Review: Say Goodnight to Insomnia

Between a hectic schedule at the end of last year and jetlag through a trip to Europe, I managed to throw my sleeping patterns off. I found that I was lying awake for a long time before falling asleep (sleep-onset insomnia) and then often waking up several times in the time and being unable to get back to sleep. So while I was in Ireland I was happy to pick up a book at a secondhand store called Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs.

It’s a fairly old book which was published in 1998 but the useful advice and research that he gives are as valid as ever. It seems to have been republished in 2009 and that is the cover image shown above. It does not appear to be a new edition. Read More

Review: Heart of the Mind

Title: Heart of the Mind

Authors: Connirae Andreas and Steve Andreas

Published: 1989

For me, this is one of the classic NLP books, a beautifully written and very accessible book that explains so many of the key processes in NLP. It is full of real-life examples, and probably most importantly it has many transcripts of actual client sessions and the kind of change language that is assumed but not actually used in many NLP books.

Read More

The Destination Method Video

This is an interesting fast-paced video by Robert Dee McDonald talking about his Destination Method.

I watched a webinar of Robert in the NLP Planet online conference and found his ideas interesting. I first heard about him through his work on the Tools of the Spirit book which he authored with Robert Dilts. I have used several of the processes in this book and found them useful (even if just a little bit weirder than even the average NLP process!)

In the Destination Method, Robert McDonald suggests that change can occur at many different levels and that the higher levels (e.g. Spirit and Soul) affect the psychological levels. People familiar with Robert’s Dilts’ model of Neurological Levels may like to note the similarities and differences. A screenshot from the video is shown below which includes the levels in the Destination Method.

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 8.51.39 PM

Review: The Future of Educational Neuroscience. Report

The summary of this report by Kurt Fischer immediately seemed to make sense to me, yet it does attempt to cover an enormous swathe of territory.

“The primary goal of the emerging field of educational neuroscience and the
broader movement called Mind, Brain, and Education is to join biology with cognitive science, development, and education so as to create a sound grounding of education in research on learning and teaching.”

Biology, cognitive science, development … education – those are pretty big areas in themselves and so the name of the area has to be big. Hence, the name Mind, Brain, and Education has emerged.

I have worked as a teacher for about 20 years and was involved in full-time education for a long time before that, so I figure that I know a fair bit about education and the one thing that I can say with certainty is that it is complex and non-homogenous. While there is no doubt that mind and brain are a huge part of education, the social element is so pervasive that I wonder if the name is really suitable. We do not learn as solitary minds or brains, but rather as social beings who are highly influenced by the social context. I’m sure that the discipline of MBE will try to bring in the social element, but the first two words seem to place to emphasis strongly on the individual rather than on the social learning context.

“The field of medicine provides the closest analogy to education, combining
scientific research with practice to improve the long-term well-being of human beings.”

This is an interesting analogy and I would be interested to hear other people’s viewpoints on it. Medicine has traditionally focused on an illness-focused model. Perhaps the same could be said about education? I would like to think that we are focused more on positive growth.

The report calls for more serious research on education (in the classroom) and rightly points out that much of the well-funded research for education has been over-focused on testing.

“Most important, for educational neuroscience to reach its potential, infrastructure must be created to catalyze research on learning and teaching, creating scientific knowledge for education. Then research tools such as brain imaging, analysis of cognitive processing and mental models, and genetics assessment can be used to illuminate the “black box” and uncover underlying learning mechanisms and causal relations (Hinton & Fischer, 2008).”

This quote seems so chunked up and generalized as to be almost pointless. I understand that the report is general in nature, but does this sentence really actually say much?

“Readers find articles more convincing when they contain brain images as opposed to graphs or other illustrations (McCabe & Castel, 2008), and neuroscience information is particularly influential in readers who lack relevant background knowledge (Weisberg et al., 2008).”

