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John Grinder Ph.D. ( ; born 1940) is an American linguist, author, management consultant, trainer and speaker. Grinder is credited with the co-creation with Richard Bandler of the field of Neuro-linguistic programming. He is co-director of Quantum Leap Inc., a management consulting firm founded by his partner Carmen Bostic St. Clair in 1987 (Grinder joined in 1989). Grinder and Bostic St. Clair also run workshops and seminars on NLP internationally.


John Thomas Grinder, Jr.[32484] graduated from the University of San Franciscomarker with a degree in psychology in the early 1960s. Grinder then entered the United States Army where he served as a Captain in the US Special Forces in Europe during the Cold War; following this he apparently went on to work for a US Intelligence Agency. In the late 1960s, Grinder went back to college to study Linguistics and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diegomarker in 1971. His dissertation was titled On Deletion Phenomena in English and was published by Mouton in 1976.

In the early 1970s Grinder worked in George A. Miller's lab at Rockefeller Universitymarker. After receiving his Ph.D. Grinder took a full-time assistant professor position at the University of California, Santa Cruzmarker (UCSC) linguistics faculty. He engaged in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and research. His research focused on Noam Chomsky's theories of transformational grammar specializing in syntax and deletion phenomena. He published several research papers with Paul Postal on the syntactical structures relating to "missing antecedents" or missing parasitic gaps for the pronoun. They argued that the syntactic structure of a deleted verb phrase (VP) is complete.. Postal and Grinder's doctoral adviser at UCSC, Edward Klima were involved in the early development of generative semantics.

Grinder also published a linguistics text book with Suzette Elgin titled A Guide to Transformational Grammar: History, Theory, Practice . In 2005 Grinder published Steps to an Ecology of Emergence with Tom Malloy and Carmen Bostic St Clair in the journal Cybernetics and Human Knowing.

Development of Neuro-linguistic programming

In 1972, while at UCSC, Grinder was approached by an undergraduate psychology student, Richard Bandler, who requested his assistance to model Gestalt therapy. Bandler had spent much time recording and editing recordings of Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt therapy) and had learned Gestalt therapy implicitly. Starting with Fritz Perls, followed by leading figure in family therapy Virginia Satir, and later the leading figure in hypnosis in psychiatry Milton Erickson, Grinder and Bandler continued to model the various cognitive behavioral patterns of these therapists, which they published in The Structure of Magic Volumes I & II (1975, 1976), Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volumes I & II (1975, 1977) and Changing With Families (1976). This work formed the basis of the methodology that became the foundation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Bandler and Grinder began hosting seminars and practice groups. These served as a place for Bandler and Grinder to practice and test their newly discovered patterns while allowing them to transfer the skills to the participants. Several books were published based on transcripts of their seminars including Frogs into Princes (1979). During this period, a creative group of students and psychotherapists formed around Grinder and Bandler, who made valuable contributions to NLP, including Robert Dilts, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Stephen Gilligan and David Gordon.

In the 1980s Bandler, Grinder and their group of associates split acrimoniously, and stopped working together. Following this, many members of their group went out on their own and took NLP in their own directions. Some of Bandler and Grinder's books went out of print for a while due to legal problems between the co-authors. Structure I & II, and Patterns I & II considered the foundation of the field were later republished. Bandler attempted to claim legal ownership of the term Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), however it was eventually deemed to be a generic term, and could therefore not be trademarked. Grinder and Bandler settled their claims around 2001, clearing a platform for the future development of NLP as a legitimate field of endeavor.

New code of NLP

Between 1982-1987, strongly influenced by anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson, who had a strong focus on ecology as a psychological construct, Grinder and Judith DeLozier collaborated to develop the New Code of NLP. Grinder and Bateson had met during their affiliation with Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruzmarker during the 1970s. Grinder and Delozier presented an aesthetic framework for the "classic code" of NLP that explicates the involvement of ecology and the unconscious mind in change work. Ecology in NLP is about respecting the integrity of the system as a whole when assessing a change to that system; the 'system' in this case is a person's model of the world and the consequences of that model in the person's environment. Practically speaking, this consideration entails asking questions like "What are the intended effects of this change? What other effects might this change have, and are those effects desirable? Is this change still a good idea?"The seminars were transcribed and published in 1987, Turtles All the Way Down; Prerequisites to Personal Genius.

The New Code of NLP has been further developed by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair who founded Quantum Leap Inc.; a cultural change consultancy firm. Currently John and Carmen present some public seminars on NLP internationally. In 2001, Grinder (with Bostic St Clair) published Whispering in the Wind with "[a] set of recommendations as to how specifically NLP can improve its practice and take its rightful place as a scientifically based endeavor with its precise focus on modeling of the extremes of human behavior: excellence and the high performers who actually do it." Grinder has since strongly encouraged the field to make a recommitment to what he considers the core activity of NLP, modeling.



Reviews and discussion by others

Neuro-linguistic programming

New code of NLP

See also

Notes and references

  1. Linguistics dissertations at UCSD, 1972
  2. Labov, W., Fox, RC. (1973) "Sociolinguistic patterns: Physicians and Patients Facing the Unknown" ISBN 0812210522 p.198
  3. Postal, P. (2008) Missing Parasitic Gaps In "Parasitic Gaps", Peter W. Culicover (Ed.) The MIT Press.
  4. Linguistic Theory: Syntax, semantics, pragmatics. Annual Reviews p.351
  5. UCSD 1972 alumni
  6. Elgin has since published various poems and short stories, she is also know for her non-fiction series Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series.e.g. Elgin, S. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense (1980), ISBN 0-13-351080-8
  7. (See Appendix of Whispering in the Wind.)

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