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40 years of bad science in evaluation of NLP


Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has two main definitions: while it began as a set of techniques to understand and codify the underlying elements of ‘genius’ by modeling the conscious and unconscious behaviors of brilliant communicators and therapists, over the years, it has evolved into a set of frameworks, processes and protocols (the results of modeling) that qualified NLP Practitioners currently use to help evoke effective behavioral changes in clients.

NLP was initially developed while observing three very effective therapists as they worked with clients or groups of clients and asking questions about their work. One of the most important questions was, “What specifically are the things they do that lead to healthy therapeutic changes in their clients?” It was while observing the therapists as they worked (in person when possible and with video and audio tapes and transcripts when not) and documenting their own descriptions of their work that the developers began to notice common patterns in the therapists’ words and phrases, their tone of voice, their speed and rhythm of speaking, their motions, postures, gestures, etc.

As the early developers interviewed and reviewed tapes and transcripts of these therapists talking about their work, they found that they each used ways of thinking and acting that could be described one-step-at-a-time in terms of what they saw, heard and felt during a therapeutic session. They identified very specific patterns of speaking and repeated ways of doing things (strategies) that the therapists regularly used to get the results they wanted. They documented in great detail what the therapists were paying attention to during the session, what was happening with their clients and how the therapists described experiencing the session inside themselves. They found that although each therapist did things in their own way, there were certain linguistic structures and patterns of thought and behavior that were used by all of them. This way of analyzing behavior became known in NLP as ‘modeling:’ observing, investigating and teasing out the essentials of “How do they do that?”

After they had identified what these therapists did and what they were paying attention to, the developers tested these patterns of thought and behavior (the models). They did this by trying them out themselves and by teaching them to others. They confirmed the models were correct when they could elicit the same kinds of changes in their clients as the original therapists had attained using the same patterns. This was tested over and over again until they confirmed that the models could be learned and used by anyone to achieve the same therapeutic outcomes. As NLP grew and became more sophisticated, other successful individuals in a variety of other fields were observed and modeled in the same way and additional tools and techniques were added. This body of models, strategies, tools and techniques became the field of NLP.

Often described as “the study of subjective experience,” NLP makes it possible for people to quickly and efficiently learn how to think, behave and communicate in order to achieve specific goals. When applied in an educational or teaching setting, NLP provides specific tools to assist the teacher to structure the learning experience in the most effective way possible. Applied in a therapeutic or coaching setting, NLP allows clinicians, therapists and coaches to understand the structure of problem behaviors, thoughts and communications and to create interventions for those problems. Doctors and nurses have used NLP to help patients relax, overcome fear, and to take part in their own healing. In sports, NLP allows athletes to use the same kinds of thoughts and practices that champions use so that they can improve their own games. Musicians, actors, business people and motivational speakers are just a few of the kinds of people that have used the NLP model-building processes described above.

At root NLP is a way of gaining and understanding knowledge that generates models of the way people think about and do things (the structure of their experience) that can be applied in appropriate places where it will work best and in a way that it can be evaluated and tested scientifically. Each pattern and model it describes includes clear step-by-step instructions, and clear ways to test whether the desired result has been achieved. For both the client and the practitioner, the outcomes created by NLP can be tested to make sure they actually work.

Read: What is NLP? by Steve Andreas at:

