Blog Hypnosis Reviews

Review: Adventures of Anybody by Richard Bandler
This is a rather strange book, and that is probably to be expected from Richard Bandler. None of his books are what you would exactly call ‘ordinary’. This book is Bandler’s more open foray into the world of fantasy and metaphor. He says that after writing five books in quick succession, he opened up to his unconscious mind and wrote this book.
And it is best to read this with an open unconscious mind and to send your conscious mind off on a well-deserved holiday somewhere. It’s a short read at 110 pages. The story is about a prince who wants to find himself and finds himself in more ways and through more perspectives than he could ever have imagined. It’s a fun read although (probably deliberately) confusing in many places. It could be used as a bedtime story book for children or a nice break for an adult who needs to get a new perspective on the world.
The book is full of embedded metaphors, Ericksonian language patterns, and other NLP techniques. Well worth a read, and very different to most NLP-related books out there.

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Review: Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds

Clean Language – Revealing Metaphors and Opening Minds
by Wendy Sullivan & Judy Rees
This is a beautiful little book which is well-written and full of useful insights. Clean language consists entirely of questions and it is intended to offer a new way of thinking about how people’s minds actually work. It also helps people to explore their internal metaphors and enriching these metaphors in a way that can lead to an enrichment of their external lives. It is also well illustrated with lots of little cartoons which help to explain the text very quickly.
Clean Language was developed by David Grove. It consists of very simple but powerful questions which go further even than NLP in focusing solely on process and leaving the content entirely up to the client. The twelve basic Clean Language questions are shown below in three groups.

Developing Questions

  • (and) what kind of X (is that X)?
  • (and) is there anything else about X?
  • (and) where is X? or (and) whereabouts is X?
  • (and) is there a relationship between X and Y?
  • (and) when X, what happens to Y?
  • (and) that’s X like what? [used for eliciting a metaphor]

Sequence and Source Questions

  • (and) then what happens? or (and) what happens next?
  • (and) what happens just before X?
  • (and) where could X come from?

Intention Questions

  • (and) what would X like to have happen?
  • (and) what needs to happen for X?
  • (and) can X (happen)?

These questions are all that is used in most Clean Language sessions, often using the same question several times in a row to get the client to explore their internal representations more fully.
It takes a while to get used to the questions and asking them in exactly the form that they are given can be challenging at first. When I thought about using them, I sometimes felt that they were too constraining and that I wanted more freedom.  However, when I talked to a friend about a difficult issue that he was working through, I primarily used these questions and despite the strange syntax at times they caused no confusion and were very helpful in getting him to sort out his own internal issues and to enrich his metaphors for how to move forward.
I’ll be coming back to Clean Language and a related topic, Symbolic Modelling, over the next few months as this is such an interesting area that I have signed up for an online course with a British training school. I’m looking forward to that and in the meantime, I’m planning to enjoy using Clean questions when I want to focus entirely on process and leave the content entirely to the client.

Blog Hypnosis Reviews

Review: Gerald Kein's Beginner-Advanced Hypnosis Training

This video series by Gerald Kein (Omni Hypnosis Training Center) is an impressive hypnosis training consisting of 18 videos of about two hours each which take the viewer from basics up to a very competent level of hypnosis and its applications. The first 12 videos make up the Beginner-Intermediate section of the course. It starts from the history of hypnosis and moves into induction techniques and utilization of trance for therapeutic purposes. The remaining six videos make up the Advanced section and teach rapid/instant induction techniques, regression, addiction treatment, direct suggestion, recreational regressionand much more in great detail.
Perhaps what will be most useful to many NLP practitioners are the induction techniques which are introduced including the Dave Elman techniques. Ericksonian hypnosis primarily focuses on indirect suggestion, and the more direct techniques in this series will be of great value to many practitioners who want to induce trance more quickly, or who are working with people who are less responsive to indirect techniques.
Some of the other gems in this series are a good section on pendulum use showing how it can not just be a great hypnosis tool, but also a useful marketing tool! There is also an excellent section on self-hypnosis and how to improve your skills at entering a trance quickly.
Kein’s presentation is humourous and entertaining. He engages very well with the people on the course and his methods of creating rapport are another thing that we can learn from.  The explanations and demonstrations are extremely practical and Kein is obviously highly experienced. He tells many anecdotes about his own experiences with patients over many years while he ran a large hypnosis practice. He gets to the important points quickly and comes across as genuinely interested in getting hypnosis more widely accepted as a highly effective technique in achieving positive change in people’s lives.
I would recommend this series as a very good addition to the skill set of any NLP practitioner. NLP has been so influenced by Ericksonian hypnosis that practitioners often do not get sufficient exposure to other forms of hypnosis, especially the Dave Ellman techniques which are so powerful. The length of this course may be offputting to some, but this is all highly useful learning material. It is available from Omni Hypnosis Training Center.

