NLP in the world - Interview Series

Paco Ramírez – Mexico – NLP modelling at its heart

I am delighted today to welcome Juan Francisco Ramírez Martínez known in the NLP community as Paco Ramírez, from Mexico. Paco works from ‘El Centro Mexicano de Programación neurolingüística,’ and can be contacted on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Talking4good (T4g): How did you come into contact with NLP?
Paco: It was in 1985 in a small workshop offered here by a lady from Guatemala who was involved at that time in NLP and leaded the NLP Center of Texas (Edit Rodas Carol and her husband Peter Haskell).  She did offer a Practitioner Certification Program (the first in México, as far as I know). Later then I was invited by them to go to Houston to take the Master Practitioner in NLP that the NLP Center of Texas offered through the NLP Comprehensive, leaded at that time by Steve and Connirae Andreas.

T4g: What NLP qualification do you have?
Paco: Practitioner by NLP Center of Texas, Master practitioner by NLP Comprehensive, Trainer´s training offered by NLP Comprehensive,  Certify NLP Trainer by the NLP of Utah (Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith), Certify NLP and Health practitioner (1991).

T4g: Which NLP association would your qualifications be endorsed by?
Paco: NLP Comprehensive (signed by Richard Bandler at that time 88), NLP of Utah, and IASH (Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith –

T4g: Have you joined an NLP association?
Paco: yes, the IASH one.

T4g: What do you expect from those various NLP associations?
Paco: Hopefully to keep doing their bi-annual reunion to keep the NLP community still alive. If possible as well to keep NLP free of being lead only by a person´s name, sometimes called ‘Guru’ or as we said here… a ‘Holy Cow.’ Now let me expand on the ‘alive’ comment. Back in the 80´s, 90´s there was a large movement of NLP in USA and in some other parts of the world, there was two big magazines (AnchorPoint published in Utah and the NLP World Magazine published in Austria). Now there is none, the community is becoming smaller, and I think, that NLP suffer from the ® (copyrights) and $(profit) focus of the main leaders. I call that the Devil´s kiss… and there was a lack of interest toward the academic community, toward creating links toward them. This should change.

T4g: What do you like best in NLP?
Paco: Modelling! I think this is the heart of NLP, and unfortunately it is not defined enough. I think we need some talk about the kind of methodology to approach the modelling process. From my perspective it needs to be a more qualitative approach -kind of the one used in the Structure of Magic Vol. I- since modelling is a discovery process. Something quite different then, might be used to test the effectiveness of the proposed model, here rather a quantitative approach. In addition, a proposed model is often detached from the source or even worst, the source is not even listed. Let me explain there. Some NLP authors claims that NLP process (and techniques) emerge from the study of really exceptional people and certainly we can see this in the study of Virginia Satir and Milton H. Erickson which brought the Meta Model and the Milton Model, after that only Robert Dilts books Strategies of Genius I, II and III, and David Gordon´s Book on Modelling presents their source, and most recently Tim Hallbom through his Think like a Genius series. I do not know what were the source or the expert that were model -and by whom?- for all the techniques that populate the field. To me Modelling, at its heart, is a research process, we need a thorough approach as we used in research. The next point is criteria… there is no clear criteria what a new model shall have to be, to be named an NLP Model. Is it an NLP model simply from having been created by a big name in NLP? Who and how do we define “excellence”? There is a big risk here, in this lack of structure. I think a better approach might be to do a clear definition of the activity to be model –to note that we model skills not people –to emphasize on the process not the nominalization -and then to go and look for the exemplars based on specific criteria and not only because someone say so. For instance, let´s model the best teachers… what should be the inclusion criteria there? These are basic principles in science and, personally, I have not read any modelling process that clearly specifies this, even the modelling of Milton H. Erickson or Satir. By excellence, do we mean popular? Well recognized? Or something else?

T4g: Tell us about NLP training in Mexico?
Paco: Actually the NLP programs in México are not so many, no more than 10 organizations nationally, while it used to compare with more than 14 training organizations in the 90´s and this only in Guadalajara, my hometown. I think, similar to what I seem to see in USA and Argentina, the lack of academic support and the focus on the profits but not in serious research and link with the academic community, created a reverse effect on the NLP field growth. Our centre (Centro Mexicano de Programación Neurolingüística® CMPNL®) was the first NLP Centre officially established in México (1988) and we were the first institute worldwide to offer a Master Degree on NLP (1999)  approved by the National Education Department which regulates all the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees. Now getting approved by a government body is a full story… We presented a whole curriculum to the  National Education Department, and it took us about 8 years of documenting it to be approved. As well every other year, we are subject to an audit to see if we do cover the criteria that authorize us to teach at a Master Degree Level. We also have an NLP and Coach Specialty approved by the same organization and besides those programs we offer Practitioner and Master Practitioner programs with 3 ending choices: a) health for Psychologist and Medical people b) Education for teachers and Trainers and c) Coach for people who have no degree or wants to work in the Coaching field; each program being around 250 hours. In addition we invite every year Robert Dilts, David Gordon and every other year people like Tim Hallbom, Suzi Smith, Steve Andreas, Tom Best, and from the Ericksonian field Jeffrey K. Zeig Ph.D, who has been with us since 1990. Other people who had the pleasure to invite are: Joseph O´Connor, Michael Yapko Ph.D., Stephen Gilligan Ph.D., Michael Hall Ph.D., Kevin Kreedon, Mary Vandervart, and from the coaching field Jan Elfline Ph.D., Helen Hartridge.

T4g: Are you using NLP other than in training people?
Paco: Yes, in therapy and Coaching and we do have an area for business NLP programs (sales, leadership, etc.)

T4g: How is NLP present in Mexico?
Paco: Many teachers are interested in using NLP in schools. However very few therapists see NLP as a strong asset due to lack of solid research mostly, and in some cases a non-ethical use of NLP may have given it a bad reputation.

T4g: What opportunity do you have to meet with other NLP practitioners?
Paco: As I mention, a lot <Laughs>! We do invite NLP trainers and we have organized seven international NLP Congress. We were actually the organizer of the first IASH Congress scoring more than 300 attendees. It was in 1994.

T4g: What about NLP and research?
Paco: If we take NLP as a scientific field -part of the behavioural field- then we need more in deep research. Note however that NLP is not a dogma and is evolving. At the centre, in Mexico, we have been doing Qualitative Research for the Master Degree Dissertations but true research requires a more rigorous qualitative and quantitative research. Having a peer to peer review and magazine, would also be a great addition.

T4g: Any specific NLP research you would like to be involved with?
Paco: Oh yes… Modelling! I am particular interested in Modelling Research.

T4g: What would be your next step with NLP?
Paco: We are planning a Ph.D. program on NLP to form researchers in this specific field, but first we want to develop a research area for the students to do their research.

T4g: A last comment to conclude?
Paco: Thanks for putting those testimonies together. Spreading the world of NLP is a great effort and the world NLP community need it.

© 2012 Florence Dambricourt –

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