Table of Contents
1 History
2 Critiques of NLP
3 Guiding Principles and Assumptions
4 Foundational Elements
4.1 Presuppositions
4.2 Behavioral Analysis
4.3 Syntax and Well-formedness conditions
4.4 Ecology
4.5 Modeling
4.6 States
5 Major Models
5.1 Sensory acuity and physiology.
5.2 The Meta Model
5.3 Representational Systems
5.4 Submodalities
5.5 The Milton Model
5.6 Eye-accessing cues
5.7 Meta- Programs
5.8 Chunking and Recursion
5.9 Hierarchical Organization
5.10 T.O.T.E.
5.11 Meta-States
5.12 Time-lines
5.13 Perceptual Positions
5.14 Parts
5.15 Well-Formed Outcomes
6 Techniques
6.1 Simple Techniques
6.1.1 Rapport
6.1.2 Swish
6.1.3 Anchoring
6.1.4 The NLP Spelling Strategy
6.1.5 Six Step Reframe
6.1.6 Change History
6.1.7 Submodality shifts
6.1.8 Compulsion Blowout
6.1.9 Collapse Anchors
6.2 Complex Techniques
6.2.1 Core Transformations
6.2.2 Fast Phobia-V/KD-RTM
6.2.3 Additions needed
6.2.1 Additions needed
6.2.1 Additions needed
6.2.1 Additions needed
6.2.1 Additions needed
6.2.1 Additions needed
7 Applications
7.1 mental health
7.2 therapy
7.3 coaching
7.4 education
7.5 personal growth
7.6 Negotiation
7.7 Sports
7.8 public relations
7.9 Sales
8 Theory
8.1 The Theoretical Status of NLP
8.2 Indirect evidence
8.3 Individualized Developments
9 Resources
10 References
11 Tables of scholarly support


Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) emerged from a synergistic combination of several individuals working together in a very special environment according to Paul Tosey and Jane Mathison.1 The major contribution these writers make with their description of the origins of NLP is that they contextualize it both in time and place.

Even a brief history of NLP must begin with Dr. Robert S. Spitzer. Spitzer, a Freudian psychoanalyst and President of Science and Behavior Books owned property in the Santa Cruz mountains above the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) campus. Spitzer’s wife had employed a young Richard Bandler to teach their son how to play the drums. In the late 60’s Bandler became caretaker of the Spitzer property in the mountains and began to attend UCSC.2

Science and Behavior Books was founded in 1963 to assist innovative therapists such as Virginia Satir, originator of conjoint family therapy, who were having difficulties finding publishers. The small publishing house focus was on the innovative edges of counseling psychology, family therapy, and human behavior.3 The company was the publishing arm of the prestigious Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, CA. Satir had joined the institute and initiated the first family therapy training program there in 1962. Subsequently, she became the first Director of Training at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA and oversaw their Human Potential Development Program. 4

MRI was uniquely suited to support and facilitate the rapidly expanding exploration of the human potential movement and the nascent Brief Therapy models. MRI “became the go-to place for any therapist who wanted to be on the cutting edge of psychotherapy research and practice. Fostering a climate of almost untrammeled experimentalism, MRI started the first formal training program in family therapy, produced some of the seminal early papers and books in the field, and became a place where some of the field’s leading figures – Paul Watzlawick, Richard Fisch, Jules Riskin, Virginia Satir, Salvador Minuchin, R.D. Laing, Irvin D. Yalom, Cloe Madanes – came to work or just hang out”. 5 It was from this unique organization the originators of NLP took the inspiration that infected their exploration of the therapeutic process and human communication.

Spitzer was intimately linked to MRI and Satir’s work in conjoint Family Therapy, and he introduced Bandler to her at his home in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was during this time Spitzer engaged Bandler to audiotape and transcribe a month-long workshop presented by Virginia Satir on Conjoint Family Therapy. According to Spitzer, Richard spent several months transcribing the audio tapes and began to exhibit many of Virginia’s voice patterns and mannerisms.2 Spitzer then asked Bandler to help edit an unfinished manuscript by the Gestalt therapist, Fritz Perls, who had died before he was able to finish it. Published as The Gestalt Approach, Spitzer was impressed enough with his work that he gave Bandler a set of films of Perls teaching and doing Gestalt and asked him to transcribe them as well. Richard had the same response to the exercise as to Satir, acting and talking like Perls.2 Tosey and Mathison observed, “Bandler had begun to use the approach that would later be called ‘modeling’,”1 a process of identification so intimate that the individual would adopt the speech and behavior patterns of the individual being modeled. This enabled the early modelers to separate out the elements of behavior—words and phrases, voice quality, tone and tempo, gestures, etc.—that had the most impact on a client or student during a “session” with the modeler.

