is the significance of metaphor with reference to the success of organizations?

The influence of metaphor with respect to organizations takes two obvious forms:

  • the mental maps often called the vision, the mission, the ethics or value statement which guide the behaviors of the members of an organization can be made explicit or conscious only to a limited degree. Much of the success of the coordinated efforts of well-intentioned people who form the core of an organization depends on unconscious (or partly unconscious) maps which form a larger and encompassing image of the direction, mission, values,… of the organization. In the case that these unconscious maps are coordinated, the organization will succeed. To the degree that they are not, there will be grave difficulties in organization and much friction and uncoordinated movement, with the team members pulling in different directions.
  • the corporate mythology is the official mechanism by which the organization builds its own inspiring (or not) image to which the members of the organization subscribe (or not) at the unconscious level – this is strongly connected with the values of the organization, especially with respect to its customer base. Thus, the organizational mythology typically contains founder stories, unexpected and against all odds successes emphasizing certain specific qualities of the people of the organization involved. Once recognized by the leadership of an organization this becomes a powerful tool to influence the behavior and values of the company members.

16. What are the benefits an individual would be likely to derive through attending the Advanced use of Metaphor seminar in Australia?

The benefits I would insist on walking away from the Advanced use of Metaphor seminar presented by Carmen Bostic and John Grinder in Australia in May 2007 would be:

  • the ability to recognize deep metaphors in my own life, in the lives of close friends and in organizations such as the company in which I work
  • the ability to design new metaphors, including deep metaphors which carry the values and associations at the unconscious level which I want to enhance in myself, the people close to me and the organization in which I operate as a productive member of society,
  • the ability to implement new metaphors, including deep metaphors which carry the values and associations at the unconscious level which I want to enhance in myself, the people close to me and the orgnization in which I operate as a productive member of society,
  • the ability to influence others at the unconscious level through metaphor
  • the feeling of having had a hell of a good time learning all of the above.

© 1996 Chris and Jules Collingwood

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