Publisher: Crown House Publishing
Richard Bolstad’s book RESOLVE: A New Model of Therapy is excellent on several levels and is highly recommended for anyone interested in advancing the science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) or the use of NLP is psychotherapeutic practice. It is extensively referenced, citing research, other NLP developer’s ideas, and non-NLP models of change. This is not a book focused on NLP “pyrotechnics” (his term), rather it is integrative and practical. Bolstad makes connections between NLP and other models of psychotherapy. He presents a perspective on the utility of NLP as an explanatory model, as NLP concepts are useful for explaining what therapist from many orientations do. His RESOLVE model is essentially a well articulated synthesis of the use of the NLP in the context of an NLP informed psychotherapy model.
The book provides a historical perspective on NLP and psychotherapy. Bolstad makes the point that NLP’s roots and assumptions have connections with other forms of psychotherapy. He devotes a chapter providing a clear, science based, linkage between NLP and how the brain functions. Bolstad discusses several aspects of the model (representational systems, submodalities, emotional states, etc.) and relates these to what has been learned in recent years about neurological functioning. For instance, his discussion of the state-dependent qualities of neural encoding and the implications of this for intervention was fascinating.
Bolstad makes the point that research into NLP is still needed to make it more useful for psychotherapists. He notes that since the earliest NLP writings this need has been recognized, “but it was 20 years before the field of NLP itself began to respond effectively to this need.” He goes on to describe several studies published over the last ten years that examined the use of NLP in psychotherapy that found positive results. But research supporting that NLP is successful “in a general sense” has not been enough to draw a great deal of attention to it among psychotherapists. He also notes that few attempts to link NLP techniques and those used in other models of psychotherapy have been made since NLP’s inception, with a notable exception being Practical Magic: A Translation of Basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming into Clinical Psychotherapy by Stephen Lankton, published in 1980. Bolstad notes that it has been more than 20 years since Lankton’s book and “both NLP and psychotherapy have evolved.” Clearly Bolstad feels that more attention to the use of NLP in psychotherapy is warranted. A major accomplishment of this book is to systematically address how NLP fits into psychotherapy as it is practiced today. Among other things, he advocates the incorporation of NLP interventions into the context of the therapist preferred modality to speed the achievement of many specific results.
In my estimation one of the critical points Bolstad makes relates to what type of information constitutes data supporting the validity of NLP as a change technology. While advocating more clinical research, he also contends that “Because much of NLP is a metadiscipline (a way of …