As noted earlier, Bandler had joined the UCSC as a student. As a way to gain academic credits, he began to run a series of student-directed Gestalt seminars on campus in 1972 under the supervision of John Grinder, a new faculty member at the college. He met Frank Pucelik who was also doing peer counseling using Gestalt, and the two of them began to run the Gestalt training groups together both on and off campus. 1,2,6,7 Bandler’s focus on “what worked” in counseling to create therapeutic change1 together with Frank’s emphasis on “understanding the patterns and using them systematically”7 was so dynamic as to convince Grinder to assist them in identifying and refining the patterns they were using. In fact, Grinder later observed, “”…when I later compared their work with Perls’ work presented on film and audiotape, I found Pucelik and Bandler’s work to be significantly more effective than the model (Perls) they were imitating.8 Grinder added his background in linguistics to help the team formalize the patterns. Their early work formed the foundation for the first two books in the field: The Structure of Magic, Vols. 1 & 2.

It is important to note the role of UCSC during this time. Tosey & Mathison underscore the newly established Kresgy College at UCSC as “a radical experiment in education,”1 and cite Grant & Reisman’s description of the college as the university’s “most avant garde experiment.”9 From this innovative milieu where students and professors were “co-learners,” the originators of NLP emerged to carry that dynamic ethos to their study of the most innovative therapists of the time. Paired with therapists coming from MRI and Esalen, it is no wonder that the energy and scope of study was elevated by this creative energy.

It was during the early 1970s that Bandler moved to another property in the mountains owned by Spitzer which he described as having been “a creative commune for midwives and artists.”2 He goes on to note that Grinder also moved in and that Satir toyed with the idea of living there as well. Pucelik was also a resident, and Gregory Bateson joined them in 1974.1 While Spitzer introduced the team to Perls (initially through Richard’s transcriptions) and to Satir, it was Bateson who suggested they contact the renowned psychotherapeutic hypnotist Milton Erickson.10 Using the same techniques they had found successful in modeling Satir and Perls, the group soon found themselves immersed in “identification of the patterns of Erickson’s hypnotic work.”11 All these powerfully creative people together in one place further pushed the boundaries of what NLP was discovering.

1Tossey, P. & Mathison, J., 2009, Neuro-Linguistic Programming: A Critical Appreciation for Managers and Developers, Palgrave MacMillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.

2Spitzer, R. 1992, “Virginia Satir and the Origins of NLP”, Anchor Point, Vol. 6, no. 7.

3Science and Behavior Books, Inc. website,, accessed 7-27-2013.

4 Women’s Intellectual Contributions to the Study of Mind and Society; Virginia Satir,, accessed 7-27-2013.

5Psychotherapy Networker, November/December, 2007, p. 53

6Grinder, J. & Pucelik, F. (Ed.), 2013, The Origins of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Crown House Publishing, England.

7McClendon, T., 1989, The Wild Days: NLP 1972-1981, Meta Publications, Cupertino.

8Bostic St. Clair, C. & Grinder, J., 2001, Whispering in the Wind, J & C Enterprises, Scotts Valley.

9Grant, G. & Riesman, D., 1978. The Perpetual Dream: Reform and Experiment in the American College, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

10Dilts, R., “Gregory Bateson,”, accessed 7-27-2013.

11Bandler, R. & Grinder, J., 1975, Patterns of the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, Vol. I, Meta Publications, Cupertino.

The Continuing Growth of NLP

After the initial developments in the 1970s, a second wave of NLP began with the appearance of a series of publications from Real People Press. This move was spearheaded by Steve and Connirae Andreas who first edited Bandler and Grinder’s workshop books (Frogs into Princes, Reframing and Transformations) and later made their own creative contributions, like Heart of the Mind, Core Transformations and several other titles. They have continued as a main source of creativity within the field to the present. Together, Leslie Cameron, David Gordon and Robert Dilts developed the first NLP training protocol (the Practitioner and Master Practitioner Trainings). Leslie was the first to enumerate the NLP meta-programs and later (with David Gordon and Michael Lebeau) developed the Emprint Method. David Gordon wrote the classic work on the use of metaphors in NLP, and Robert Dilts was largely responsible for explicating the NLP approach to strategies.