So true! A few brain images immediately adds credibility to some quite ludicrous statements. I have admittedly used the same technique myself – flashing an image of a brain scan in order to demonstrate some point which may not truly hold up. There is a long way between pictures/interpretations of momentary brain activity and actual behaviour/learning. As we all know, photoshop can be deceiving, and brain scans are highly subject to interpretation, too ;)

The report authors also note the gap between neural images and behaviour when they say “Moving from knowledge of the brain such as images of brain activity directly to educational application is indeed difficult in many cases.”

I found the slightly chunked-down research goals of the report to be the most useful element.

1. Understanding the Development of Structured Representations
e.g. examining development of phonology in children
2. Understanding Complexity through Models
e.g. Cognitive linguists have analyzed how mental models function in human communication and
learning (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) [One of my favourite books actually)
3. Creation of Longitudinal Databases

The report promotes better teacher education, more interdisciplinary research, and “creating educational engineers.” The last item jumped out at me because I am an ex-engineer now working in education and the way of thinking in engineering and teaching is generally very different, even at the engineering university where I work. I’m not completely convinced that we can apply the same kind of precise mathematical thinking to education, but as a metaphor it may be useful.
The report suggest that “They will have expertise at translating or applying findings from cognitive science and neuroscience to learning in classrooms and other educational settings.”
It’s a nice idea and one that seems worth investigating.

A useful suggestion in this report is ” Asking Grant Holders to Use Shared Measures in their Studies”. There is such wastage and replication within all areas of research because of a lack of standardization. Of course, academic and research freedom is useful, but so too is standardization!


Overall, I didn’t find this report to be useful. It seems to be written as a consensus report trying to bring together researchers in different areas under a common banner of MBE. Perhaps this is useful in sharing research findings and combining different findings. At this point in my reading in this area, it wasn’t really a useful article. Perhaps if it could be chunked into smaller bites, it might be better.

Review: Dynamic Cycles of Cognitive and Brain Development

Dynamic Cycles of Cognitive and Brain Development

This is an interesting chapter from the book, The Educated Brain, which was published in 2008. Recent research has shown that human development can be better understood as a dynamic process rather than a fixed set of development phases.


Neurocognitive development should be conceived not as a ladder of successive stages but as a
complex network of interactions and attractors, convergent and divergent paths,
nested cycles, stabilities and instabilities, progressions and regressions, clusters of
discontinuities and stable levels of performance.

The complexity and detail in this quote are a clear sign of the growing recognition that neurological development is a complex dance between genetics and environment, or in more traditional terminology between nature and nurture. A child’s brain does not develop in clear steps forward, but rather jumps backwards and forwards, developing simultaneously in different directions. This reminds me of Steven Pinker’s wonderful book, Words and Rules, in which he discusses the development (and apparent regression) of language by using the example of the past tense. Initially, a child learns all irregular verbs as words (lexis) and says them correctly. However, when the child learns how to form the regular past tense (e.g. adding -ed to the stem of the verb), he/she overgeneralizes this to all verbs including irregular verbs and hence makes mistakes. Eventually the child manages to create the right balance between words and rules. Pinker’s example illustrations several most of the concepts in the quote above including:
– a complex network
-interactions and attractors
– convergent and divergent paths (Rules of grammar can be considered as convergent and Words can be considered as divergent)
– stabilities and instabilities
– progressions and regressions

Interestingly, in the overview to this paper, while Fischer initially suggests that a dynamic model is superior to a level-based model, he then suggests a ten-level developmental scale. While this initially suggested a contradiction to me, I assume that both perspectives (dynamic/cyclical and linear) are necessary to describe cognitive development.

I like the observation that “public expectations about relating brain science to educational practice are running far ahead of the realities of scientific knowledge.” It seems to me that we are still a long way from being able to make clear statements for the classroom, but of course in the meantime this is a fascinating area and just thinking about it can give us great teaching ideas.

The information about the growth of the cortex was completely new to me.

A prime
example is the growth of the cortex, which grows six layers in a cyclical
process of neuron generation and migration, as described by Rakic (1971;
1988). A single growth process thus produces six distinct layers in which
cells for different layers end up with vastly different functions, even
though they are all created by the same process.

