It was the 70s. Gestalt therapy was all the rage in the big sur region of the California coast. People were awake but dazed following the psychedelic 60s, hungering for more of something-we still haven’t figured out what. Jack Rosenbloom are Rosenberg or whoever he was had not yet changed his name to Werner Ehrhardt. Gestalt therapy was all the rage as was its founder Fritz Perls. Fritz had been paid to write a book and not done any writing so Richard was hired to do the writing for him. Richard figured out instantly that there was far more money in teaching Gestalt therapy than in performing Gestalt therapy. He began to try to teach Gestalt therapy.
Richard was tremendously successful performing Gestalt therapy and dismally unproductive with respect to the teaching of Gestalt therapy. Richard meets John, a PhD linguist and modeler and CIA guy and begs him to help him with the teaching part. John and Richard form a pact which goes like this “you teach me to do what you’re doing and I’ll teach you how you’re doing it.”
In this manner begins the formation of a discipline which would revolutionize the sales industry, threaten the mental health professions, and begin to demystify what I’m going to refer to as the software of the human brain.
John and Richard modeled Fritz, then they modeled Virginia Satir. Then they modeled Milton Erickson and the lid came off along with the roof most of the walls and some of the foundation. The good Dr. Erickson was not so much interested in people’s conscious processes; he was more interested in the things that we do unconsciously. At the beginning of Erickson’s career he used formal hypnosis extensively. At the end of his career Erickson would be more likely to tell his client a simple story wherein has patient would simply see himself recovering and then recover.
So begins the history of this most fascinating discipline known as neurolinguistic programming. Although practitioners of this discipline frequently resolve complex problems in a single visit, problems such as anxieties phobias and depressions, the mental health communities have refused resolutely to embrace this discipline probably because it is so effective and so useful. The sales community, on the other hand, is not so erudite. Salesmen are happy to learn anything that will improve their bottom line and so, today, all serious sales trainings have an NLP backbone. Whatever hope existed for the mental health community began to fade in the early 80s and was put to rest by the end of the 20th century.
Despite those in ivory towers behaving so irresponsibly beacons of hope exist. NLP is very very popular in Latin America, Great Britain, Japan, and the Eastern Bloc countries. Perhaps one day these willing and knowledgeable salespeople will learn to treat depression and give us some reprieve from the morass of psychotherapy. One can only hope.