According to Lucas Derks (Private communications 2013), from this time forward, clinical experimentation clearly took over from the modeling of the original exemplars as the wellspring of new NLP methodologies. The new models used the original patterns identified by the early developers to discover new structures and to create original patterns.

Although some patterns had been hinted at in the earlier work, their full development only came into being through this second wave. This included sub-modalities, time-lines and other root patterns which were now included as part of the foundational elements of any NLP curriculum.

The development of new models through clinical experimentation significantly impacted the application of NLP to the field of health by Robert Dilts, Todd Epstein, Tim Hallbom and Suzi Smith. Its application to creativity and patterns of genius were further articulated by Dilts and Epstein.

During the second wave further modeling projects were undertaken investigating the work of therapists including Moishe Feldenkrais, Carl Rogers, Frank Farelly, Bert Hellinger, Ivan Nagy, Martin Orne, and many others. These findings were often unacknowledged but remain part of the existing body of NLP practice.

A significant contribution to the basic patterns of NLP was also made by L. Michael Hall in the introduction of the Meta States model. His rebranded Neuro-Semantics has become the center of a world-wide coaching enterprise.

In 1988 Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall published Timeline Therapy and the Structure of Personality. Since then timelines have become a regular part of many NLP trainings. Steve and Connirae Andreas also created timeline processes at about the same time, as written in Change Your Mind and Keep the Change

Anthony Robbins rose to prominence as a motivational speaker and trainer in the 1980s using NLP as his primary set of skills, and helped popularize NLP through his bestselling book, Unlimited Power. Despite rebranding it and combining it with other motivational teaching, he has been responsible for popularizing NLP in the business community as a mass market commodity, and has worked with many famous people, including President Bill Clinton.

Significant contributions were also made by John Seymour and Joseph O’Connor who brought NLP to the broader psychological audience with their book, Introducing NLP. Both have been deeply involved in the development of NLP training materials and the application of NLP to education.

New models of effective therapies also appeared in the 1990s. These are exemplified by Penny Tompkins and James Lawley’s modeling of the therapist David Grove. Their Symbolic Modeling is regarded by many, especially in the UK as an extension of classic NLP.

Another significant model is represented by Lukas Derks’ extension of sub-modalities to interpersonal relations in his Social Panorama Model. This model used the methods of mainline Social Psychology to analyze patterns in normal and problematic social cognition. Here, departing from the standard model of intensive ideographic analysis, Derks interviewed multiple people to discover a generalized pattern.

This same investigative strategy has been used to extend and validate the NLP meta-programs in the work of Rodger Bailey, Patrick Merelevede, Shelle Rose Charvet and Carl Hirshman. The model was also significantly extended by Jaap Hollander’s MindSonar program.

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Critiques of NLP

Academic criticisms over the last 35 years have included complaints that NLP is lacking a theory and that it has been disproven by research in the 1980s. The flawed results from these studies and their persistence in the academic record have discouraged continued empirical examinations of NLP. In fact, in some circles NLP has been dismissed out of hand as a field not warranting further study.

Historically, most practitioners of NLP were not researchers. As a result, not only has limited research been done but little rebuttal has been offered regarding the negative findings in the literature which were often the result of seriously flawed research designs based on inadequate training in and understanding of the NLP material under study. A systematic review of the publications that purport to examine the root concepts of NLP and their validity shows serious flaws in the research and a long history of shoddy interpretations and conclusions. The unpacking of 35 years of research, publications, interpretations, conclusions and meta-analyses of an ill-defined “NLP field” is presented in Chapter 8 of The Clinical Effectiveness of NLP (Gray, Liotta Wake & Cheal, 2012) (hyperlink), but the final rebuttal is contained in the more recent positive research findings regarding specific NLP techniques and processes as well as indirect evidence from techniques and constructs that closely parallel NLP from more traditional psychology research.

