Chris Jack chris_jack at
Tue Sep 4 18:55:58 BST 2007

The trouble with criticising (or better critiquing) anything like NLP is separating out the messenger from the message. Virginia Satir was upset with what NLP did with her material. Milton Erickson did not like Bandler. I have always wondered why Bandler was a cocaine addict or ever felt pointing a gun at someone was an appropriate therapeutic intervention. NLP borrows and overlaps liberally with other schools of psychology - often insinuating widespread originality when the originality is more in the specific integration of material and ability to market itself. It is also easy to find critiques of NLP that point to the lack of scientific evidence for such stuff as, say, looking up and to the right means you've gone into "visual" mode and so on.
But none of that means NLP isn't valuable and hasn't helped a lot of people.
My biggest problem with NLP is it's apparent lack of a moral centre. You can reframe anything - but should you want to? This is where I question just what is and is not OK with NLP people like Ross Jeffries and others in the speed seduction community. "Richard Bandler is an arrogant prick" - reframe in 1000 words or less. Maybe he might be a better person if he didn't. I could spend a whole heap of time talking about specifics of what I think Bandler has misunderstood in other schools of psychology or stuff he has proposed that is simply inappropriate for people with various sorts of mental health problem.
Past that I have a problem separating out the NLP hype from the reality. I know several people who abandoned careers to passionately take up this style of career, in one guise or another, only to find that it was not financially viable. But Anthony Robbins and his ilk generally only sell you on the "living the dream" bit without pointing out (or taking responsibility) for the potential downside, whether you have an appropriate level of ability, what the competition is really like and so on. A career mentoring people to write books (most of which have sold less than 500 copies) - of course you should do that. I'm sorry, did anyone ever consider how many people writing books want to be mentored or how they can find you in the first place? It's like the Rich Dad, Poor Dad assertion that it's easier to run a company than be an employee. Sometimes you need to stop and think whether it's true or not, and why the author manages to sell copy by making the assertion.
I am not saying for a moment that people shouldn't try to find a career that they feel truly passionate about or that the book lady was wrong to see if she could make it fly - but I am saying that there should be more upfront properly reasoned analysis. Have a quick search on google to find out how many people have sued Anthony Robbins.
My opinions are obviously based on my experience which in turn is based on various videos and books I have read plus having a keen and active interest in psychology - and talking to a whole heap of people with varying levels of mental health. The best book on the mental health industry I have read recently is SHAM. Don't agree with it, but it's thinking about the industry in a way that it really needs to be thought about.
Oh - and I am intending to do a 9 day NLP practitioner course in November (not Ivor's one) as I believe I have stuff to learn from NLP.
I am also studying tantra at the moment (quick plug for Diamond Light...) and can categorically attest that NLP ventures nowhere near some of the realms where tantra can take you. All nude massage by 5 people telling you all your best features anyone? Now that's therapy.Chris

I doing a 5 day trek through the Sahara on behalf of the mental health charity Sane. For more details and to support me, go to:

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