Neuro-Linguistic Programming The Basics: How do we think?
If you have come straight to this page; and would like a bit more background into NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming; please have a look at What Exactly is NLP? as well as Getting Started.
We are going to have a look at some methods and techniques used in NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Before we do that it is necessary to look at the Representational Systems or Modalities. Along with the meaning behind them. We will take as given the two fundamental underlying principles of NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming :
Principle #1 The Map is Not the Territory
Principle #2 Life and Mind are Systemic Processes.
The Representational Systems or Modalities
Originally, NLP taught that most people had a preferred representational system (PRS). This means that one of the four modalities described below, was thought to be dominant in both thought and learning processes.
The use of discovering which representational system (PRS); is dominant enables NLP therapists to match that mode of thinking, behavior and language. This mirroring of the PRS influences behavior. It also helps achieve rapport. (More about this later…)
Controversies within NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming
As always with NLP Neuro-Linguistic Programming; the school of thought is ever evolving. Furthermore, a lot of NLP models have now moved away from the idea that a person has a single dominant sense. In addition, the theory that this preference is unchanging has also been questioned..
A lot of current theories hold that, although we may favour one representational system, we often change modalities according to the situation. The aim of a good NLP’er is to individually assess the mode of operation at any particular time. Whilst taking into account that several modes may be in use simultaneously.
Lets have a closer look at the four main Representational Systems ofRepresentational SystemsNLP. The main types of thought processing, with some associated behaviours and language.
Visual thinking occurs when information is stored and processed through images. Imagine thinking of a holiday and making a tailored photo album of selective snap shots. Such snapshots are like memories stored in the mind with any associated feelings and value judgements attached to them.
- Speech Rate: When in visual mode speech tends to be fast. People in visual mode tend to speak quickly. And in a higher tone. If you think about trying to explain a beautiful scene, language is very limiting and slow compared to visual imagery.
- Body language: People in visual mode use a lot of hand gestures and often sit upright on the edge of the seat.
- Eye Clues: When using visual modality people look up a lot especially to the left. But up and both left and right. Sometimes people in visual mode stare straight ahead as if daydreaming.
- Language: Will use and respond to language relating to sight and images – look out for:-
Do you see what I mean?
I can picture that.
Look at this from my point of view
Imagine the scene (seen)
- In the auditory mode information is processed through sounds.
People operating in this modality will often talk to themselves (a lot). In addition, those in auditory modality may move their lips whilst reading or thinking. Auditory thinkers are easily distracted by noise. But can easily follow verbal instructions.
A classic auditory mode example is just how evocative a tune from our past can be. An unexpected song or tune can bring back all sorts of memories and feelings totally out of the blue.
- Speech rate: Medium; but often tends to be quite rhythmic.
- Eye Clues: Side to side eye movements (as if looking at the ears).
- Language: Will use and respond to language relating to sound – look out for:
Do you hear what I’m saying?
I like the sound of that idea
Now you’re talking my language
I hear you.
You’re not listening to me!
- In the Kinesthetic modality information is processed through movement and touch. Learning style in this mode involves actually ‘doing’ something, such as moving or touching.
- Breathing: from the bottom of the lungs
- Speech rate: Slow and deeper voice
- Eye Clues: Eyes bottom left
- Body language: Few hand gestures. Responds well to touch and physical rewards
I want to get to grips with that
Let’s give it a go
I have a firm foundation in ….
I feel we may do well if ….
- Digital or auditory digital tends to be a mode outside of the senses. The Digital thinkers tend to talk internally a lot. Also, they like to make logical sense of things inside their minds. They place a high value on logic; and will often use abstractions with no connection to the senses.
- Breathing:Lower abdomen
- Speech rate:Slow.
- Eye Clues: Eyes bottom right
- Body language: Tend to be reserved.
I can figure that out
Exceptions to the Modalities
The Representational Systems or Modalities discussed here are the very basics of NLP. For more information on each mode in depth. Along with how to change feelings and experiences in that mode see the Submodalities.
Also you might like to take a look at What exactly is NLP? or NLP ~ Getting Started; which covers all the information on finding a therapist or taking a course.