In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Margaret Tarbet <email@example.com> wrote:
>On 9 Jan 1997 21:24:28 -0700,
>firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Goodrich) wrote:
Unlike Bill, I don't have an academic background in psychology. I'm afraid I don't know about Maltz. I certainly don't think that the name was mentioned in any of my several NLP trainings. Perhaps Bill will be able to answer this particular point.
What I can do, though, is to provide some background information on the foundations of NLP, in the form of several articles reposted from my archive. The first of these is written by someone who has now become a leading NLP trainer --- Charles Faulkner.
I want to add that most of the information in these articles I'm reposting is fairly esoteric from the point of view of the typical NLP practitioner. Most practitioners have a quite pragmatic point of view and are much more concerned with specific techniques and approaches than with a theoretical foundation underlying such approaches.
Newsgroups: sci.psychology [ From Charles Faulkner ]
Subject: Re: Is NLP just rehashed Kelly?
Date: 6 Aug 91 08:16:14 GMT
Thank you for your responses to my initial posting. Even as I begin this reply, please keep in mind that your stated interests shape these responses. I can take very a very different direction if you wish.
In article <1991Jul25.email@example.com>
firstname.lastname@example.org (Todd Heatherton) writes:
>I admit to knowing little of NLP, but this sounds like old news to me
>How does it differ from George Kelly's Construct Theory? Switch
>a few words around and it sounds like rehashed Kelly (from 1955).
>Kelly called these filters constructs and developed the REP test
>to uncover these constructs. Role Playing Therapy was used to change
>people's personal constructs. Do ``internal maps'' really differ
>from ``personal constructs"?
>Others (such as Markus, 1977, Fiske & Taylor, 1975) have
>elaborated theories based on cognitive schemata. These
The Markus, 1977 reference was published by Meta Publications which is owned by NLP co-developer Richard Bandler.
>schemata are essentially filters. Cognitive Therapies (such
>as that used by Beck) have the goal of changing the way people
>view the world (i.e. changing cognitive filters or schemata).
>One of the risks of operating outside of the mainstream is that
>people are unaware of when they are applying new labels to old
I am familiar with the work of George Kelly and became aware of it through the early (and still excellent) NLP book Practical Magic: A Translation of Basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming into Clinical Psychotherapy (Meta Publications, 1980), by Steve Lankton, ACSW, an early NLPer and now an (Dr. Milton) Ericksonian practitioner, trainer and author. Lankton's book, in addition to being a clinical introduction to NLP, is an effort to make a ``pattern(s) level description'' of several therapeutic approaches including Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy and Psychosynthesis. He expresses his indebtedness to Kelly's constructs/postulates, listing 13 of them (page 79) including: Construction, Experience, Variance, Organization, Dichotomy, Fragmentation, Choice, and Requisite Variety.
While Kelly proposed construct postulates (internal maps), his efforts in changing/replacing a person's existing construct often failed to live up to the promise of his theory.
Current approaches in Cognitive Therapy are in a similar situation. The cognitive therapist proposes examination of current thinking (read ``internal talk'') and suggests, or sets the stage, for the client to develop alternative internal talk. The client practices ``changing'' this internal voice, usually by saying the alternative after internally ``hearing"/saying the original language. This can create conflict between the ``voices". A therapy that has a clear idea of the underlying structure would, rather than this way, be able to substitute a new voice/language efficaciously.
Bateson's researchers were encountering similar difficulties with their efforts (see the long quote from Bateson, below) which reached publication as Pragmatics of Human Communication, Watzlawick, Beavin & Jackson (Norton 1967). This difficulty with application (connecting the model/theory with behavior) was surmounted with Richard Bandler and John Grinder's The Structure of Magic, volume I, (Science and Behavior Books, 1975). This book was widely praised by leaders in different fields (Virginia Satir, Milton H. Erickson, M.D., Charles Hampden-Turner, etc.) and it includes an introduction by Gregory Bateson.
At this point I would like to quote Gregory Batesons' introduction in its entirety.
---- start of quoted material ---
``It is a strange pleasure to write an introduction for this book because John Grinder and Richard Bandler have done something similar to what my colleagues and I attempted fifteen years ago.''
``The task is easy to define: to create the beginnings of an appropriate theoretical base for the describing of human interaction.''
``The difficulty lay in the word ``appropriate'' and in the fact that what was to be described included not only the event sequences of successful communication but also the patterns of misunderstanding and the pathogenic.''
``The behavioral sciences, and especially psychiatry, have always avoided theory, and it is easy to make a list of the various maneuvers whereby theory could be avoided: the historians (and some anthropologists) chose the impossible task of making not ``theory'' but more ``data'' out of what was known - a task for detectives and courts of law. The sociologists trimmed the complex variations of known fact to such an ultimate simplicity that the clipped nuggets could be counted. Economists believed in transitive preference. Psychologists accepted all sorts of internal explanatory entities (ego, anxiety, aggression, instinct, conflict, etc.) in a way reminiscent of medieval psycho-theology.''
