John Grinder

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John Grinder, Ph.D. (born 1940) is the co-creator (with Richard Bandler) of Neuro-linguistic programming.



John Grinder graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in psychology in the early 1960's. Grinder then entered the Military of the United States where he served as a Captain in the US Special Forces in Europe during the Cold War; following this he apparently went on to work for a US Intelligence Agency. In the late 1960's, Grinder went back to college to study Linguistics, eventually receiving a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego. After this Grinder studied with George A. Miller and at Rockefeller University. [1]

Following this, Grinder was selected as an assistant professor of linguistics at the newly founded University of California campus at Santa Cruz. During his academic career, Grinder focused on Noam Chomsky's theories of transformational grammar and worked on the area of syntax. His works in the area of linguistics include Guide to Transformational Grammar (co-authored with Suzette Elgin, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1973) and On Deletion Phenomena in English (Mouton & Co., 1972) and numerous articles. [2]

While at Santa Cruz, Grinder was requested by Richard Bandler, who was then a undergraduate psychology student, to model how Bandler did Gestalt therapy. Bandler had spent a lot of time transcribing Fritz Perls (founder of Gestalt therapy) and Bandler had implicitly learned Gestalt therapy. Starting with Fritz Perls, followed by leading figure in family therapy Virginia Satir, and later the leading figure in hypnosis in psychiatry Milton Erickson, Grinder and Bandler continued to model the various cognitive behavioral patterns of these therapists, which they published in their books The Structure of Magic Volumes I & II (1975, 1976), Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volumes I & II (1975, 1977) and Changing With Families (1976). These books and the modeling methologies used became the foundation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Bandler and Grinder began hosting seminars and practise groups. These served as a place for Bandler and Grinder to practice and test their newly discovered patterns while allowing them to transfer the skills to the participants. Several books were published based on transcripts of their seminars. During this period, a very creative group of students and psychotherapists formed around Grinder and Bandler, who made valuable contributions to NLP, including Robert Dilts, Leslie Cameron-Bandler, Judith DeLozier, Stephen Gilligan, David Gordon.

In the 1980s Bandler, Grinder and their group of associates encountered difficulty and stopped working together. Many members of their group went out on their own and took NLP in their own directions. Some of Bandler and Grinder's books went out of print for a while due to legal problems between the co-authors. Structure I & II, and Patterns I & II considered the foundation of the field were later republished. Bandler even attempted to claim ownership of the term Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), however it was found to be generic and could not be trademarked. Grinder and Bandler settled their claims clearing a platform for the future development of NLP as a legitimate field of endeavour. [see appendix of Whispering in the Wind]

Strongly influenced by his mentor's (anthropologist Gregory Bateson) concern with the lack of ecology and lack of explicit involvement of the unconscious mind in the original 'classic NLP' coding, Grinder subsquently began developing the 'new code of NLP'. Grinder collaborated with Judith DeLozier presenting a series of seminars including 'Turtles All the Way Down; Prerequisites to Personal Genius' which was transcribed and published in 1986.

John Grinder later founded Quantum Leap Inc. together with Carmen Bostic St Clair. They work together as cultural change consultants in large organizations, and present some public seminars on NLP. In 2001, they published 'Whispering in the Wind' in an attempt to correct the flaws in the original coding of NLP. In this book Grinder and Bostic St Clair provide an explicit description of the context of discovery, epistemology of NLP, and a framework for further research. Grinder strongly encourages the field to make a recommitment to what is the core activity of NLP, modeling. [3] Grinder has only trained in the United States twice over the last five years, and maintains that the quality of NLP training in the USA is of low quality.


  • The Structure of Magic: A Book About Language and Therapy: Volume I (1975) by John Grinder, Richard Bandler (ISBN 0831400447)
  • The Structure of Magic: A Book About Communication and Change: Volume II (1976) by John Grinder, Richard Bandler (ISBN 0831400498)
  • Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D, Volumes I (1975) by John Grinder, Judith Delozier, Richard Bandler (ISBN 1555520537)
  • Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D, Volumes II (1977) by John Grinder, Judith DeLozier, Richard Bandler (ISBN B000A91N0M)
  • Changing with families: a book about further education for being human (1976) by Bandler, Grinder, Satir - Science and Behavior Books.
  • Frogs into Princes, (1979), by John Grinder, Richard Bandler (ISBN 0911226192)
  • Trance-formations, (1981), by John Grinder, Richard Bandler (ISBN 0911226230)
  • Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning, (1982), by John Grinder, Richard Bandler (ISBN 0911226257)
  • Turtles All the Way Down; Prerequisites to Personal Genius, (1986), by Judith DeLozier, John Grinder (ISBN 1555520227)
  • Precision: A New Approach to Communication : How to Get the Information You Need to Get Results Precision, (1993), by Michael McMaster, John Grinder (ISBN 1555520499)
  • Whispering in the Wind, (2001), by Carmen Bostic St Clair, John Grinder (ISBN 0971722307)
  • RedTail Math: the epistemology of everyday life (working title) by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair.

Published Papers

  • Missing Antecedents (1971) - Linguistic Inquiry by John Grinder, Paul Postal
  • On Deletion Phenomena in English, (1972) Mouton & Co.,
  • Guide to Transformational Grammar (1973), by John Grinder, Suzette Elgin, publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1973)
  • Steps to an ecology of emergence. (2005) Malloy, T. E., Bostic St Clair, C. & Grinder, J. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 12, 102-119.

See also


External links

de:John Grinder fr:John Grinder

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