History of NLP

Fritz Perls – Inspiration for the Meta Model

Fritz Perls was a Jewish psychiatrist and psychotherapist was one of three major therapists modeled by  Richard Bandler and John Grinder. He was himself heavily influenced by Wilhelm Reich, Jan Smuts, and Alfred Korzybski. As noted by Robert Dilts, Bandler and Grinder based much of the Meta Model on his patterns of questions.

Frederick Perls and his wife Laura were the founders of gestalt therapy. Here is part of his explanation of Gestalt.

“You can for instance, tear a house down into bricks into windows and so on. And when you have all the rubble there, you can count them, but it’s not house anymore … So what ever there is, the gestalt, which means the relationship of one part compared with a context, a larger unit, is what gives meaning.”

From the lecture, “Finding Self Through Gestalt Therapy” reproduced here

Ideas influencing NLP

  • Importance of physiology and breathing
  • The importance of sensory experience, rather than inwardly focused introspection as the means of awareness
  • Nonverbal cues – people communicate with their gestures
  • Spatial sorting- the use of physical location and putting feelings into action
  • Working with parts, and incongruence -personal conflicts within self
  • The importance of what a person is doing and how they are doing it rather than asking “why”

Fritz Perls Video


Interesting quotes

  • Anxiety is excitement minus oxygen.
  • I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine
  • Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge.
  • The neurotic person cannot appreciate himself, so he tears himself to pieces to get the world to appreciate him

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