To think that something as complex as the cortex can be developed in this way through evolution and to be repeated for every child is a truly wondrous thing. And that we can contemplate the wonder with that same cortex is a higher level of wonder again!

The graphs showing increasing (and sometimes decreasing) pronoun use as age increases is fascinating and is a good illustration of the spurts in performance:

Infants, children,adolescents, and young adults all move through periods when their skills are leaping forward at a fast pace, especially under conditions that support optimal performance (upper line).

and also of the periods in between these spurts:

In more ordinary performance, where they are not pushing the limits of their capacity, they commonly show either linear growth or unsystematic change.

Figure 8.2 is very similar to a figure that Robert introduced in one of his conference presentations. I have added it below:


I am still struggling a little in understanding how these ‘levels’ in the figure are actually realized in practice. Fischer helpfully answers part of my question by noting that a child’s development does not actually follow this linear progress for all skills simultaneously. Rather, people develop in a web-like manner with many strands progressing at the same time, all of which could be travelling at different speeds. In addition, people can regress or perform at lower levels than expected if the context is not supportive.

Fischer gives a detailed explanation of the development from single abstractions to abstract mappings all the way up to principles. I must confess to getting a bit lost in some of these explanations ;)

It is very interesting that spurts in EEG energy seem to correspond to the ages for cognitive spurts.

The description of the development of the cortex is also useful, especially:

The prefrontal cortex leads
the way, since empirical evidence indicates that the large majority of
systematic changes with age in networks involve connections between the
prefrontal cortex and other regions.

Figure 8.10 is also interesting and I have reproduced it below.

It is useful to see that skill level naturally rises and drops cyclically and that it is not anything that we are doing wrong in the classroom ;)

The collapses do not indicate difficulties. Instead they are normal and
required, reflecting the need to build and rebuild a skill with variations so
that the person can eventually sustain it in the face of changes in context
and state.

The section on p145-146 is illuminating in warning about the potential dangers of brain science claims for education. The researchers used their data to claim that no learning could occur during particular development phases and so no new concepts should be introduced at these times. This kind of prescriptive approach can clearly be dangerous, especially in our current state of knowledge, and without a clear understanding of individual education contexts.

Overall, I found this paper useful in understanding the development of the human brain over time. 


Review: Hypnosis – A Guide for Patients and Practitioners

This is a much more conservative and traditional book on hypnosis than many books that are aimed more directly at NLP folk. Watson aims this book primarily at doctors, dentists, and other health professionals who are interested in using hypnosis as an additional therapy in their arsenal. This focus on health professionals makes sense because the book was originally published in 1981 as part of a series called Medicine Today.

Chapter 6, When to Use Hypnosis, is especially useful for health professionals and others who are interested in using hypnosis in facilitating health. It explains the use of hypnosis in medical terms for ailments such as anxiety, pyschosomatic illnesses, phobias, obsessional illness, neuroses, problems of personality, and addictions. The rather traditional and old-fashioned approach of the book is most exemplified by the section on “the sexual variations” with suggestions on how aversion therapy can be used to overcome homosexuality. It is a long time since 1981 and the contemporary concept of gay marriage presumably wasn’t on Watson’s mind 31 years ago 🙂

The book also includes a history of hypnosis, an attempt at providing a physiological explanation of how it works, an outline of some simple induction techniques, and a description of authoritarian/permissive techniques.

The book feels quite updated at this point but can still provide an interesting perspective on hypnosis, especially for health professionals or NLP practitioners working with health professionals in some capacity.


Review: The Bluffer’s Guide to Life Coaching

I loved this little book. It’s only 86 pages but manages to cover a lot of the important issues in a life-coaching in a humourous, but also useful way.

It touches some of the important questions about life-coaching such as “what life coaches don’t do”. The author points out that most life coaches define themselves by what they are not, rather than what they are. Life coaching is not therapy… life coaching is not about the past … life coaching is not about telling you the answer. For a life-coach, it certainly is a rather interesting way to define oneself as it certainly doesn’t match the positively stated requirement for an NLP well-formed outcome.

