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Transforming Futures: The Brooklyn Program

Richard M. Gray has very kindly provided the facilitator’s manual for Transforming Futures: The Brooklyn Program as a free download from This is an incredible resource for NLP practitioners who are helping people with substance use disorders such as alcohol or drugs.
In the introduction to the manual, Gray says that:

The Program lasted for 16 weeks with weekly sessions of two hours each. More than 300 people passed through the Program over a period of seven years…. After using the Program for several years I discovered that it created such a radical
reorientation in most people that it could be used as a general, whole-life reframe without regard to the problem under consideration. I have found that wherever it was taught, especially to service providers, their lives were changed as much as the offenders for whom it was originally designed.

Several articles about the Brooklyn Program are also available on Gray’s website.
The program uses many tools that will be well-known to NLP practitioners including well-formed outcomes, anchoring, and submodality shifts. Unlike the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program which generally regards alcoholism as a problem which needs to be removed from the person, the Brooklyn Program follows the basic NLP belief that behaviour change is most effectively achieved through having more options, rather than less. In the forward, the author says:

… we see substance use disorders not as symptoms but, given the
resources available, as the best possible answer for the problems at hand. Here, the re-emergence of symptoms speaks less of underlying pathology than it does of the need for a more fundamental restructuring of the available resources. By this definition, addicts and other substance abusers are not broken, they have simply learned the wrong answers to the questions of life. Our task becomes this: making proper answers available, making them more intuitive and more powerfully motivating than the focus of the addictive behavior.

While the Brooklyn Program proved its success in alleviating substance use disorders, the author suggests that its uses go far beyond this:

The Brooklyn Program began life as a novel approach to
substance abuse services. It is, however, important to realize that all of its roots and presuppositions are related not so much to drugs as they are to the principles of human growth as understood by Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow and the founders of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. The Brooklyn Program aims to
enhance and restore optimal human functioning. It works for drugs because addictions are part of the normal range of human behavior as it manifests in abnormal contexts. The entire Program consists in the teaching and exploration of a set of cognitive and spiritual skills that are of universal relevance. As
a result, the Program has applications that range far beyond substance use disorders.

For anyone who is involved in helping people with substance use disorders, this manual is an excellent resource that will undoubtedly provide many useful ideas. It is available as a free download from

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