``Psychiatrists dabbled in all these methods of explanation; they searched for narratives of childhood to explain current behavior, making new data out of what was known. They attempted to create statistical samples of morbidity. They wallowed in internal and mythical entities, ids and archetypes. Above all, they borrowed the concepts of physics and mechanics - energy, tension, and the like - to create scientism.''
``But there were a few beginnings from which to work: the ``logical types'' of Russell and Whitehead, the ``Games Theory'' of Von Neumann, the notions of comparable form (called ``homology'' by biologists), the concepts of ``levels'' in linguistics, Von Domarus' analysis of ``schizophrenic'' syllogisms, the notion of discontinuity in genetics and the related notion of binary information. Pattern and redundancy were beginning to be defined. And, above all, there was the idea of homeostasis and self-correction in cybernetics.''
``Out of these scattered pieces came a hierarchic classification of orders of message and (therefore) of orders of learning, the beginnings of a theory of ``schizophrenia'' and with it an attempt, very premature, to classify the ways in which people and animals code their messages (digital, analogic, iconic, kinesic, verbal, etc.).''
``Perhaps our greatest handicap at that time was the difficulty which the professionals seemed to experience when they tried to understand what we were doing. Some even tried to count ``double binds'' in recorded conversation. I treasure somewhere in my files a letter from a funding agency telling me that my work should be more clinical, more experimental, and, above all, more quantitative.''
``Grinder and Bandler have confronted the problems which we confronted then and this series is the result. They have tools which we did not have - or did not see how to use. They have succeeded in making linguistics into a base for theory and simultaneously into a tool for therapy. This gives them a double control over the psychiatric phenomena, and they have done something which, as I see it today, we were foolish to miss.''
``We already knew that most of the premises of individual psychology were useless, and we knew that we ought to classify modes of communicating. But it never occurred to us to ask about the effects of the modes upon interpersonal relations. In this first volume, Grinder and Bandler have succeeded in making explicit the syntax of how people avoid change and, therefore, how to assist them in changing. Here they focus on verbal communication. In the second volume, they develop a general model of communication and change involving the other modes of communication which human beings use to represent and communicate their experience. What happens when messages in digital mode are flung at an analog thinker? Or when visual presentations are offered to an auditory client?''
``We did not see that these various ways of coding (visual, auditory, etc.) are so far apart, so mutually different even in neurophysiological representation, that no material in one mode can ever be of the same logical type as any material in any other mode.''
``This discovery seems obvious when the argument starts from linguistics, as in the first volume of the present series, instead of starting from culture contrast and psychosis, as we did.''
``But, indeed, much that was so difficult to say in 1955 is strikingly easier to say in 1975.''
``May it be heard.''
--- end of quoted material ---
What caused me to pursue studies in NLP was precisely Bandler and Grinder's efforts to develop a pattern level description of human behavior and thought. I see Kelly's efforts (along with Korzybski, Wittgenstein, Bateson and others) leading the way for Bandler and Grinder. Not merely for their therapeutic applications, but most significantly, their epistemology; finding an ``appropriate theoretical base'' for studying human beings' thoughts and actions. (And it is worth noting that all of this is considered outside the mainstream which at this time uses a disease-based medical model, whether the problem is depression, psychosis, alcohol or eating).
Other psychological commentaries on the net have argued the validity or invalidity of various schools of psychology and therapy. Bateson points out the importance of having a sound epistomology with which to even begin making the distinctions that lead to a psychology.
Many postings have compared the development of a basis for physics with a basis for psychology. Popular bookstore shelves strain from the weight of such efforts as Quantum Psychology, Chaos Psychology, Mythopoetic Psychology, Unconscious [sic] Psychology and more. Those in fields firmly planted on mathematics sometimes audibly scoff at these efforts. From our comparable comfort in the present, it is easy to forget that from the time that Rene Descartes literally closed his eyes on the alchemical world and began to see and write about it as phenomena for investigation (1641) to Newton's application/ demonstration of the scientific method in Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1686) was 45 years. Further, history shows that as early as 1537 with the publication of New Science a technical book on the mechanics of ballistics, a debate raged as to whether to adhere to alchemical principles or this new idea of observing and measuring sensory based information. This is a span of 149 years. So we might want to be more forgiving of people who are trying to find an appropriate basis for a field.
And while such time spans may give us little personal solace, we can know from history that an appropriate basis will be found and, at least at first, hotly disputed and dismissed by the majority of thinkers. Perhaps it will even be developed several times by various individuals and groups before it is noticed for what it is, a wine of great vintage and value.
Universities are nurseries of orthodoxy. The university, while offering a nurturing environment, is not a creative one. It can't be. That isn't the function of higher education. -- Rita Mae Brown