Link to 35 years at

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Guiding Principles and Assumptions

Richard Bandler and John Grinder describe NLP as the study of the structure of subjective experience. In the forward to NLP Volume I, the authors state:

Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the discipline whose domain is the structure of subjective experience. It makes no commitment to theory, but rather has the status of a model—a set of procedures whose usefulness not truthfulness is to be the measure of its worth (1980, p. 1).

This suggests that rather than being based on a set of theoretical constructs, NLP is and creates a series of models: provisional, observation-based frames that it uses to create and test the techniques and practices that flow from those models. Models are perspectives that allow prediction but they are much more ephemeral than theories. They are easily and regularly discarded. An NLP model may be conceived of as a set of successive approximations culminating in specific strategies for replicating behavior. What NLP does have is a set of explicit observational principles and guiding constructs that allow for the construction of such models.

Bandler has pointed out that NLP looks at patterns and creates techniques that work (Bandler & Grinder, 1979). Patterns intimately involve the perspective of the observer and other participants. They are dynamic sequences of perceptions and actions that are identified by the flow of sensory information through the procedure. As a result, no pattern has a single, static formulation. Like statements in mathematics and symbolic logic, they begin with a set of common elements (VAKOG and submodalities). These individual elements may vary in order and value but the more general pattern of their interactions remains. Again, Grinder and Bandler make the following clarification:

Notice that since patterns must be represented in sensory grounded terms, available through practice to the user, a pattern will typically have multiple representations—each tailored for the differing sensory capabilities of individual users. I point out in passing that this requirement immediately excludes statistical statements about patterning as being well-formed in NLP as statistical statements are not user oriented (1980, n.p.).

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Foundational Elements:

NLP holds a number of Presuppositions and Models which make up its Foundational Elements. From the Foundational Elements a large number of Techniques based on those presuppositions and models have been developed over the last thirty years.

Insofar as NLP does have a set of underlying principles and assumptions, these are derived largely from its roots in transformational grammar, cybernetics and cognitive psychology.

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An essential part of the conceptual foundations of NLP are the set of presuppositions which Delozier has characterized as the heart of NLP (IASH & Delozier, 2006). Most authors provide their own versions of the presuppositions (Bandler and Grinder 1975, 1979; Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2002; Dilts & Delozier, 2000; Lewis and Pucelik, 1990; O’Connor and Seymour, 1990).

The Presuppositions are:

  1. Communication is redundant. We are always communicating in all three major sensory modalities (seeing, feeling and hearing) in addition to words. Because NLP is an empirical discipline—it is observation and result based—the first presupposition, that communication is redundant tells us that communication is much more than words. According to Gregory Bateson (1972) and others, in contexts where emotion is a crucial part of the message, up to ninety percent of our communication is nonverbal (Mehrabian, 1972). If we pay attention to words alone and pay no attention to shifts in tonality or rhythm (prosody), changes in facial expression, breathing or body posture, our understanding of what is communicated will be greatly impoverished. All good NLP training programs teach practitioners to observe and calibrate [needs a good NLP definition of “calibrate”] these non-verbal communications to the extent that a certified NLP practitioner should be capable of observing nonverbal changes and seamlessly integrating those observations into the clinical work.
  2. The meaning of your communication is the response that you get. NLP-oriented psychological treatment is not about what the therapist intends, or about saying the right words; it is about facilitating the desired experience inside the client, and obtaining the desired response from the client. When we don’t get the response we expected, we take personal responsibility to change our communications to achieve the anticipated results. While a client might report “feeling much better” about their spider phobia after a treatment (the “right” words), a good NLP practitioner will have observed the client’s non-verbal responses associated with imagining a spider in her room. Having completed the interventions, the practitioner would ask her to imagine that situation and while paying exquisite attention to changes in her response. Only after testing for and observing specific changes such as increased relaxation will the NLP practitioner conclude that they had indeed made clinical progress. If the expected response does not occur, it is time to do something else. It is important to recognize that a client’s responses might be verbal or non-verbal. In addition, a client’s undesirable response, or failure to respond in a specific way is not about “resistance” or “treatment readiness,” but rather about the clinician’s failure to respond to the client’s specific needs in a manner that is meaningful to them.
  3. People respond to their map of reality, not the reality itself. This comes directly from the work of Alfred Korzybsky (1994). As much as our personal models of the world must correspond to reality on some level to make us functional, the amount of variation from model to model can be astounding. Cultural differences play a part in this so that the OK sign in America means OK. In other cultures it is an insult. Just so, our individual experience imbues words, objects and locations with meanings and significance that are purely individual. The resulting maps can be very different. If you assume in communicating that your map corresponds to your listeners’ maps, you will often miss-communicate badly.Anyone who has gone hiking using a topographical map will understand this. Thinking you “know” the territory from a topographical map can easily leave you in mud up to your armpits in April while you might save hours cutting across the same territory in late July. The map is not the territory. When a boss says that they are “thick skinned” when it comes to criticism, you had better calibrate whether their “thick skin” extends to criticism from subordinates–if you value your job.