The book briefly and humourously skips through the origins of life coaching, the life coach’s tool bag, life coaches and life events, life coaching specialisms, life coaching qualifications, and more. Some of it is very useful for people to understand what a life coach does. Other sections are useful for life coaches to see how an intelligent outsider can view them.

All in all, certainly worth the 99 cents that I paid for it at an online bookstore. A fast read and lots of fun.

Review: Healers on Healing

This is one of a collection of old books that I bought from an online second-hand book store. As people seem to be reading less and less, there are some incredible bargains going, particularly on old books. I think I paid 99 cents for this book.

This is a lovely collection of essays by healers from many different modalities. Some of the healers come from rather alternative areas such as Native American spiritual healing, while others are practicing medical doctors who talk about their work in more holistic terms than the average doctor.

The book is divided into eight sections:

  1. Love is the Healer
  2. Returning to Wholeness
  3. The Healer Within
  4. The Healing Relationship
  5. The Role of the Healer
  6. The Healing Attitude
  7. Consciousness and the Healing Response
  8. Healing as our Birthright

Most of the essays emphasize the power of the human body to self-heal in the right conditions. Many also emphasize the power of the healing relationships – simply being with the person fully and completely, listening to them, and helping them to resolve inner conflicts. Most of the healers note that no particular modality of healing is necessarily (even their own), but rather than the human body heals itself when it is allowed the appropriate conditions.

Another common theme, or Golden Thread as the book terms it, is that healing is more than curing the body of whatever ailment is affecting it. A person can be healed and still die of cancer, but the death can be transformed from one of hatred and disconnectedness into a death of acceptance and love.

The afterword of the book finishes with the lovely summarizing paragraph:

“Perhaps the greatest gift our authors have given us is an enhanced sense that we are all healers. Effective healing does not necessarily stem from an increased education or mastery of technique. Rather, healing can take place when one or more persons open their hearts and spirits to the gifts they already possess.”

Review: Fundamentals of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy : A 13-hour Course with the Masters

This is a fine collection of five videos (a total of 13 hours) about Ericksonian hypnosis and is  recommended for anyone who wants to take their knowledge of Ericksonian hypnosis beyond the Milton Model and to explore the richness of Ericksonian work that has not been integrated into NLP.


There is so much on these videos including inductions, accessing resources, deepening trance, utilizing trance, and so much more. I particularly enjoyed Stephen Langton and Stephen Gilligan’s sections, but it is all highly useful and I will be watching it again from the beginning.

It appears to be still available here and I have reproduced the description below from that website.

This program was presented at the Tenth International Congress on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, December 2-5, 2007, Phoenix, Arizona

Fundamental Hypnosis – Level 1
Induction Techniques
Stephen Lankton, M.S.W., DAHB

Lecture, demonstration and practice workshop go step-by-step through the phases of trance induction. Differences between well-known methods are explained.

Fundamental Hypnosis – Level 2
Ideodynamic Approaches to Therapeutic Hypnosis
Ernest Rossi, Ph.D.

Group and individual demonstrations of basic ideodynamic approaches to therapeutic hypnosis utilizing Rossi’s innovative activity-dependent work with hand signaling.

Fundamental Hypnosis – Level 3
Getting a Good Trance Going
Betty Alice Erickson, M.S., LPC

Various trance inductions are demonstrated with volunteers. Each induction is discussed with indications for its uses. Differences between formal and conversational trances are demonstrated with rationales for choosing each.

Fundamental Hypnosis – Level 4
Accessing and Contextualizing Resources in Hypnosis
Michael Yapko, Ph.D.

Erickson’s approach typically featured finding hidden personal resources and extending them into situations where they would help the client. This basic but valuable strategy is shown in a video clip of Dr. Erickson. A structured practice session follows.

Fundamental Hypnosis – Level 5
Use of the Therapist’s Self in Hypnotherapy
Stephen Gilligan, Ph.D.

