What is the history of the MAM 3 Step Rewind Process?

In the UK the Human Givens Institute (HGI) has led the way when it comes to the training and practice of the rewind technique in a therapeutic setting. What they have been teaching for a number of years now is what Mia and I teach as the 2nd step of our MAM 3 step rewind technique (there are two other important steps). I have gained amazing benefits both personally and professionally from learning the Human Givens approach to the rewind as Mia learned the technique with them and has taught me the process.

In an effort to provide an evidence base for their work the HGI has produced a review of the evidence for their therapeutic philosophy and practice (see the link). This research review includes a short discussion of the rewind technique itself. The majority of the paper however focuses on other areas of their work (This is a very interesting read for sure).

Having said that, I have learned a lot from the HGI approach; my experience

of the technique itself and my use of it in practice predates my knowledge of the the HGI by many years. As the review honestly points out, the creators/discovers of the internal process now called the rewind tech by us, were Dr Richard Bandler and Dr John Grinder as far back as the early 1970’s.

As we carry on with this series looking at the foundational evidence base for our MAM 3 step rewind technique it’s important, I think. that we have an understanding of it history.

Dr Grinder was working as a professor of linguistics at the University of California. In 1972, an undergraduate student of psychology, approached him for help in modelling the work of Fitz Pearls, the father of Gestalt Therapy. Bandler, along with good friend Frank Pucelik, had been editing some of his video recordings, Fitz Peals was dead at the time.

Grinder was later invited to participate in group discussions. At first the Professor was suspicious of this new approach to modeling the behavior of this therapeutic genius. Over time he became convinced of usefulness of the approach and offered Bandler and Pucelik some observations and suggestions as to how they could take their work forward. Bandler and Pucelik invited Grinder to team up with them this eventually leading to a very close study group being formed.

From there Grinder and Bandler modelled the various cognitive behavioural patterns of therapists such as Perls, Satir, a leading figure in family therapy Virginia, and later Dr Milton Erickson, the leading figure in hypnosis at the time. As a result, The Structure of Magic Volumes I & II (1975, 1976), Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Volumes I & II (1975, 1977) and Changing With Families (1976) were published. This work formed the basis of the methodology that became the foundation of neuro-linguistic programming.

As the story goes Bandler (by the way, Dr Bandlers life story reads like a Hollywood film script, including a trial for murder), who didn’t really have a therapeutic background, found his study of psychology, and particularly therapy very frustrating. His passion for maths and computer science drove him to seek out treatments for those suffering that actually worked. His main concern with the history of psychological scientific study was that it focused on studying those who were already sick.

In response to these concerns he posted an advert in the local paper asking for anyone who had overcome a phobic response on there own, with no therapeutic intervention to get in touch with him. He offered them $100 to do so.

When Bandler tells the story, and he is a great story teller for sure, over 200 hundred people responded. His plan was to use the same methodology he had used to model the experts he had studied in the beginning to model how these ex-phobic people had managed to transform their thinking to such a degree that they were now living lives free of the traumatic phobic response.

The result was what is know as the fast phobia cure in NLP cycles and what we now call the Rewind Technique.

One of the keys to the modelling methodology of NLP is asking the question, how do you do that? Or as Bandler would say, if I was going to give you a day off from having the experience you call traumatic, or frightening etc, what would I have to do (hear, see, feel on the inside) in order to learn how to do it?

The Rewind technique is like a recipe in cooking, if you are guided through the steps and follow them on the inside you are very likely to get the same results as those who used the recipe spontaneously and found personal freedom from pain.

In my next blog I want to outline some of the reasons that researching NLP can be problematic. I shall then go on to introduce some of the very exciting research both here and in the USA. Research which is beginning to show why the MAM 3 step rewind technique can be used with confidence.

Below there I share just a few of the research papers that are out there:


Mark Harris

  1. Grindler J, Bandler R. The structure of magic: a book about language and therapy. Oxford: Science and Behaviour, 1979.
  2. Bandler R, Grinder J. Frogs into princes. Moab, UT: Real People Press, 1979.
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