The Natural Evolution of New Code NLP

February 14, 2008

How New Code NLP came into being and it’s progression


NLP co-creator John Grinder recognised many years ago that for NLP to remain at the leading edge in training and creating change, it too must change. Like any discipline NLP needs to be constantly updated with new ideas. While so many NLP Trainers teach NLP courses that are stuck in Grinder’s thinking of thirty years ago, we at the NLP Academy have joined forces with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair to ensure that our learners are exposed to new ideas ‘hot off the press’ from the Grinder/Bostic creativity lab. This has led to the natural evolution of Classic and New Code NLP.

The NLP story that began in the early seventies was changing towards the end of that decade. Grinder and Bandler had originally joined forces to model and code patterns of genius. They never anticipated how quickly news of the NLP story would spread, or the subsequent levels of public interest. As a result of their modelling projects, the NLP co-creators had assimilated an enormous amount of patterning. Grinder and Bandler turned their minds to a different form of work and that is the design of models. To do this, they began to manipulate the variables in the patterning they had assimilated. Design models therefore included a manipulation of different components of the earlier modelling work, but no exemplar (like Erickson) had been modelled. The NLP techniques of ‘change personal history’ and ‘phobia cure’ are examples of NLP design and not NLP modelling.

Like many creative partnerships, after seven years together the co-creators of NLP were having some ideological differences and went their separate ways. Both men held NLP courses both individually and with other colleagues, training the pattering they (Grinder/Bandler) had created. Early to mid 1980’s John Grinder surveyed the terrain of the field he co-created and was somewhat disappointed at the level of personal incongruence in NLP Practitioners. Grinder saw NLP trained people who were able to weave spells of magic for their clients’ and yet these people who had access to powerful patterning of change were failing miserably in applying NLP in their own lives.

The New Code Difference

The Classic Code is the patterning created by Grinder and Bandler through their 1970’s collaboration. The New Code story began around 1984, and is the patterning John Grinder began to create to with Judith Delozier and then continued to develop with Carmen Bostic St Clair. The original intention was to correct the coding flaws in the Classic Code and build in self congruency to the pattern design. Whilst the New Code story started in 1984, (making it not that new), the patterning is constantly being updated, with new processes being developed by John and Carmen as well as creative people, who, like me find the philosophy and potential of the New Code appealing.

The New Code emergence in Europe

Through the 1990’s and early part of 2000, John and Carmen spent a large amount of time working in the corporate world. Their public NLP courses were predominately held in Latin America with the occasional visit to Australia and Europe. I met John and Carmen at a course in 1998 and was really impressed by their style and work.

I began to work with John and Carmen in 2002 after the publication of Whispering in the Wind. Up until this point, the people of Latin America had the most exposure to the New Code patterning. I made it one of my early intentions to make the New Code patterning widely available in Europe. At the time I thought much of the NLP on offer in the UK was either sterile conscious mind oriented (teaching out of date patterns) or the contrasting ‘pile em high’, ‘hype them up’ and teach them very little ‘conveyor belt’ approach.

The NLP Academy hosted the first New Code course with John and Carmen in 2003 which was a resounding success. Moving forward to 2008 this year, John, Carmen and I will teach two Practitioner courses (integrating Classic and New Code), one Trainers Training, one New Code Trainers Training and one Modelling course in the UK. For our last ‘Trainers Training’, people attended from North, America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe and Australasia, making it a truly international course. We launched the ITA (International Trainers Academy of NLP) as a means of maintaining standards in NLP. An ITA trainer has experienced an extensive testing process to ensure they have the necessary training and NLP skills. ITA trainers design their courses to fit a standard on content and style. Practitioners who attend a course led by an ITA Trainer also are tested for competence. There is a special category of ITA trainers who have undergone additional training and are classified ‘Approved New Code Trainers’.