This workshop describes how a therapist can join a client’s reality to hypnotically generate a “therapeutic trance” that includes both the problem and resources, as well as the client’s and the therapist’s perspectives. In this way, a therapeutic trance is one that “transcends yet includes” the client’s problem in a way that allows new freedoms and possibilities.

Review: Innovations in NLP for Challenging Times

Review: Innovations in NLP for Challenging Times
by L.Michael Hall & Shelle Rose Charvet

The field of NLP has been split pretty badly since Richard Bandler and John Grinder went their separate ways. Bandler and Grinder hold completely different standards for NLP Practitioner Certification and other qualifications, so the field naturally shows the same discrepancy in standards and abilities of practitioners.

Simultaneously, there have been numerous new developments in NLP over the last 20-30 years and sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether they are to be considered new areas of study/business or whether they are an extension of the basic concepts of NLP. To some degree, NLP is always going to suffer from this distinction because there is no clear distinction between the modelling that constitutes NLP and the techniques that it models and then later can incorporate into the NLP model itself. For example, many of the techniques modelled from Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson have become basic NLP techniques and concepts, although some NLP people might argue that what was important was the modelling process itself, and not the results.

A book like this, Innovations in NLP for Challenging Times, goes some way towards resolving both of these issues, and Michael Hall and Shelle Rose Charvet are to be greatly commended on the scope of their vision and the clean execution of a book that draws together ideas and concepts from a large number of very diverse thinkers in the field of NLP

Over the last 10 years, I have tried to keep abreast of what is happening in the field of NLP, and I wish that this book had been available for me. Rather than burrowing around on multiple websites and other books to find out about Metastates, provocative therapy, symbolic modelling and much much more, this book offers a large number of these ideas in a well-presented and highly readable style.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a good grounding of the traditional ideas of NLP and wants to see how the field has moved forward. The presentation of the ideas in this book is more coherent than the complex and rich real world of NLP, but a book like this offers a map, which is not the territory, but sure is useful in showing how the true potential of NLP could be realized.

Review: Adventures of Anybody by Richard Bandler


This is a rather strange book, and that is probably to be expected from Richard Bandler. None of his books are what you would exactly call ‘ordinary’. This book is Bandler’s more open foray into the world of fantasy and metaphor. He says that after writing five books in quick succession, he opened up to his unconscious mind and wrote this book.

And it is best to read this with an open unconscious mind and to send your conscious mind off on a well-deserved holiday somewhere. It’s a short read at 110 pages. The story is about a prince who wants to find himself and finds himself in more ways and through more perspectives than he could ever have imagined. It’s a fun read although (probably deliberately) confusing in many places. It could be used as a bedtime story book for children or a nice break for an adult who needs to get a new perspective on the world.

The book is full of embedded metaphors, Ericksonian language patterns, and other NLP techniques. Well worth a read, and very different to most NLP-related books out there.

Review: Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds

Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds
by Wendy Sullivan & Judy Rees



This is a beautiful little book which is well-written and full of useful insights. Clean language consists entirely of questions and it is intended to offer a new way of thinking about how people’s minds actually work. It also helps people to explore their internal metaphors and enriching these metaphors in a way that can lead to an enrichment of their external lives. It is also well illustrated with lots of little cartoons which help to explain the text very quickly.

Clean Language was developed by David Grove. It consists of very simple but powerful questions which go further even than NLP in focusing solely on process and leaving the content entirely up to the client. The twelve basic Clean Language questions are shown below in three groups.

Developing Questions

  • (and) what kind of X (is that X)?
  • (and) is there anything else about X?
  • (and) where is X? or (and) whereabouts is X?
  • (and) is there a relationship between X and Y?
  • (and) when X, what happens to Y?
  • (and) that’s X like what? [used for eliciting a metaphor]

Sequence and Source Questions

  • (and) then what happens? or (and) what happens next?
  • (and) what happens just before X?
  • (and) where could X come from?

Intention Questions

  • (and) what would X like to have happen?
  • (and) what needs to happen for X?
  • (and) can X (happen)?

