RELIGIOUS CULT PROFILE – NEURO-LINGUISTIC-PROGRAMMING (NLP)
ALTERNATIVE TITLES – Often simply abbreviated to NLP.
FOUNDERS / LEADERS Richard Bandler is now acknowledged as the founder of the movement, though this was in some legal dispute for many years, between Bandler & John Grinder and others involved in the early years of NLP development. The title Neuro Linguistic Programming has now largely become generic, meaning many independent bodies promote their teachings as a form of NLP or involving some aspect of NLP.
PLACE / TIME OF ORIGIN The University Of California in Santa Cruz 1973 – leading to publication of the book, The Structure Of Magic. (1975)
HISTORY Bandler, a self-confessed diagnosed sociopath, who boasts of several violent crimes developed an academic theory relating to Gestalt therapy.
Listening to recordings by Gestalt researcher, Fritz Perls, Bandler realized that certain key words and phrases were helping to tune Perls’ test subjects in to what Perls expected of them. He surmised that with careful, controlled phrasing, the right kind of body language and even physical touch at key points, a speaker, psycho-therapist, leader, employer, etc, can manipulate a test subject, employee, student, trainee or anyone, towards a desired behaviour, mood, aptitude, or skill.
The studies became key study works in the Human Potential book of the 1980’s, and influence many business management gurus to this day. NLP literature is often a very lucrative venture.
CENTRAL TEACHINGS A pseudo-scientific New Age psychotherapy and social behaviour control teaching, influenced by B.F Skinner, Gestalt therapy, and various New Age gurus, as well as being influenced by hypnotherapy practitioners.
Much emphasise is given to controlled language and eye –movement, eye contact, breathing patterns, etc - body language.
PRACTICES Literary work publication, but NLP trainers conduct many public seminars and lecture weekends, often taking along successful trained and reprogrammed clients, and assuring business leaders of success if NLP is applied to a work-force. Coaching, staff training, Sales and marketing corporations, call centres, cold-call door-to-door sellers, etc, are often trained in part or completely using NLP techniques.
In practicing NLP you get the subject talking, and observe their eye movement, body language, breathing, skin tone, etc – in effect the NLP therapist behaves like a human lie detector, watching for cues and hints of subconscious motivation and once identified, hypno-suggestion can be applied to tweak or alter or irradiate and change behaviour as the NLP practitioner desires.
Tests by scientists and established schools of psychology and psychotherapy frequently find NLP techniques have no scientific foundation or value.
FAMOUS ASSOCIATES – Paul McKenna, leading TV & media stage hypnotist, is a leading spokes-person for NLP.
CRITICISM 1/. Excessive use of psychobabble and pseudo-scientific language with words like ‘eye accessing cues’, ‘metamodelling’, ‘submodalities’ etc, saturating an extensive body of literature and NLP presentations.
2/. NLP takes cult practice away from religion and into the secular business World. It aims to examine how great leaders influenced others, extract their best tricks for convincing others to see and share their point of view, and then apply them to others in a fast track short cut, powerful way. The problem is that the subjects often don’t know such techniques are being used on them, and may be upset if they discover later that they were psycho-analysed and / or even hypnotised into changing a behaviour pattern or signing some kind of contract, making a purchase, etc. People who would not join an easily identifiable cult like The Moonies or Scientologists may not even realize that they are in a cult in taking up NLP. Few approached by a salesman who uses NLP tactics in a sale, may realize what has gone on.
3/. NLP claims about how influencing the mind can influence behaviour are regarded as sweeping generalizations.
4/. NLP is often dismissed as a form of alternative medicine and pseudo-science.
Bandler, Grinder and other NLP founders have fallen out and taken one another to court in disputes over the ownership of NLP, and intellectual property rights issues over its various teachings and terminologies rock the movement from time to time.
Though NLP certificates exist for practitioners, the standards required to obtain them vary greatly in various countries and fields, so there is little licensing control or regulation on who can be seen as a qualified NLP coach, teacher, lecturer or instructor.
New age pundits and stage hypnotists are quick to associate themselves with NL|P and frequently appear at NLP conventions, seminars, training events and promotions.
Most controversy centres on founder, Bandler, a self-confessed diagnosed sociopath, who swears a great deal and speaks very aggressively, boasting of mafia connections, threatening to kill, and even jokingly claiming to have committed murders.
In 1986, he was implicated in a murder trial, though he was acquitted. The victim, prostitute, Corine Christensen, was a/. A student of NLP under Bandler’s instruction. B/. His own gun was used as the murder weapon with which she was shot in the face. C/. His shirt was covered in her blood. D/. She was his drug supplier (he had serious cocaine addiction problems). E/. Bandler and the one other suspect, James Marino, (who was chief prosecution witness against Bandler), made such a confusing range of charges and counter-charges against one another that the jury found Bandler not guilty due to reasonable doubt. No charges were filed against Marino and no further investigation was ever conducted. The case remains unsolved.
The use of hypnotherapy in NLP means many people may well be influenced and manipulated, in part or in whole, into business dealings and relationships without their will or consent.
PUBLICATIONS See the Wikipedia page on NLP for an extensive reading list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming
NLP on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming
NLP dismissed by scientific community - http://www.jobeq.com/articles/NLP_Research.htm
Outcome of the Bandler murder trial - http://articles.latimes.com/1988-01-29/news/mn-26470_1_psychotherapist-richard-bandler
Sceptical feature on NLP http://www.skepdic.com/neurolin.html
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