Book Summaries

Frogs into Princes – Neuro Linguistic Programming

Frogs into Princes is based on an early introductory seminar by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Written in 1979 it was one of their first books and is a useful classic 30 odd years later.

Check out Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming at Amazon

 Chapter 1 – Sensory Experience

By studying people who are unusually talented, you can determine the structure of that talent and then teach it to others as a foundation.The function of modeling is to arrive at descriptions, which are useful – does it work or not? Can we get the same results as the person we modeled?

There is a belief that doing specific things to get specific outcomes is manipulation.

Many therapists and other communicators are unsuccessful because they mismatch representational systems. The person will be using kinesthetic words for example and the therapist will rephrase using visual descriptions or vice versa.

Humans tend to get stuck in patterns even though they aren’t getting their desired outcome. They don’t seem to have the behavioral flexibility to do something else.

Words we use

When you make contact with a person, they will probably be thinking in one of three main Representational Systems – images, feeling, sounds. If you pay attention to the process words someone uses (verbs, adverbs and adjectives), you can match them to gain rapport.

Words bring into your consciousness certain parts of your experience and not other parts. When you learn a language, you inherit the wisdom (and otherwise) of the people who have gone before you.

Labels are traps; they stabilize behavior in unuseful ways.

Representations of words

There is a difference between what we experience and how we represent it. Our words connect to our experiences. Someone else’s words connect to their experiences. The word may be the same but the experience won’t be. See The Map is not the Territory

When people look up they are making pictures internally. Most right-handed people look up and to the left for remembered images, and up and to their right for constructed images. People give you information about what they are doing non-verbally. People’s eye movements are systematic for them.

Our senses aren’t passive receptacles. We learn to pay attention to certain pieces. We are all capable of noticing other aspects, for example tiny changes in skin color.

NLP Strategies

The way you motivate yourself may have the same structure as jealousy – you make a picture of what you want that feels good and then tell yourself how to make that picture come true.

Most learning disabilities are functions of the education system. All good spellers have the same formal strategy. They see a remembered image of the word they want to spell, and they know whether it is accurate by a kinesthetic check at the midline.

By learning someone’s strategy for achieving something, like creativity, you can duplicate it. If you have different brain organization than most other people, you will have novel behavior.

Use of representational systems

  • To communicate at the unconscious level without any awareness i.e. to indicate the sensory channel
  • To understand the need to pause to allow someone to process information
  • To interrupt a person’s processing.
  • To present a package of information
  • To use a person’s current model to teach a different subject i.e. to fit their model of the world
  • To overlap to another less used system with different resources.
  • To translate between representational systems
  • To create an altered state. If you don’t normally visualize in consciousness, visual guided fantasy could be mind-blowing. For those who visualize all the time it will be far less useful.
  • If you ask a question involving a motor program you can observe the parts of their body they will have to use in order to access the information.

Mental patients don’t seem to have a strategy to know what constitutes shared reality A hallucination is taking input from the outside, combining it with an internal response and then assuming it all came from outside.

Three major patterns of successful communicators.

  1. Knowing what outcome they want.
  2. Flexibility to generate different behaviors to get different responses
  3. The sensory experience to notice when they are getting the responses they want.

If you have the sensory refinements to discover the specific steps in the process the person uses to create an unuseful response they want to change, it gives you multiple points of intervention.

Anything that changes the representational system, pattern or sequence will make the response they are stuck in no longer possible. Once you know the steps, you can reverse the order, change the content, insert a new piece, or delete a step

Law of requisite variety (see NLP Presuppositions – basic beliefs and assumptions)

The element in the system with the widest range of variability will be the controlling element. Many professional codes limit behavior. The interesting thing about some things that are not professional is that they work.

Most mental patients are very good at acting weird and eliciting responses from people. People in mental institutions can tell you why they are the way they are, where it came from and how they stay unwell. This doesn’t change the pattern, which is the important thing.

Chapter 2 – Changing personal history

NLP Rapport

Pacing is about matching another person’s experience, both verbally and non-verbally. Mirroring is the essence of rapport, i.e. breathing at the same rate and depth.

Once you have paced, you can lead the person into new behavior by changing what you are doing. Pacing someone gives you rapport and trust and enables you to use their reality to change it. You don’t need to experience someone’s reality to understand it.

Anchored Responses

About 90% of what goes on in therapy is changing the kinesthetic responses that people have to auditory and visual stimuli. We don’t want to substitute one rigid stimulus response circuit for another. Choice is having multiple responses to the same stimulus. Bridging uses stimulus conditioning – make the trigger i.e. tone of voice access the resource.

Personal history is a myth; therefore, we can use it as a resource instead of a set of limitations. We can even generate an appropriate personal history through dreams. Changing personal history is going back into your history and adding resources. Somewhere in our experience, we have an appropriate resource we can transfer.

We anchor naturally and in all representational systems but aren’t aware. Words, postures and gestures can anchor us. Buildings and rooms can be anchors.

Couples get into trouble because the response they want from the other is different from the one they actually get. Instead of creating pleasant anchors through touch when they are happy, couples usually anchor each other into unpleasant states.

Anyone’s symptomatic behavior is a response to something. It might seem disconnected but this isn’t so.

A phobia is a one trial learning that was never updated.

Chapter 3 – Finding New Ways

Reframing – contacting the part responsible for a behavior and dealing with the secondary gain (its outcome).

The conscious mind is the one that knows the least about what’s going on in their behavior.

The Six Step Reframe Technique

  • Step 1 – Identify the pattern the person wants to change.
  • Step 2 – Establish communication with the part.
  • Step 3 – discover the intention of the part responsible for the pattern.
  • Step 4 – create some new alternatives to accomplish the intention using the person’s creative part.
  • Step 5 – ask the part if it would be willing to accept try out the new choices for a certain time
  • Step 6 – Check to ensure there are no objections to the new choices. If yes, recycle to Step 2

You don’t consciously need to know the intention or the new choices of the unconscious part. Sometimes a part organizes a behavior to do something and forgets why. It gets caught up in resisting your attempts to stop it. When behavior is disruptive, it is best to use it rather than try to stop it.

Reframing in this way gives the unconscious more choices or requisite variety. You can even use this process with physiological symptom.

Alcohol and drugs are anchors. You need to take care of the secondary gain (what you get from them) or some other thing will replace them. Once you have found effective ways to get the secondary gain then you anchor something else to take the place of the alcohol or drug stimulus.


With opposing views, you can reframe the two responses as alternate ways of getting an agreeable outcome. When both agree, the focus then becomes the most effective efficient way to get that outcome.

There is no necessary relationship between pain and change.

Any belief system is both a set of resources, and a set of limitations.

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