These questions are all that is used in most Clean Language sessions, often using the same question several times in a row to get the client to explore their internal representations more fully.

It takes a while to get used to the questions and asking them in exactly the form that they are given can be challenging at first. When I thought about using them, I sometimes felt that they were too constraining and that I wanted more freedom.  However, when I talked to a friend about a difficult issue that he was working through, I primarily used these questions and despite the strange syntax at times they caused no confusion and were very helpful in getting him to sort out his own internal issues and to enrich his metaphors for how to move forward.

I’ll be coming back to Clean Language and a related topic, Symbolic Modelling, over the next few months as this is such an interesting area that I have signed up for an online course with a British training school. I’m looking forward to that and in the meantime, I’m planning to enjoy using Clean questions when I want to focus entirely on process and leave the content entirely to the client.

Review: Gerald Kein’s Beginner-Advanced Hypnosis Training

This video series by Gerald Kein (Omni Hypnosis Training Center) is an impressive hypnosis training consisting of 18 videos of about two hours each which take the viewer from basics up to a very competent level of hypnosis and its applications. The first 12 videos make up the Beginner-Intermediate section of the course. It starts from the history of hypnosis and moves into induction techniques and utilization of trance for therapeutic purposes. The remaining six videos make up the Advanced section and teach rapid/instant induction techniques, regression, addiction treatment, direct suggestion, recreational regressionand much more in great detail.

Perhaps what will be most useful to many NLP practitioners are the induction techniques which are introduced including the Dave Elman techniques. Ericksonian hypnosis primarily focuses on indirect suggestion, and the more direct techniques in this series will be of great value to many practitioners who want to induce trance more quickly, or who are working with people who are less responsive to indirect techniques.

Some of the other gems in this series are a good section on pendulum use showing how it can not just be a great hypnosis tool, but also a useful marketing tool! There is also an excellent section on self-hypnosis and how to improve your skills at entering a trance quickly.

Kein’s presentation is humourous and entertaining. He engages very well with the people on the course and his methods of creating rapport are another thing that we can learn from.  The explanations and demonstrations are extremely practical and Kein is obviously highly experienced. He tells many anecdotes about his own experiences with patients over many years while he ran a large hypnosis practice. He gets to the important points quickly and comes across as genuinely interested in getting hypnosis more widely accepted as a highly effective technique in achieving positive change in people’s lives.

I would recommend this series as a very good addition to the skill set of any NLP practitioner. NLP has been so influenced by Ericksonian hypnosis that practitioners often do not get sufficient exposure to other forms of hypnosis, especially the Dave Ellman techniques which are so powerful. The length of this course may be offputting to some, but this is all highly useful learning material. It is available from Omni Hypnosis Training Center.

Review: The Wild Days: NLP 1972-1981

The Wild Days: NLP 1972-1981
Terrence McClendon




What a fun little book and a great read for anyone who has taken NLP training and wonders where it all came from. McClendon was there right from the beginning days of NLP when Bandler and Grinder were carrying out all that crazy stuff in Santa Cruz. This is the best historical account of that period and although it is relatively brief (about 130 pages), it contains a huge amount of interesting and useful information about the development of the concepts of NLP and the interaction between the developers.

Each chapter takes us forward chronologically from 1972 when it began up to 1981 when Grinder and Bandler went separate ways and NLP broke into numerous strands. McClendon describes the beginnings in Gestalt Therapy, the initial classes and workshops by Bandler at the University of California in Santa Cruz, the beginning of the collaboration with Grinder, and the long crazy party-like workshops that went on through the night usually involving deep trance. From these beginnings, NLP moved onto modelling Virginia Satir’s work in Family Therapy and Milton Erickson’s work in hypnosis. There is much much more here that will be of interest and entertainment value for people involved in NLP today.

This is a short read, presented in simple straightforward prose. I read it from cover to cover in about 90 minutes. The illustrations by the author are rough sketches of various scenes from the history of NLP and they add to the intimate feeling of the text.

