- Paperback: 225 pages
- Publisher: Science and Behavior Books; 1st edition (September 13, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0831400447
- ISBN-13: 978-0831400446
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Structure of Magic, Vol. 1: A Book About Language and Therapy 1st Edition
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The book consists of a series of self-invented formulas that use bits and pieces of linguistics and psychology to present "concepts" that were already laid out clearly by other authors years before. The book uses these pseudo-scientific diagrams and many unnecessarily complex, wordy explanations in order to (a) confuse the reader and (b) impress the easily impressionable as to how intelligent they are.
This book belongs in the same category as L. Ron Hubbard's books on Scientology or Werner Erhard's "EST." Bandler and Grinder based this book on their observations (which were apparently not very good) of Milton Erickson's psychotherapeutic techniques, which are outlined in much more comprehensible detail in other books. This book, however, is hogwash.
I was rather intrigued, when reading this book to notice a strategy of Virginia Satir. In one of her dialogues with a patient, when the patient explains a perceived issue with another person, she repeatedly challenges his thinking by asking 'Are you a mind reader?'
I now ask myself the same question on a regular basis. Sometimes, I ask other people that question too. If you think about it, that is a very good perception changing question unless, of course, you are a mind reader.
Another book I recommend in this field is Mind-lines: Lines For Changing Mindsby L Michael Hall, which has an extensive list of change patterns, and My voice will go with you, which is a book of the therapeutic teaching tales of Milton Erickson. I hope you find this review helpful.
Here Bandler and Grinder put it all together and demonstrate their model of psychotherapy. Volume 1 is about listening techniques; how to parse and analyze the client's speech to guide the therapeutic dialogue. Volume 2 builds on this in ambitious breadth, intending to formalize a method of psychotherapy that models the excellence of certain psychotherapists, and is reproducible and comprehensible. Staying with the mathematical approach first presented in Volume 1, the authors classify and group sentence fragments and words to find patterns, thus understand the client's internal psychology and then determine how to reply to the client, almost reflexively, based on these linguistic impressions.
Reading this is tough going. This could be a textbook in an advanced psychology course from an academic degree program. It is really the fourth book in a series, with the two volumes of "Patterns of Hypnotic Techniques of Milton Erickson", written the year before, being prerequisites. Many new concepts are presented in rapid sequence.
Part 1 builds further on the "Representational Systems" of Volume 1 to prepare the reader for Part 2.
Part 2 "Incongruity" and Part 3 "Fuzzy Functions" put the last pieces in place for the authors' method, and then demonstrate its application with examples. The authors have their own terminology and this makes their ideas all the more abstruse. References to Virginia Satir's methodology, which they incorporate into their own, are incomplete and assume prior knowledge. Annoyingly, the authors continue to use "insure" for the word "ensure".
Part 4 "Family Therapy" takes the methodology and, with a nod to Virginia Satir's work in this field, uses the family as the vehicle to show how their modus works in interpersonal cases.
Part 5 "Formal Notation" reflects Bandler's background in mathematics. Bandler and Grinder have used set theory to create a shorthand notation for describing the client's psychodynamics with their linguistic approach. It's unique but highly recondite. I wonder if this is really used by anyone anymore, including the inventors. It does suggest Bandler wanted to computerize psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and here is the notation for creating the algorithm. But it just makes understanding their novel approach all the more difficult.
Compared to Volume 1, Volume 2 offers more insight into the role of interpreting non-verbal communication (body language and verbal prosody) in the context of psychotherapy but is not rigorous about this. The student will need to study this elsewhere.
This all looks very difficult to apply. It would require great concentration and discipline, even with taking notes during therapy, to execute all the steps and arrive at the correct Bandler-Grinder patterns whilst in the office interviewing a client. Lots of practice is necessary. Like card-counting in blackjack, an error with this mathematical model could end up with the wrong conclusions and possibly result in bad therapy.
The comments on mind-reading in this book are ironic. As a co-author, Bandler asks the psychotherapist to see mind-reading as a sign of discordance between the Surface Structure and the Deep Structure. A shortcoming. But in 2011 with his seminar "Design Human Engineering" Bandler is now asking his students to explore mental telepathy as a new skill to adopt!
In theory, the master of this style of psychoanalytical psychotherapy could engage in standardized high-performance practice with confidence, with an (albeit complex) algorithm of where best to direct the therapy. Better than the sometimes discursive style of many psychotherapists.
I would like to see peer-reviewed articles from well-regarded journals that support the use of NLP psychotherapy. That would help convince me the investment of time, effort and money to learn this particular approach is worthwhile.