John Grinder, Jr. was born in 1940 and studied psychology at the University of San Francisco. After serving in the Army during the 1960’s, Grinder took a job working for the United States Intelligence Agency. He continued his education at the University of California, San Diego and earned his Ph.D. in linguistics in 1971.
Upon graduation, Grinder accepted a teaching position at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He began exploring Chomsky’s theories of grammatical deletion and syntax. During his time there, he worked with Paul Postal and Edward Klima, focusing on integral semantic elements and syntactic construct.
While at UCSC, Grinder met Richard Bandler, a psychology student. The two worked together examining the teachings of Fritz Perls, Milton Erikson, and Virginia Satir. They eventually expanded upon the theories of these influential psychologists, and published their theories in multiple versions of The Structure of Magic. They continued to develop their own theories that ultimately led to the creation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Contribution to Psychology
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a form of therapy developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. Founded on various methodologies, including those of Perls, Satir, Erickson, as well as incorporating elements of linguistics and cognitive therapy, NLP is a self-help strategy that uses language and behavior to facilitate change. Despite the fact that there is minimal empirical support for this technique, NLP continues to attract clinicians and clients seeking to find relief from negative psychological symptoms.
Grinder and Bandler worked together for several years to teach NLP to clients and medical professionals. They hosted conferences, gave workshops and authored books. But after a lengthy legal battle over proprietary ownership rights, the partners severed their professional relationship. Several years later, Grinder began working with Judith Delozier and the result was the “New Code of NLP.” Expanding upon the original framework of NLP, Grinder and Delozier challenged the previously held beliefs relating to a person’s environment and their perception of their world. The New Code of NLP included in depth probing through self-examining questions.
NLP continued to evolve when Grinder began collaborating with Carmen Bostic St. Clair in the late 1980’s. The two have published books explaining the practical application of NLP, and work together to present seminars and workshops throughout the world. Although it has yet to be recognized as a scientifically based therapeutic approach, Grinder asserts that NLP is an effective and viable therapeutic technique that is based on the core principle of modeling.