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Review: The Wild Days: NLP 1972-1981

The Wild Days: NLP 1972-1981
Terrence McClendon
What a fun little book and a great read for anyone who has taken NLP training and wonders where it all came from. McClendon was there right from the beginning days of NLP when Bandler and Grinder were carrying out all that crazy stuff in Santa Cruz. This is the best historical account of that period and although it is relatively brief (about 130 pages), it contains a huge amount of interesting and useful information about the development of the concepts of NLP and the interaction between the developers.
Each chapter takes us forward chronologically from 1972 when it began up to 1981 when Grinder and Bandler went separate ways and NLP broke into numerous strands. McClendon describes the beginnings in Gestalt Therapy, the initial classes and workshops by Bandler at the University of California in Santa Cruz, the beginning of the collaboration with Grinder, and the long crazy party-like workshops that went on through the night usually involving deep trance. From these beginnings, NLP moved onto modelling Virginia Satir’s work in Family Therapy and Milton Erickson’s work in hypnosis. There is much much more here that will be of interest and entertainment value for people involved in NLP today.
This is a short read, presented in simple straightforward prose. I read it from cover to cover in about 90 minutes. The illustrations by the author are rough sketches of various scenes from the history of NLP and they add to the intimate feeling of the text.

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Review: Persuasion Engineering

Persuasion Engineering: Sales & Business Language & Behavior
©1996 by Richard Bandler & John LaValle
Meta Publications
In the past, I had heard the audio of the Persuasion Engineering seminar and this book seems to be a pretty close transcript of that seminar. Richard Bandler is a master of voice use and much of this is inevitably lost in the format of the written word. The embedded metaphors, too,  which Bandler uses extensively in his training are not as effective in the book as they are in the audio. Without the appropriate auditory cues and silences, this book is often difficult to follow and confusing. Of course, Bandler does use confusion deliberately as a trance-induction techniques, but there were many points in this book where I felt confused only as I tried to figure out what on earth he was talking about. I have no doubt that the authors deliberately meant to keep these confusing sections intact, so that they could achieve more direct communication with the unconscious mind, but for me personally this communication worked far better in the audio format. Another read through it would surely reveal much more and help greater understanding.
The book is aimed at sales people and is presents many of the standard concepts of NLP in that context, including representational systems, eye patterns, anchoring, meta model, milton model, and timeline work. This is not an appropriate book to learn all of these things for the first time because they are only presented partially and in an ad hoc manner as they are useful for each demonstration or explanation or story. However, for a reader who is already familiar with all of the basic NLP techniques, this book will provide many rich examples of how they can be applied highly effectively in the sales process.
Bandler’s stories run throughout the book, often entertaining, always sounding considerably exaggerated, and often revealing their deeper metaphoric meaning on a second or third reading. For me, I found the audio more useful, but even just this book will certainly give the reader some powerful insights into how NLP can be used in practical ways in selling.
The Persuasion Engineering series is available as a book or on DVD from The NLP Store.

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Review: Tad James NLP Practitioner Pre-Study Course

This audio course is designed for people who are intending to take Tad James’ NLP Practitioner Course, but it also stands alone as an excellent course about the basic concepts of NLP and Time Therapy and how to apply them in the areas of Business, Education, and Therapy.
The most important difference between James’ course and similar audio programs by Richard Bandler is probably the focus on the conscious mind as well as learning through the unconscious mind. In Bandler’s work, he uses powerful metaphor to teach to the unconscious mind, but some people can walk away from his seminars not really knowing or being able to verbalize what they have learned. Although James does use metaphor, too, he uses it sparingly and focuses much more on a succinct presentation of the techniques and tools of NLP to the conscious mind. Personally, I find James to be much more accessible as teaching materials, and Bandler to be much more artistic, creative, and entertaining in his use of NLP. James is a good teacher – he chunks the material very well into digestible chunks and helps the learner through repetition and well-ordered content. He also does reviews and previews which are very helpful.
James is also a fine hypnotist and makes good use of guided trances, especially future time line therapy, to help the listener internalize the concepts. Apart from the trance sequences, James is using Milton language and well-designed repetition throughout the audio programs to help the listener to learn.
This is a long audio program, more than 18 hours, and James covers all the basic NLP material very well. People who listen to this program a few times before attending his practitioner course in person will without a doubt be on very solid ground in their learning.
Some of the final segments in the audio program look at the use of NLP in sales very closely and James previous work in sales stands to him very strongly in this area. He also talks about the applications for education and the use of NLP with kids in detail.
Tad James website ( describes this collection as follows:

This is a 20 CD set of all the Practitioner info you need to attend the Training. Recorded in Digital Audio this collection is designed specifically as a pre-study collection so you can prepare to attend the NLP Practitioner Training. Included are all the techniques of the NLP Practitioner training and the mind-set to prepare you to be the best practitioner you can be. And if you are already a Practitioner of NLP – it’s a great resource to have!

