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On NLP, Modeling and Erickson
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The following is an edited transcript of a conversation between Doug O'Brien and David Gordon that took place on November 9, 2005. This was a telephone conference call with several listeners and was recorded for the purposes of this transcription. No significant content was edited from the dialog. It was edited simply to facilitate cohesion.

Doug O'Brien:        We have with us David Gordon, author of several books on NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis, including "Phoenix", "Therapeutic Metaphors", and his new book on Modeling co-written with Graham Dawes entitled, "Expanding your World - Modeling the Structure of Experience." We're honored to have him with us this evening. Welcome, David.

David Gordon:        Well, Doug, I have to apologize. My voice was getting much better today and then, as the evening approached, you can hear, it's gotten weird again. So, I'm going to talk and I'll just have to sound like an old geezer or something.

Doug:        Well, maybe we'll just pretend you're Milton.

David:        There you go. There you go.

Doug:        You're just channeling Milton. Well, would it be all right with you if we talked some NLP before we got into doing some...

David:        Whatever you want, we're just talking.

Doug:        OK, I want to talk about lots of things that I'm curious about from you. I know that you've been around NLP since, well, was it before it was NLP?

David:        Yep.

Doug:        Can you give us some background about that because most of us don't know about those days? So, where did you start with it all and how did that happen?

David:        Well, let's see, this must have been 1972, I believe.

Doug:        Wow.

David:        It was '71 or '72, but I think it was '72. I met Richard Bandler who, at that time, was just starting some evening group in Gestalt therapy.

Doug:        OK, and when you say, "met him," how did you meet him, in a grocery store, or...?

David:        No, no. That's silly. I met him in a bank.

Doug:        (laughing) Oh, well, sorry.

David:        In fact, I met him in a bank where my wife was a bank teller. Debbie knew him as a customer, and he happened to be in front of me in line when I went to see her. And, so, she introduced us, and we talked for a little while and he invited me to join a new group he was starting that evening, in teaching Gestalt therapy. And it sounded interesting and he seemed interesting, so I went. He was conducting two separate groups at that time and in one evening group, he had John Grinder as one of his students.

Doug:        Grinder was a student?

David:        Yeah, a participant in the group, learning Gestalt therapy, as I believe Judith DeLozier was, I'm not sure because I wasn't in that group. I was in the other group where there was Leslie Cameron, who became Leslie Cameron Bandler, and some other people who are still around or have fallen away. So anyway, you know, we spent, I guess, that year learning Gestalt therapy from him and doing all kinds of very interesting things. At that point he was already pretty familiar with work that Virginia Satir was doing in family therapy. So, we were doing some of the things that he had learned from her. And, somewhere along in there, he and John put their heads together and applied John's knowledge of transformational grammar to looking at the work that therapists were doing, that Richard had been studying, in terms of their technique.

Doug:        And, at that time, it was Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls?

David:        Right, and somehow, what bubbled up out of that caldron, and I was not involved in making that brew, so I can't tell you, specifically, but somehow what bubbled up out of that caldron, was the meta model. Also, then, along about that time, Richard and John really started working together and started experimenting with all kinds of bizarre things. Basically, what we did in those early days, was we would get together with Richard and John, a group of us once or twice a week at Richard's house, and we would bring people who had problems or we would bring people who could do something interesting. And, we would work with them and try and figure out how they did what they did, whether it was a problem or an ability, and then, figure out either how we could reproduce it, ourselves, or how we could change it, if it was a problem.
        Sometimes, Richard and John would have done a bunch of work with somebody and come in with some discovery of theirs and teach it to us, and would experiment with each other. But, it was a period, a very rich period where, you know, we were young, we could do anything, we had these two guys who were telling us we could do anything and who were inspiring us to experiment with experience. And so, we, as a group, and as individuals, discovered all kinds of things.

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