NLP in the world - Interview Series

Dave Marshall – Spain and UK – NLP in Business

I am happy to host today Dave Marshall. Dave is based in Spain where he retired after several years in business in UK. Dave information can be found at

Talking4good: How did you come into contact with NLP?
Dave: I first learnt about NLP from a Canadian psychologist who had just heard about it . She told me as much as she knew and as I listened, I could not help telling myself then ‘gosh, another load of alternative therapy hypno/psycho-babble’. Well… Later another colleague mentioned she had a book about all this psycho-babble, and that I could borrow it. It was called “Using Your Brain for a Change”, by Richard Bandler. So I went on holiday that year, the book in my luggage. At that time I happened to have a very bad water phobia, a fear of putting my head under water, and as I read the book I found there, written, a description of what was called “the five minute phobia cure”. I knew exactly what had caused my phobia, I could remember the events quite vividly and nothing would make it go away. I simply could not put my head under water without entering extreme and uncontrollable panic. So you can imagine how I read “the phobia cure” with great interest. I then followed the steps listed in the book. To my disappointment nothing happened! I was expecting some great revelation or to leap with ecstatic joy or at least break out into a cold sweat, but absolutely nothing happened, and I forgot about it. Once back to work, I went swimming one evening. Something I usually did with a fair degree of anxiety because if the water would come up to my mouth the panic would start. So I used to swim very carefully, a gentle breaststroke, with my head held high. Except that this particular evening I walked down the steps of the swimming pool and went straight underwater, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do! I can remember thinking as I was under the water, “I don’t usually do this. What has changed?” and of course I remembered… reading that book and following the steps of phobia cure. Well, I was so impressed! I was here remembering having done that five minutes exercise and my 43 years old phobia was now gone, just like a miracle. So I had a chat with my boss and explained what I had discovered and said “I think there’s something in this NLP stuff, so if I can find the course will you pay for me to go on it?”, and he replied “find the course and I’ll see what we can do”. That was in 1985.

T4G: What NLP qualification do you have and who did you train with?
Dave: 1985, when I started, the only course I could find was called “Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP”. The following year I attended another course called “NLP wit a Heart”. Both courses were run by Stephen Brooks of the British Hypnosis Research of Brighton, UK. Then I found a NLP practitioner run by PACE with Julian Russell and the PACE team, followed by a course run by Richard Bandler, which was one week of absolute joy and confusion. Next I attended Master Practitioner with Tad James and also got certificates in Master Hypnotist and Time Line Therapy®. The following year I assisted on the Master Practitioner course with Tad James and went onto his “Train the Trainer” programme. The next year Wyatt Woodsmall invited me to join the staff of the inaugural “International NLP Trainers Association” convention and training. At the end of that course I was awarded a Master Trainer Certificate. All this between 1985 and 1994. The last course I took was “Design Human Engineering” with Richard Bandler.

T4G: Which NLP association would your qualifications be accredited by?
Dave: INLPTA (International NLP trainers Association)

T4G: Have you joined an NLP association?
Dave: I am a life member of the UK Branch of INLPTA

T4G: What do you expect from those various NLP associations?
Dave: The purpose of INLPTA states “… to facilitate the alignment of professional NLP Trainers around the world in the ethical and professional use of NLP through the standardisation and continual improvement of the NLP accreditation process.” So I expect them to – define and control the curriculum of training that they promote – to have a quality control check by questioning, anonymously,and independently of the company providing the training, students who have completed training on their courses – to promote a clearly defined set of ethics, principles and values that their approved Trainers agree to abide by.

T4G: What do you like best in NLP?
Dave: Apart from the general aspects of language, the specific bits of NLP that I like best are sub-modalities and time line processes.

T4G: You have been in the NLP field since 1986, tell us about this time?
Dave: Those were the years when NLP was just getting going and training courses were hard to find . The main companies that I remember from those days were Julian Russell and PACE, Sensory Systems and John McWhirter, and British Hypnosis Research run by Stephen Brooks (although Stephen was mainly interested in Ericksonian hypnosis) and Eric Robbie who used to organise courses run by Richard Bandler. Of course there was no Internet in those days, and finding information was difficult. There was only one specialist bookshop which became Anglo-American books and a small fortune could easily be spent in the thirst for the latest information. Courses were mainly run at weekends which meant a long time to complete them, usually between six and nine months. On top of this no one had heard about NLP and I can tell you nobody was much interested in what I had been doing at weekends. My missionary zeal was easily dampened and I had to keep my determination on.

T4G: How were you able to use NLP within your job? How did it make a difference?
Dave: At that time I was working in the personal development department of IBM and my main activities were to run courses on -Creative Thinking -Instructor Development and an intense course of self discovery for employees, called “Fit for the Future”. I started to include aspects and techniques of NLP into the creative thinking course, mainly basic sub-modalities, use of language and alphabet edit. It also became known that I did some funny stuff that could help some people overcome problems and occasionally people were directed to me to see what could be done and I kind of become a personal coach. This usually meant using techniques such as, Swish, phobia cure, alphabet edit, visual squash etc., The results were usually amazing. Then before I left IBM I did run a basic NLP course, pure NLP, for employees who were leaving the company. My knowledge of NLP made a huge difference in the way I delivered courses and training. I was of course aware of the language constructs that I used, the embedded commands for example. Then outside of courses I did coach people and when possible I taught people how to use some NLP methodology, things like overcoming a fear of presentations or using alphabet edit to solve every day problems. There was never an official company policy about NLP, I just slipped it in under the radar.

T4G: What is your focus now with NLP?
Dave: As I have been retired for quite a number of years, I just keep a watching brief via the Internet on the NLP scene and update information on my website

T4G: How is NLP present in your country?
Dave: NLP in Spain seems virtually non-existent, you do find the occasional therapists advertising NLP but not often. Whereas in the UK I’m amazed at the progress NLP has made since I started. I’m also amazed at the accomplishments that many of the people who attended my courses have achieved and I follow them when possible on Facebook or LinkedIN.

T4G: What about NLP and research?
Dave: I am quite relieved to see NLP is now becoming the subject of more formal research. The work being done at University of Surrey, Guildford and other academic institutions helps with the acceptance of NLP into the mainstream of psychology. I would also like to see greater use of brain scans to verify changes in brain activity due to NLP interventions.

T4G: A last comment to conclude?
Dave: I look forward to the day when NLP and allied subjects will be part of formal school curriculum. Just think of the number of problems that could be so easily solved if children knew how to manage their minds, and imagine what would happen to the standard of teaching if all teachers understood and used the concepts that have been modelled in what we call NLP, like for instance – the 4mat system (, the use of sensory language, language designed to fit basic meta programs (E/I,S/N,T/F,J/P at least), accessing states, embedded commands, personal anchoring and stage anchoring, feedback sandwich, program structure and design (see, and NLP certainly worked for many people I know and that includes me!! May the next generation of NLPers have even more fun and success than the previous ones and keep expanding the knowledge and techniques beyond the present boundaries.

© 2011 Florence Dambricourt –

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