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Brief NLP Therapy - Reviewer Joe Sinclair

The Joy of Letting Women Down - Reviewers Stephen Bray and Joe Sinclair    


Brief NLP Therapy by Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago.  Sage Publications.  December 2001.  Paperback 16.99 (also available in hardback 50.00). 192 pages.  ISBN 0-7619-5966-1.                 

This is a volume in the excellent Sage Publications Brief Therapy series, written by two authors with admirable credentials for a work of this sort.  Ian McDermotts International Teaching Seminars is one of the best-known sources of NLP training in Europe, while Wendy Jago has considerable experience of clinical practice behind her. 

So why did I approach the book with serious misgivings?  I guess it was because I had some years ago written NLP is an extremely powerful tool . . . [When] used in therapeutic concerns, it can be an extremely effective technique for change in human behaviour and capacities, as well as improvement in communication.  However, as Richard Bandler has noted: NLP is not a set of techniques, its an attitude. 

Had I read Brief NLP Therapy before writing my own book, I think I would have been disinclined to use that Bandler quote.  The authors have not merely demonstrated how NLP strategies may benefit therapists in treating their clients, but have produced telling examples of how NLP has evolved from a set of techniques to an effective practical therapeutic approach. 

It would be worth reading for its case studies alone which admirably amplify the numerous case examples used to illustrate the text, but there is a whole lot more to enjoy than the 25 pages of case studies as the section headings suggest: Change, Presuppositions, Modelling, NLP and Mind-Body Work, and the Client-Therapist System. 

I was particularly impressed with the pages dealing with phobias, allergies and placebos, and find it impossible to resist quoting a passage from this latter and its thesis that a placebo is a desirable and not a derisory device:  

If a patient is given an inert substance believing it to be pharmacologically potent, and gets better, we have to posit the operation of a systemic mechanism.  This has been demonstrated not only in the obvious cases of giving people inert powders to combat conditions needing medication, but in the case of telling people that a drug which, for example, lowered blood pressure was one designed to raise it yet their blood pressure responded in the direction they believed it would go, rather than in the one the drug was designed to influence.  There is certainly scope here for the kind of change which NLP helps clients to bring about . . . 

. . .  When clients come to see us, it is important that we remind ourselves that they come with expectation: our reputation, for example . . . [which] . . . may well have the powerful attraction of a placebo: take this therapist once a week for ten sessions and you will get better.  Does this invalidate the skill of our work?  Of course not but it is certainly an ingredient in its effectiveness. 

As is this book!

An ABC of NLP, 2nd edition, 1998.

Joe Sinclair


The Joy of Letting Women Down by Natalie dArbeloff.  Robson Books, December 2000, 159 pages, Hardback, 9.99.  ISBN 1-86105-376-2  


Natalie dArbeloff writes a keenly observed study of narcissistically wounded males, and the women who are attracted to them.   


But this description seems too technical, and does not do the book justice. 

For it is a witty book that enables each of us, male or female, to recognise the bleeding sores within, and then to laugh at our human weakness.  It is also a deeply affectionate work, illustrated with illuminating case histories, and delightful cartoons of men and women, mostly in the buff. 


Presented as a manual for aspiring worshipped males and the women afflicted by them The Joy of Letting Women Down, may be used as a guide to determine how and why your relationship pains you, and seems to pain others.


Some men no doubt will buy the book and use it in order to further their seductive technique, thus deepening their pathology. Women, on the contrary will use it as a guide to untangling their heart and apron strings from such men.


That said the book also provides an amusing read for the happily married, whose secret fantasies are expressed so well. 


The respectable and self-righteous will hate it, which is an excellent recommendation to buy.  

Stephen Bray


[The following review of Natalie d'Arbeloff's book was written for the Notion Ocean forum in 2001.  It seems appropriate to reproduce it here]

Subtitled 'Secrets of the Worshipped Male' this politically incorrect, but otherwise totally accurate libertines manual, written and splendidly illustrated by Natalie d'Arbeloff, reveals the carefully guarded secrets of the worshipped male, and provides the answer (or at least an answer of sorts) to the mystery of why the womaniser is never short of willing women.  It is, in effect, as satyrical as it is satirical.


From the first chapter (How it Began) and the true story of Adam and Eve to the final chapters (The Enemy-Male and The Enemy-Female) this book will have you chuckling, gasping, or groaning, depending upon where you are personally located in the battle of the sexes.  It starts from the premise that (a) most women want a man they can worship; (b) most women want a man they can rely on; (c) these two things are incompatible.


Read about the Fatal Attraction Solution, the Aversion Therapy Solution, the Leave-The-Country Solution, and the Marry-Her Solution.  Read about them and groan. . . between chuckles and gasps.

Joe Sinclair


Joe Sinclair, is the Managing Editor of Nurturing Potential, Managing Director of ASPEN (Authors' Self-Publishing Enterprise), and the author of several books including An ABC of NLP. 

Stephen Bray was born in Dorset and educated at Blandford Grammar School, and Universities in Plymouth, Manchester, Santa Cruz and London. He currently lives in Istanbul. Trained in the arts of dynamic therapy, family therapy, gestalt, process oriented psychology and NLP, he now spends his time supporting those who wish to help others. Details of his work and his contact information may be found at