Integrating the Classic and New Code

At the time I joined forces with John and Carmen, I was successfully leading Classic Code courses that were supported with an extensive Multi Media home learning CD ROM package. (John and Carmen were not involved in this In essence we had an eight day Classic Code course (taught from a New Code perspective) offering the core NLP patterning that was comparable in some way with the training everyone else in NLP was offering. In addition we had a four day Advanced Skills course offering New Code NLP and some other patterning I had developed or adapted. If someone wanted the basics they could compare the NLP Academy product with what else is on offer and book the NLP Academy Classic Code Course. If someone wanted a much richer learning experience they would book the Classic Code and Advanced Skills course i.e. a twelve day learning experience offering certification in Classic and New Code NLP. The Advanced Skills course was an extension to the Practitioner course and not a Master Practitioner course.

John, Carmen and I have had many interesting discussions about the training of NLP. One discussion point is the ideological differences in the Classic Code and New Code and how you train both sets of patterning. John, whilst proud of the Classic Code, is not caught up in it and has even made a challenge to me, questioning whether we need to teach it. John is I think, being provocative in challenging any inherent homeostasis in NLP courses or over attachment trainers may have to the Classic Code.

Nevertheless, the artificial partition I had created in my courses presented some delivery challenges. I was adhering to Classic Code patterns for the first eight days. Also with the simplicity and efficacy of New Code, people who had attended both modules would challenge why they had to learn longwinded anchoring formats to manipulate state when the New Code processes manipulated state far more effectively. I would counter that the anchoring formats provide valuable feedback on a Practitioner’s calibration levels and using anchoring as means to capture and stabilise state is valuable in many contexts. I could not help but notice I was bringing more and more New Code into my Classic Code Course.

Moving on from the Classic and New Code partition

The Classic Code/New Code partition currently also exists in our Trainers Training for logistical reasons. We welcome people from other NLP Institutes and we have people from all over the world attending Trainers Training. Many Trainers Training candidates have had have minimal exposure to New Code. At Trainers Training, we teach NLP Training skills and how to deliver NLP content as opposed to NLP content itself. So we certify Trainers as Classic Code Trainers and run an additional course for those seeking to be New Code Trainers.

Last year John and Carmen challenged me to find a way in the UK market to integrate New Code and Classic Code at Practitioner level to be able to move on from the partition. This is what had already been done in Latin America, but the NLP market was less mature in South America when John and Carmen began working there, compared to the current maturity of the NLP market in the UK. (Note a mature market can also be a stuck market).

In 2007, I had the idea of running a Practitioner and Trainers Training simultaneously. The initial idea meant the Practitioners could be mentored by a Trainer with both sets of learners benefiting enormously. This was an excellent opportunity to integrate the Classic and New Code into the same course at Practitioner level and not be bound by such a linear teaching structure. I christened the course ‘Premier Practitioner’. Interestingly because the Practitioners students were learning New Code right from the beginning, they were getting a skill set that their mentors (Trainers Training candidates) did not have, and in many cases the mentoring roles became reversed. Also the highly congruent Practitioners exposed incongruities in the many of the people taking trainers training. This was a huge insight to me, and I decide the Premier Practitioner format was the way forward.

In September 2008, we will also run a simultaneous Trainers Training and Premier Practitioner course. At the NLP Academy the brand Premier Practitioner is a synthesis of accelerated learning processes that teach both New Code and Classic Code in the same course. I will be recommending that our Trainers, in their courses also model this format.

To summarise, NLP began with the modelling projects John Grinder and Richard Bandler had conducted and moved to the design of NLP models based on previously assimilated patterning. The patterning that was coded through the Grinder/Bandler era is know as the Classic Code of NLP, and while highly effective, by Grinders’ own admission has flaws. The patterning that emerged in the post Grinder/Bandler originally with Grinder/ Delozier and later with Grinder/Bostic is the New Code of NLP and corrects design flaws in the Classic Code and the intention is to have self congruent Practitioners.

The NLP Academy had been the leading exponent of New Code NLP in the world, offering high class courses. The Academy went one step ahead of just teaching New Code to Practitioners, we are now teaching the Trainers and have become the first European NLP institute to create a Practitioner course that synthesises the best of the Classic Code with the New Code in what is known as the Premier Practitioner.

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