Interview with Judith DeLozier

Judith DeLozier has been a trainer, co-developer, and designer of training programs in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming since 1975. A member of Grinder and Bandler’s original group of students, Judith has made fundamental contributions to the development of numerous NLP models and processes.


A co-author of Neuro-Linguistic Programming Vol. I (1980), with Robert Dilts, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, Judith was involved in the creation of the fundamental NLP technique of Reframing. A student of Milton Erickson, Judith modeled his tracking strategy for creating and utilizing trance states and metaphors. This work is described in Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. Vol. II (1976), which she co-authored with John Grinder and Richard Bandler.


In the book Turtles All the Way Down: Prerequisites to Personal Genius (1987), which she co-authored with John Grinder, Judith explored the interrelationships between NLP and the threads of culture, community, art, aesthetics and epistemology. The result of this work was the creation of NLP New Coding, which stimulated a movement toward a more systemic and relational approach to NLP, and a resurgence of interest in the work of Gregory Bateson. In addition to the development of Perceptual Positions, which have become one of the fundamental distinctions of NLP, Judith’s contributions to NLP New Coding include Attention Training and the relationship between conscious and unconscious processes.


The Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding (with Robert Dilts, 2000), provides a comprehensive overview of the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, including its wide range of applications, techniques and influences.


Judith is a co-developer of a number of projects applying Systemic NLP, ranging from modeling leadership, to health care and cross-cultural competence. Some of her other written works include contributions to Leaves Before the Wind (1989) and Map and Territory (1997), co-authored with Robert Dilts.


Noneuclidean Cafe spoke with Judith DeLozier by email in February, 2007.



Noneuclidean Cafe (NC):  How did you get into NLP?


Judith DeLozier (JD):  I was fortunate to meet John Grinder in about 1974, at that time The Structure of Magic was in manuscript form.  John and I spent 15 years together and I was involved in most aspects of NLP. At that time I was a student at UCSC studying comparative religion and anthropology and found connections with NLP that enriched my life in many ways.


NC:  One of your major contributions to NLP has been the development of "New Code" NLP with John Grinder.  First, for readers who aren't familiar with the term, could you give a quick definition of what New Code is.  And then, what sort of feedback were you getting in using classic NLP that led you to see a need to develop the New Code?


JD:  There is no assumption that anything was wrong with the 'classic code'.  The new coding (“ing” expressing on going) was the result of a desire to continue to model and discover new patterns.  Our attention moved to the area of relationship.  Modeling the space between people or groups.   In a way moving from the interactive skills of matching language, representational systems, mirroring or crossover mirroring to the relational skills of perceptual positions.  The skills from both eras are inclusive and mutually supporting skills in my thinking.  Now we are in the era of a third generation.  


First generation NLP was the original model of NLP derived by Bandler and Grinder from their study of effective therapists. These early applications of NLP were all applied one-on-one, with the focus almost entirely on the individual.


First generation NLP presupposed a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist knew what was best for his or her client.  NLP was considered something which one “did to other people.” This led to some NLP applications as seeming to be manipulative when used in non-therapeutic contexts. Most of the first generation tools and techniques were focused on problem solving at level of behavior and capabilities.


Second generation NLP began to emerge in the mid to late 1980s. At this time, NLP was expanding to embrace other issues beyond the therapeutic context. While still focused on individuals, second generation NLP emphasized the relationship between oneself and others and widened to include such areas of application as negotiation, sales, education and health.


The tools of NLP also expanded to include higher level issues, such as those related to beliefs, values and “meta programs.” Second generation NLP techniques integrated the use of new distinctions such as time lines, submodalities and perceptual positions.


Third generation NLP has been developing since the 1990s. The applications of third generation NLP are generative, systemic and focused at even higher levels of learning, interaction and development‹including those relating to identity, vision and mission.


Third generation NLP emphasizes whole system change and can be applied to organizational and cultural development as well as to individuals and teams. The techniques of third generation NLP are “field based,” incorporating principles of self-organization, archetypes and what is known as “fourth position” (a whole system perspective).


The tools of third generation NLP are founded upon alignment, a multi-level perspective and the skills of sponsorship. The assumption of third generation NLP is that the wisdom needed for change is already in the system and can be discovered and released by creating the appropriate context.


Understanding and exploring Third Generation NLP involves looking back to the origin and legacy of NLP as well as looking to future developments. Isaac Newton is often quoted as having said, ³If I have been able to see farther than others, it is because I have been standing on the shoulders of giants.²


NC:  Many of our readers are in the process of starting their own NLP practices—in training, coaching, some other offering.  Do you have any suggestions for those starting out, or earlier in their career?