Overall, this is an excellent audio program, produced by a fine teacher and a fine businessman, as well as a fine NLP master. This program is highly recommended for beginners or for people who want a refresher in NLP.

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Review: Richard Bolstad NLP Practitioner Audio Program

I consider myself very fortunate to have trained with Richard Bolstad for my NLP practitioner and master practitioner courses. Along with Judith DeLozier, he stands out for me as one of the most personally and professionally congruent people in the field of NLP. I got this audio program many years ago and got a whole new level of understanding by listening to it again after a gap of many years.
The audio program was produced by the NLP training institute, Transformations, which also included the trainers Margot Hamblett (Richard’s partner who passed away several years ago), Bryan Roads, and Lynn Timpany.
This audio program offers many of the best examples of using NLP to teach NLP that I have heard or seen. Richard is a powerful communicator who has thoroughly integrated the presuppositions, language patterns, and techniques of NLP into his own trainings. He introduces many of the techniques through multi-layered metaphors and nested loops and uses Milton language throughout to help students to learn at both a conscious and unconscious level. An indirect teaching through metaphor is always followed by step-by-step explanations to facilitate conscious learning of the process.
Richard and his partner, Margot, also use many memory devices such as memory pegs which are used to help the students quickly learn the patterns of the Meta Model. Richard trained with Tad James and while Tad James’ influence is still clearly evident, he has improved that already effective approach in many ways that have made his teaching very much his own.
The website describes the product as follows:

Sixteen 45 minute CDs recorded at the Transformations Practitioner course, as taught in New Zealand and Japan. Covers an introduction to NLP, rapport building, sensory system use, language patterns for clarification and influence, reframing, healing past trauma, conflicts, limiting beliefs, confusions and phobias, setting and achieving future goals, and much more.

Although it does indeed cover all of these processes and ideas in detail, this audio program can probably best be thought of as a follow-up and refresher for NLP practitioners, rather than as a complete program in itself. Of course, if you get the opportunity to supplement your listening with live training by Richard Bolstad, that is a very fine combination, indeed.

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Review: Christopher Howard NLP Practitioner Audio Course

By chance, I listened to this series by Chris Howard right after I had watched Tad James Practitioner Course DVDs, and the similarities are enormous, right down to almost the same words in the same stories in many cases. I did a quick Google search and it looks like Christopher Howard trained with Tad James. However Christopher Howard has modelled Tad James so closely that the courses seem indistinguishable at many points. This is not necessecarily a criticism as Tad James’ courses are very well presented and chunked for easy learning, and Howard’s courses follow the same easily-digested format. It is rather amusing, however, to hear the stories about Howard’s clients which follow precisely the same words as Tad James’ clients, and perhaps ironic for a product that Chris Howard calls Creation Technologies. However, despite any ironies, this is a quality product that will be very useful for many people.
Although Tad James’s courses are called ‘accelerated’, they are tortoises compared to the speeding hare that is Howard. The speed of delivery is very fast and I found this quite effective, but it might be difficult for beginners, or for people who want to take more time to carry out processes. However, doing the processes quickly does have the benefit that things are often moving faster than the conscious mind can keep up, and it is the unconscious mind that can make the changes. Another advantage of the high speed pace is that the total length of the course (78 tracks on 22 CDs) is only about 9 hour, thus allowing it to be listened to in its entirety several times in the time that it would take to listen to some other courses only once. Of course, this speed is a matter of personal preference, and some people will clearly find it too quick.
The course covers all the essential bases of NLP practitioner well including well-formed outcomes, anchoring, rapport, strategies, meta model, Milton model, and much more. I would highly recommend it for people who want to get a fast refresher on all the basics of NLP.
In CD13, Howard takes a sudden jump into talk about energy work and Huna. This is again presumably drawn at least partly from Tad James’ work, but Tad James makes the demarkation between NLP and Huna much clearer than Howard, and the sudden leap into energy work in the middle of the program right between Anchoring and Parts Integration is slightly disorientating!
Unlike many NLP audio courses which are recorded in a live setting, the audio is very well recorded and clear, and I particularly enjoyed Howard’s use of music throughout the program. It is very professionally produced and presented with great instrumentals linking the lessons and even providing background for doing the exercises. Howard’s voice also worked well for me in the inductions which were well designed and had nice timing, obviously a little slower than the high speed of the regular lessons!

