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The Structure of Magic: A Book About Language and Therapy v. 1

Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Structure of Magic I: These seminal works in neurolinguistic programming NLP help therapists understand how people create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. Hardcoverpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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I’m interested but that’s a very gronder description of the book. Could somebody give me a better description? Can it be downloaded? See 2 questions about The Structure of Magic I…. Lists with This Book. Jan 26, Paul, rated it liked it.

I just finished reading an interesting book called Strudture Structure of Magic. It is actually not about magic at all, but about psychology.

This book contains some eye-opening insights into the relationship between models and reality. It is an attempt to find the common elements in language-based therapy, a meta-model as they call it, in order to advance the state of the field of therapy as a whole.

This review will summarize the book by chapter, with my own thoughts added as notes to the side. Warning to the Reader The central task of psychology is understanding human behavior. Human behavior is infinitely complex, though not unbounded. In a similar fashion, language is also infinitely complex while remaining bounded. This book is based on the insight that human language and human gtinder as systems are related.

In particular, Transformational Grammar as developed by Noam Chomsky in the s, has shown that infinitely complex entities can be governed by a finite set of rules.

The Structure of Magic I: A Book about Language and Therapy by Richard Bandler

It is possible to describe an infinite number of things using English. However, all English sentences must conform to the rules of English grammar and syntax. Snd and Bandler posit that human behavior acts in the same way.

Each of us creates a representation of the world in which we live — that is, we create a map or model which we use to generate our behavior.

Our model is limited by our physical ability to perceive neurological constraintsour social background cultural constraintsand by our life experiences experiential constraints. So, no one sees reality as it really is.

We always have a limited picture. We can only be in one place at one time, we can only hear so far, and see so far. And let’s face it, our physical limitations are the least of our problems. We are also conditioned by culture to accept certain things, and our own life experiences condition us even more strongly. Has anyone ever got a new car and then suddenly noticed how many other cars on the road were exactly the same?


That is an instance of perceiving things only after they enter our model of reality. Of these three, the experiential constraints are the most profound for the authors. People who come for counseling are typically in pain because their model does not allow them to see or make the right choices in a given situation. Any model of reality can be affected in three different ways: Generalization, Deletion, and Distortion.

Generalization refers to the process of applying a singular occurrence to a broad range of related, but different occurrences.

The Structure of Language Language is a tool with one purpose: This representation can be either internal thinking or external communication. It is, in effect, a model of a model. As such, it is grrinder to the three universals of human modeling: Language is also subject to the three universals of linguistics.

Native speakers can always tell if badler sentence is well-formed that is, if it follows the syntax and grammar of that language. Native speakers can always tell which elements in a sentence are related, and they can determine the logical semantic relations presupposition, ambiguity, etc.

Syntax and banndler are governed by a finite, regular set of grindsr which may or may not be known to the speaker. The two key concepts in this chapter are the ideas of the Surface Structure and the Deep Structure.

The Surface Structure is whatever the speaker actually says. The Deep Structure, on the other hand, is the full linguistic representation of what the speaker wants to communicate. It is easier to think of the Deep Structure as the Surface Structure with all of the details filled in.

The Structure of Magic I: A Book about Language and Therapy

The authors contend that the Surface Structure is generated from structture Deep Structure mostly by unconscious action. The Structure of Magic The one commonality of all successful therapy is that the patient changes in some way. This chapter presents an overview of the Meta-model of therapy. Deletions result in an impoverished model of the world, which results in a limited range of behavioral options in any situation. The process for recognizing deletions at the Surface Structure level is to take a given utterance by the patient and to use grjnder linguistic intuition to try and imagine the same sentence with more noun arguments.

The therapist grindfr then choose between ignoring the deletion, asking for the missing piece of the sentence, or guessing at the deletion. Thus, the first step in acquiring this set of tools is to learn to identify the fact that linguistic deletion has occurred.

The pieces that are missing in the Surface Structure are the material which has been removed by the Deletion Transformation. Recovering the missing material involves a movement toward fuller representation — the Deep Structure. They are the underlying unstated bandlfr of a model.

All presuppositions should be explored. First, the therapist grinde work from the Surface Structure to the Deep Structure. Then the therapist must find where the Deep Structure does not correspond with reality. The patient is unable to fit these ideas into his model, and will resist them. Viewing a process as ztructure event gives the client the false sense that this happening is fixed and unchangeable.


Another example of distortion is assigning responsibility to people for actions outside of grineer control. For example, Bob made me angry. My Conclusions The natural question is, “So what? The only real way to change a person’s behavior is to change their model of reality. That is one of the reasons why Jesus was such a powerful influence on his disciples. His parables and his life were designed to kick the legs out from under the disciples’ model of reality, so that he could reshape and expand that model to match God’s reality.

Amazing how Jesus got as far structuree he did without a Ph. I also think that their presentation of the different ways that people typically distort reality an fit their model was helpful.

Negatively, I think that they labored under the burden of Transformation Grammar far longer than was helpful. I also think that they are too optimistic about the truthfulness of human beings. They assume that people are trying to faithfully represent their actual remembrances with their words. These things need to be taken into consideration as we attempt to move some of the findings of this book from the counseling arena to the mentoring arena.

Jul 04, David Fleming rated it it was amazing. The downside is that it’s basically a textbook writing for strkcture. But, if you can stomach the dryness, the rewards of insight are well worth the effort.

Aug 15, Morgan rated it it was amazing.

The Structure of Magic refers to the mental structures that people have about how the world works, and how those structures impact the words that they say in therapy. The book’s argument is that understanding these structures can dramatically improve the effectiveness of a therapist, regardless of what type of therapy they practice. The semantics of the sentences that people say in therapy is determined by their conception of their own experience.

So a therapist is two levels removed from what’s The Structure of Magic refers to the mental structures that people have about how the world works, and how those structures impact the words that they say in therapy. So a therapist is two levels removed from what’s actually been happening to the person. These differences all fall into the categories of deletions ignoring something from a lower level of abstractiongeneralizations, and distortions.

By paying attention to what deletions, distortions, and generalizations are in somebody’s descriptions of their experiences, a therapist can get a good idea of what that person’s model of the world is.

By strategically challenging a person’s model of the world, it can be enlarged to allow them access to new options. Overall, I thought this book was great. It’s clearly written and full of good examples.

It also helped me to understand some things about human interactions that had been confusing me.