JD:  Certainly keep the day job for awhile.  Study with a variety of different trainers as to get lots of perspectives.  This will give you a rich and deep understanding of NLP.  Don't replicate only or get fixed on technique, get the skills in the muscle and make them yours.  Techniques will always fail at some time but your skills will always serve you.  Practice makes a good technician ,commitment makes a good master.  As they say the trainer or teacher can give you permission to practice only you can give yourself permission to be successful.  Have a vision of what you want to create and make a plan.  Be critical in a useful way.


Remember the map is not the territory in NLP as will all in life.  Practice the basics and create learning pathways to support the mastery of your skills.  Forget what you know and live it, allow your skills to inform you through success and excellence in life.  As Gandhi put it, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


NC:  I know you are very interested in the link between NLP and social change. How do you think NLP can inform a person's engagement with social issues?


JD:  NLP has a lot of tools that can be applied to the world of social change.

Some tools relate to supporting people who are walking the talk every day

and need ways to energize themselves and to stay healthy. Some skills relate

to how we perceive other parts of the system as an "enemy", and how we can

use perceptual positions to understand and build bridges. Other skills

relate to generative collaboration so that connections are made between

organizations to maximize the efficiency of both.  We can look at the usefulness of a applying a wide range of NLP tools, skills and models to systemic change: connecting to your core; awakening to the field; expanding your comfort zone; enriching your sense of the larger system; supporting hope in the world; discovering what creates hopelessness / hopefulness; developing a generative self and a generative community. 


NLP modeling skills allow us to discover success factors in each other and in organizations.  For example, we modeled a woman from Texas two years ago in London who feeds people.  She has a great ability for getting different organizations who are feeding people to cooperate for higher success. Everyone learned for her model and could apply parts of it immediately.               


NC:  You are on the Executive Committee of IASH (Editor: Institute for the Advanced Studies of Health,  I read the mailing IASH sent out this Fall discussing IASH's goal of supporting scientific research into NLP, which will help lead to NLP's recognition by the medical and scientific communities.  How is IASH encouraging and/or participating in scientific research into NLP?  What do you see as the biggest challenges in creating a body of research into NLP that the scientific community will recognize?


JD:  IASH is the research arm of NLP at this time.  It is an organization which has as part of it's mission doing research, so it seemed a natural connection between the people who are research psychologists and IASH. Many of the people who will do the actual research applications will most likely be IASH members.  They are all post Masters level and have committed to the on going application of the NLP tools and skills to health issues. Again a good fit. Probably the biggest challenge will be raising the monies for the first grants to be written.  It appears that there are people and universities interested and want to do the research and the NLP community in general is interested, excited and assisting in the movement forward.


NC:  One of the things I remember fondly from seeing you teach is your love of storytelling.  Any story coming to mind you'd like to share right now?


JD:  It is difficult to choose a story there are so many fabulous ones.  However, this story, told by Dawna Markova in her book No Enemies Within, is a story about breath and sponsorship. 


A woman was in the hospital and each day forty to fifty people came to take things out, poke things in or ask stupid questions.  One person came daily who would just sink into the plastic chair by the patients bed and breath.  She was the lady who swept the floor each night.  The patient found that connecting to this breath was some how soothing and brought a sense of comfort.  One evening as she lay in bed the lady was breathing and some how the patient thought that as she breathed in she said a word and as she breathed out she said a word.  In breath 'as', out breath 'is'.  As is. As is. The next night the lady laid her hand on the shoulder of the patient and said, "you are more than the illness in your body".  The patient reported that she was not usually comfortable with casual touch but the woman's had felt like it belonged there.  It was also the only place on her body that didn't hurt. The nest night the message was sent that you are more than the fear in the body, more that the pain.  That she could rise about the fear and pain and ride on it.  The patient found herself floating about the pain and fear and found herself swimming in the ocean at age 7, and again at age 10 and again at age 27.  The patient did ever know the name of the lady who swept the floors nor did any one remember her, however, that lovely person left fingerprints on the heart.  I share this in the spirit that sponsorship is a way of being and every interaction with the outside world is an occasion to bring more health, leadership, justice and art to the world.


NC:  Thank you, Judith. 


Previous  Home  Table of Contents  Next


Copyright © 2007 James Swingle. All rights reserved.