Review: Persuasion Engineering

Persuasion Engineering: Sales & Business Language & Behavior
©1996 by Richard Bandler & John LaValle
Meta Publications

In the past, I had heard the audio of the Persuasion Engineering seminar and this book seems to be a pretty close transcript of that seminar. Richard Bandler is a master of voice use and much of this is inevitably lost in the format of the written word. The embedded metaphors, too,  which Bandler uses extensively in his training are not as effective in the book as they are in the audio. Without the appropriate auditory cues and silences, this book is often difficult to follow and confusing. Of course, Bandler does use confusion deliberately as a trance-induction techniques, but there were many points in this book where I felt confused only as I tried to figure out what on earth he was talking about. I have no doubt that the authors deliberately meant to keep these confusing sections intact, so that they could achieve more direct communication with the unconscious mind, but for me personally this communication worked far better in the audio format. Another read through it would surely reveal much more and help greater understanding.

The book is aimed at sales people and is presents many of the standard concepts of NLP in that context, including representational systems, eye patterns, anchoring, meta model, milton model, and timeline work. This is not an appropriate book to learn all of these things for the first time because they are only presented partially and in an ad hoc manner as they are useful for each demonstration or explanation or story. However, for a reader who is already familiar with all of the basic NLP techniques, this book will provide many rich examples of how they can be applied highly effectively in the sales process.

Bandler’s stories run throughout the book, often entertaining, always sounding considerably exaggerated, and often revealing their deeper metaphoric meaning on a second or third reading. For me, I found the audio more useful, but even just this book will certainly give the reader some powerful insights into how NLP can be used in practical ways in selling.

The Persuasion Engineering series is available as a book or on DVD from The NLP Store.


Review: Tad James NLP Practitioner Pre-Study Course

This audio course is designed for people who are intending to take Tad James’ NLP Practitioner Course, but it also stands alone as an excellent course about the basic concepts of NLP and Time Therapy and how to apply them in the areas of Business, Education, and Therapy.

The most important difference between James’ course and similar audio programs by Richard Bandler is probably the focus on the conscious mind as well as learning through the unconscious mind. In Bandler’s work, he uses powerful metaphor to teach to the unconscious mind, but some people can walk away from his seminars not really knowing or being able to verbalize what they have learned. Although James does use metaphor, too, he uses it sparingly and focuses much more on a succinct presentation of the techniques and tools of NLP to the conscious mind. Personally, I find James to be much more accessible as teaching materials, and Bandler to be much more artistic, creative, and entertaining in his use of NLP. James is a good teacher – he chunks the material very well into digestible chunks and helps the learner through repetition and well-ordered content. He also does reviews and previews which are very helpful.

James is also a fine hypnotist and makes good use of guided trances, especially future time line therapy, to help the listener internalize the concepts. Apart from the trance sequences, James is using Milton language and well-designed repetition throughout the audio programs to help the listener to learn.

This is a long audio program, more than 18 hours, and James covers all the basic NLP material very well. People who listen to this program a few times before attending his practitioner course in person will without a doubt be on very solid ground in their learning.

Some of the final segments in the audio program look at the use of NLP in sales very closely and James previous work in sales stands to him very strongly in this area. He also talks about the applications for education and the use of NLP with kids in detail.

Tad James website ( describes this collection as follows:

This is a 20 CD set of all the Practitioner info you need to attend the Training. Recorded in Digital Audio this collection is designed specifically as a pre-study collection so you can prepare to attend the NLP Practitioner Training. Included are all the techniques of the NLP Practitioner training and the mind-set to prepare you to be the best practitioner you can be. And if you are already a Practitioner of NLP – it’s a great resource to have!

Overall, this is an excellent audio program, produced by a fine teacher and a fine businessman, as well as a fine NLP master. This program is highly recommended for beginners or for people who want a refresher in NLP.

