The Roots of Marin Style NLP – Carl Buchheit, Course Master (reprint from 2008)

NLP Marin-style NLP has always been something that is difficult to characterize, especially when it comes to explaining how it is different. It has much in common with conventional NLP, yet it is tremendously not-like-that at the same time. So, from time to time I would like to share a little with you about where our forms of this wonderful work come from.

Their foundation is solidly in the amazing work of John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the 1970s. After all, even one of our Holographic NLP-level presuppositions is: “No matter how cosmic it gets, it’s still all pictures, sounds and feelings.” We never get too far away from this awareness, and when we do we return to it pretty quickly.

Although it is based in the NLP of the 1970s (what Robert Dilts calls “1st generation NLP), NLP Marin NLP is not about techniques and procedures for techniques. NLP Marin NLP is greatly filtered through my (Carl Bucheit’s) experience of Dr. Jonathan Rice. Jonathan was my main teacher. He was the only one of Richard and John’s early students to be a credentialed therapist and Ph.D. psychologist. Jonathan added 1970s NLP into the work he was already doing with his clients in his practice in Carmel, just down the road from Santa Cruz. He studied with and stayed around John and Richard not because of their great charm, but because he watched them get results with people that were beyond what he knew how to do. However, Jonathan did not throw away his training and experience as a psychologist.

“Jonathan-style NLP” is heavy on attention to hypnotic language, elegant use of the outcome frame, and close calibration of physiology—especially!!—physiology. Jonathan was determined to teach himself to use Richard and John’s remarkable discoveries about accessing cues to observe and understand the structure of his own clients’ experience. Jonathan never stopped refining and extending this part of the NLP model. For example, the “what stops you” question is something we owe in great part to Jonathan’s persistence and creativity. In the earliest day’s, “what stops you?” was asked for information about content (as in, “Just ask the question and write down what they say”), not for the representational physiology of unconscious safety patterning. “What are the pictures and sounds that are making the feelings?” is Jonathan’s question also. (He didn’t remember saying it, but he thought it was a great one when I brought it up, years later.)

“Jonathan-style NLP” is also something that is usually done seated, not standing, and it expects the practitioner to improvise and constantly adapt, so that no two sessions are identical, and the techniques, if they can be called that, are generally hidden in the flow of life-revising rapport. Moreover, the practitioner seeks to serve the client, not to impress him or her with the practitioner’s amazing personal power. This should all be instantly and hugely recognizable to our students.

I spent years switched with Jonathan. Anyone who knows Jon can sense this in me, any time I am teaching or working with clients. I am greatly indebted to him.