Blog Hypnosis Reviews

Review: The NLP Practitioner DVD Collection (Tad James)

NLP Practitioner DVD Collection This 16 disk DVD set is a professionally produced video presentation of parts of Tad James seven day NLP practitioner certification program. Each DVD is about 90 minutes, so there is a huge amount of material presented, especially since it is very well edited to leave out unnecessary segments and to add in commentary by the trainers on the processes. It is available at the site.
It covers all the basic NLP processes comprehensively and effectively including sensory acuity, rapport, submodalities, and anchoring. The demonstrations with participants for each process are very smoothly carried out, and Tad James shows his long experience in training by following the script closely and only demonstrating what he explicitly intends to demonstrate.
The series also includes several DVDs on Time Line Therapy, a powerful change technique for which Tad James is probably best known. In fast-paced and effective demonstrations, the trainers use Time Line Therapy to remove negative emotions and limiting beliefs from participants. Then they take the whole group on a fast floating journey to remove any anxiety in the future. They also show how to place a future goal in the Time Line in a way that is likely to maximize its possibility of success. These are all very useful processes.
Tad James is presenting the course with his wife, Adriana James, who is equally proficient in the practice of NLP, although she is less well known than Tad. The two of them work well together throughout although some of the jokes and little stories seem somewhat contrived – presumably after being regurgitated in too many seminars. On the other hand, this huge amount of practice is very useful in the superb double inductions which feature in the hypnosis training section of the course. They are a fine team and in general come across as very genuine in their desire to empower people and to spread the useful skills of NLP.
This video series is probably most useful for people who have studied NLP elsewhere and want to get a new perspective, or of course, for people who actually took the course and want to get a review. For people who have not studied NLP before, it will certainly be useful, but the necessary lack of interactivity in a video series could give the viewer the congnitive concepts of NLP without the experiential learning that is necessary to make sense of it and to realize its true value.
For me, Tad James sometimes comes across as a little arrogrant, for example when he talks about Time Line Therapy as the greatest invention in the history of mankind, and his self-positioning as ‘the expert’ for values and metaprograms. From the demonstrations, he is clearly on top of his material and an extremely skillful user of hypnosis and NLP, so this self-promotion and self-positioning probably wasn’t necessary and in my eyes at least, actually had a negative impact.
One of the last DVDs was pretty much a commercial for the Master Practitioner program. In fact, throughout the last few DVDs, there were various references and suggestions to sign up for the Master Practitioner course. Personally, I felt that it was a little too much upselling of other products, but I’m sure that some people will be happy to get the addiitional information about the higher level material that is available.
I didn’t enjoy the Huna section so much either. While the trainers emphasize that it isn’t NLP and are careful to differentiate it, I’m not sure that it sits well with the other videos and information and techniques presented in this series.
Overall, I highly recommend this video series to people who have studied NLP elsewhere. Tad James has a strong ability to condense a subject down to its essence and to present it easily in the form of small digestible chunks.

Blog Hypnosis Reviews

Review: Coaching Cards

These coaching cards from Salad Ltd. are a resource that I come back to again and again. They were created by Jamie Smart who always does a very fine job of teaching NLP in his videos and other products. Previously, I have reviewed his excellent Ericksonian hypnosis cards, and this set reaches the same high quality.
These cards are mainly based around the linguistic patterns of the NLP Meta Model. The Meta Model  was the first model devised by Bandler and Grinder and it still stands at the heart of NLP as the primary tool for helping people to re-access the experiences that have become encoded in the maps in their minds, to move back from the map to the territory in orcder to eventually create richer and more useful  maps. While the Ericksonian cards aim to bring people into trance, these cards aim to chunk down, these cards aim to bring people back to reality and view it in fresh ways.
It is easy enough to learn the linguistic structures of the Meta Model, but it is only through enormous practice with a large number of examples that it is possible to get these patterns in the muscle to the extent that they flow naturally in a coaching situation. I have carried these cards on trains and planes and played with them for hours, sometimes just flicking through them as I thought of an issue in my own life, or sometimes playing card games either alone or with someone else. This is much much more fun and engaging than any other way that I have come across to learn and practice these patterns.
In addition to the cards, when you order a set from Salad, you also receive a link to a downloadable audio program in which Jamie Smart talks through the cards one by one, explaining each and giving examples taken from many different areas of life. I have often played this audio program several times in a row and it has helped me to absorb these language patterns at a much deeper level.
Salad also sells various DVD series featuring workshops by Jamie Smart and other people, and throughout the vidoes it is clear that Jamie is using the patterns effectively and congruently. I have no connection at all with Salad, but for anyone seriously interested in NLP coaching or related work, I highly recommend getting a set of these cards and a set of the Ericksonian hypnosis cards and allowing yourself the chance to have lots of fun as you take your language skills smoothly to the next level.