Re-Packaging Bandler to Make Him Cuddly

From: L. Michael Hall
2023 Framers #29
June 20, 2023
I have just recently seen a new video which has been made about Richard Bandler, it is called Altered States: The Richard Bandler Story.  It was produced by people in Bandler’s group and it is obviously a promotional film.  This becomes especially noticeable in the last 20 minutes of the film as the focus goes to a new book that has been produced.  My guess is that someone (namely John LaValle) decided that they needed to humanize Richard and re-package him in order to deal with all of the bad press, the negative stories, and a lot of the facts about Bandler.  And why would LaValle be interested in doing that?  Because he is the heir apparent.  He will take over when Richard is gone.  Now overall the video presents Bandler in a positive light and reframes the negative facts.  You can see a lot of use of NLP in how the video was produced.
There are a few moments of old videos of Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson which I had not seen.  Also some old videos of John and Richard.  But the facts get sacrificed a lot in the video.  There’s a suggestive hint that maybe they also saw and worked with Fritz Perls.  But of course, he died two years before any of them even meet.  They used Robert Dilts to talk about the origin of NLP, but of course, Robert was not there during the first two or three years (from 1972 to 1975).  Robert entered in 1975.  He had not been a part of the original group with Frank Pucelik and Richard before John Grinder ever came along.
When you watch this video, you will get no hint or indication that before Richard and John, there was Frank.  That Frank and Richard ran the first gestalt class and the first “meta” people class and it was that class that they invited John to at some later time.  The video completely eliminates Frank.  That’s a major deletion and it distorts the history of where NLP came from.  At the end of the video, they quote from John’s 2001 book to validate Richard.  But they did not quote where John wrote that there was “a third man,” Frank Pucelik, who also was a co-creator. Judith DeLozier also left out significant facts, small things like she was married to Frank Pucelik when they moved to Santa Cruz and that later she married John Grinder.
When it comes to addressing the murder lawsuit, they have portrayed Richard as if he was the victim(!).  Nothing is said about why his best friend was a known drug dealer, James Morino.  What was that about?  Nor why James would call Richard to come and pick him up at a bar after a fight.  Another unstated fact was that Richard was taking a lot of drugs, cocaine, LSD, etc. in those days.  The film presents Corine Christenson, the woman who was killed, as a prostitute!  What they did not say was that this same Corine was also Richard’s personal assistant and handled his books, appointments, etc.  Richard portrays himself as having been completely set up for the murder charge and it’s presented in such a way as to create sympathy for him.
What the film also skips over are the lawsuits that Bandler brought against people—against Grinder, Anthony Robbins, against the field of NLP, against Andreas, etc.  Nothing.  Instead the video focused on the death of his wife Paula and then the dating and marriage to his current wife (Glenda).  All of this certainly humanized him and creates a feeling of sympathy for him.  This humanizing continued as various people talked about his depression about the loss of Paula, his “stroke,” and how so many people “took advantage of him.”  That really did not fit with anything I know about Richard— people taking advantage of him? Really?
There’s not a single mention of Richard’s lawsuit against “the field of NLP” in 1995 which lasted until Feb. 2000 and which essentially destroyed the field of NLP in the US.  There’s no mention of the fact that he lost the lawsuit, had a court judgment against him for $600,000.  He was to pay to Christine Hall, but he never did.  Instead he moved to Ireland to avoid the IRS.
If the purpose was to make Bandler more human and more cuddly, then it works.  If it is to portray the history of NLP, it is sadly distorts a whole lot of things.  Knowing the power of “deletions” to distort one’s perception of reality— this deletes so much that it leaves a very distorted view.
To view the video—
For a more accurate history of NLP, see NLP Secrets: Untold Stories (2019). You can even get it on the Shop as a PDF file.