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John Grinder, Ph.D. (1940 – ) is an American author, linguist, and the co-creator (with Richard Bandler) of Neuro-linguistic programming.


John Thomas Grinder graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in psychology in the early 1960's. Grinder then entered the Military of the United States 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 1960's, Grinder went back to college to study Linguistics and in 1972 received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego for his work On Deletion Phenomena in English.[1]

In the early 1970s Grinder worked in George A. Miller's lab at Rockefeller University [2] and was then selected as an assistant professor of linguistics at the newly founded University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) campus. During his academic career, Grinder focused on Noam Chomsky's theories of transformational grammar specialising in syntax. Other academic works include Guide to Transformational Grammar (co-authored with Suzette Elgin, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1973) and more recently, Steps to an Ecology of Emergence (2005) [3] with Tom Malloy and Carmen Bostic St Clair.

Development of Neuro-linguistic programming

Main article: History of NLP

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 a lot of 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 practise 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, 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 endeavour. [4]

New code of NLP

Main article: New Code of NLP

Strongly influenced by his mentor and anthropologist Gregory Bateson, between 1982-1987 John collaborated with Judith DeLozier to develop the New Code of NLP. The patterns presented were designed to provide an aesthetic framework 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, 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 seminars trascribed 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."[5] Grinder has since, strongly encouraged the field to make a recommitment to what he considers the core activity of NLP, modeling. [6].


  • Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975a). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy, Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.. ISBN 0831400447.
  • Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975b). The Structure of Magic II: A Book About Communication and Change, PaloAlto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.. ISBN 0-8314-0049-8.
  • Grinder, John, Richard Bandler (1976). Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume I, Cupertino, CA :Meta Publications.. ISBN 1555520529.
  • John Grinder, Richard Bandler, Judith Delozier (1977). [- Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Volume II], -, Cupertino, CA :Meta Publications.. ISBN 1555520537.
  • John Grinder, Richard Bandler (1979). [- Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming], 194pp, Moab, UT: Real People Press.. ISBN 0-911226-19-2.
  • Grinder, John and Richard Bandler (1981). [- Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis], -, Moab, UT: Real People Press.. ISBN 0-911226-23-0.
  • Grinder, John and Richard Bandler (1983). [- Reframing: Neurolinguistic programming and the transformation of meaning], -, Moab, UT: Real People Press.. ISBN 0-911226-25-7.
  • Grinder, John & Judith DeLozier (1987). Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius, Scots Valley, CA: Grinder & Associates.. ISBN 1-55552-022-7.
  • Grinder, John, Michael McMaster (1993). Precision, ScotsValley, CA: Grinder & Associates. ISBN 1-55552-049-9.

  • Charlotte Bretto Milliner (ed.), John Grinder (ed.) and Sylvia Topel (ed.) (1994). Leaves before the Wind: Leading Edge Applications of NLP, Scots Valley, CA: Grinder & Associates. ISBN 1555520510.

  • Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001.). Whispering in the Wind, -, CA: J & C Enterprises.. ISBN 0-9717223-0-7.
  • Grinder, John, Carmen Bostic St Clair, Tom Malloy (Working title). RedTail Math: the epistemology of everyday life.

Academic Papers

  • John Grinder, Paul Postal (1971). [- Missing Antecedents, Linguistic Inquiry]. Mouton & Co., -: -.
  • John Grinder, Suzette Elgin (1972). [- On Deletion Phenomena in English]. Mouton & Co., -: -.
  • John Grinder, Suzette Elgin (1973). [- Guide to Transformational Grammar]. - -: -.
  • Malloy, T. E., Bostic St Clair, C. & Grinder, J. (2005). Steps to an ecology of emergence. Cybernetics & Human Knowing Vol. 11, no. 3: 102-119..

See also

Notes and references

  1. John Grinder, Suzette Elgin (1972). [- On Deletion Phenomena in English]. Mouton & Co., -: -.
  2. [1]
  3. *Malloy, T. E., Bostic St Clair, C. & Grinder, J. (2005). Steps to an ecology of emergence. Cybernetics & Human Knowing Vol. 11, no. 3: 102-119..
  4. (See Appendix of Whispering in the Wind.)
  5. Grinder, John & Carmen Bostic St Clair (2001.). Whispering in the Wind, 127, 171, 222, ch.3, Appendix, CA: J & C Enterprises. -.
  6. [2]

External links

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