Review: Richard Bolstad NLP Practitioner Audio Program

I consider myself very fortunate to have trained with Richard Bolstad for my NLP practitioner and master practitioner courses. Along with Judith DeLozier, he stands out for me as one of the most personally and professionally congruent people in the field of NLP. I got this audio program many years ago and got a whole new level of understanding by listening to it again after a gap of many years.

The audio program was produced by the NLP training institute, Transformations, which also included the trainers Margot Hamblett (Richard’s partner who passed away several years ago), Bryan Roads, and Lynn Timpany.

This audio program offers many of the best examples of using NLP to teach NLP that I have heard or seen. Richard is a powerful communicator who has thoroughly integrated the presuppositions, language patterns, and techniques of NLP into his own trainings. He introduces many of the techniques through multi-layered metaphors and nested loops and uses Milton language throughout to help students to learn at both a conscious and unconscious level. An indirect teaching through metaphor is always followed by step-by-step explanations to facilitate conscious learning of the process.

Richard and his partner, Margot, also use many memory devices such as memory pegs which are used to help the students quickly learn the patterns of the Meta Model. Richard trained with Tad James and while Tad James’ influence is still clearly evident, he has improved that already effective approach in many ways that have made his teaching very much his own.

The website describes the product as follows:

Sixteen 45 minute CDs recorded at the Transformations Practitioner course, as taught in New Zealand and Japan. Covers an introduction to NLP, rapport building, sensory system use, language patterns for clarification and influence, reframing, healing past trauma, conflicts, limiting beliefs, confusions and phobias, setting and achieving future goals, and much more.

Although it does indeed cover all of these processes and ideas in detail, this audio program can probably best be thought of as a follow-up and refresher for NLP practitioners, rather than as a complete program in itself. Of course, if you get the opportunity to supplement your listening with live training by Richard Bolstad, that is a very fine combination, indeed.

Review: Christopher Howard NLP Practitioner Audio Course

By chance, I listened to this series by Chris Howard right after I had watched Tad James Practitioner Course DVDs, and the similarities are enormous, right down to almost the same words in the same stories in many cases. I did a quick Google search and it looks like Christopher Howard trained with Tad James. However Christopher Howard has modelled Tad James so closely that the courses seem indistinguishable at many points. This is not necessecarily a criticism as Tad James’ courses are very well presented and chunked for easy learning, and Howard’s courses follow the same easily-digested format. It is rather amusing, however, to hear the stories about Howard’s clients which follow precisely the same words as Tad James’ clients, and perhaps ironic for a product that Chris Howard calls Creation Technologies. However, despite any ironies, this is a quality product that will be very useful for many people.

Although Tad James’s courses are called ‘accelerated’, they are tortoises compared to the speeding hare that is Howard. The speed of delivery is very fast and I found this quite effective, but it might be difficult for beginners, or for people who want to take more time to carry out processes. However, doing the processes quickly does have the benefit that things are often moving faster than the conscious mind can keep up, and it is the unconscious mind that can make the changes. Another advantage of the high speed pace is that the total length of the course (78 tracks on 22 CDs) is only about 9 hour, thus allowing it to be listened to in its entirety several times in the time that it would take to listen to some other courses only once. Of course, this speed is a matter of personal preference, and some people will clearly find it too quick.

The course covers all the essential bases of NLP practitioner well including well-formed outcomes, anchoring, rapport, strategies, meta model, Milton model, and much more. I would highly recommend it for people who want to get a fast refresher on all the basics of NLP.


In CD13, Howard takes a sudden jump into talk about energy work and Huna. This is again presumably drawn at least partly from Tad James’ work, but Tad James makes the demarkation between NLP and Huna much clearer than Howard, and the sudden leap into energy work in the middle of the program right between Anchoring and Parts Integration is slightly disorientating!

Unlike many NLP audio courses which are recorded in a live setting, the audio is very well recorded and clear, and I particularly enjoyed Howard’s use of music throughout the program. It is very professionally produced and presented with great instrumentals linking the lessons and even providing background for doing the exercises. Howard’s voice also worked well for me in the inductions which were well designed and had nice timing, obviously a little slower than the high speed of the regular lessons!