These first three presuppositions are taught in tandem in a fashion that, when fully understood, explains much of the clinical effectiveness of well-trained NLP practitioners.

  1. People work perfectly. No one is wrong or broken; it’s simply a matter of finding out how they function now so that they can effectively change that to something more useful or desirable. This presupposition is foundational on some level. People’s maps often constrain their behaviors and limit their choices. For others, their maps provide healthy alternatives to current problem states. People function perfectly but are often limited by the way they encounter the world.It is important to remember that the largest proportion of the information that an individual responds to is generated by the brain itself in terms of expectations, hierarchies of value and interpretations of sensory data (Varela, Thompson & Rousch, 1991). The circuitry works well, but the ‘maps’ are often significantly at odds with the present reality.
  2. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. The following—possibly apocryphal– story is told of Thomas Edison. One day, a reporter came to visit the inventor of the light bulb. He allegedly asked him how it felt to have failed 10,000 times in inventing the light bulb. Edison is reported to have responded that he did not fail; he had learned 10,000 ways how not to make a light bulb. Considering the value of flexibility in change work, the agent must always be ready to try another strategy, test another model, or just do something different.
  3. People already have all the resources they need. There are of course, some reasonable limitations to this one. However, given their state of physical wholeness, every person who lives and functions in the world has resources that can be assembled or reassembled to accomplish what they need to do or hope to do. This is not a promise of the miraculous, it is a reasonable extension of the postulate that almost all behavior is replicable when it is properly analyzed, modeled and taught. People always make the best choice available to them at the time. This reflects NLP’s radical assumption of client centeredness, and the need to understand the client’s map.
  4. Behind every behavior is a positive intent. This goes to the heart of the client-centered orientation of NLP. The statement can be sourced directly from Carl Rogers (1951). Before we can understand, model or change a behavior, it is important to understand how the client understands it and how it has value for them. As strange, heinous, otherworldly or bizarre as a behavior may appear to others, each one has some rationale for the client that makes it the best choice that they can perceive in the current context. Understanding that rationale and those contexts is crucial to discovering the map that drives the behavior. Making the underlying positive intention clear puts the change agent in sync with the client and often facilitates the consideration of more effective interventions and behaviors.
  5. Every behavior is useful in some context. Consonant with the previous presupposition, NLP understands that behaviors are often contextually bound and that sometimes those behaviors generalize beyond the contexts in which they were appropriate. In these cases the task becomes reasserting the appropriate context—as understood by the client. A newly married client raised by a parent who only responded to emotional manipulation may find themselves using that same manipulative style unconsciously and unsuccessfully with a new spouse. In such cases, merely bringing the source of the behavior to consciousness may be enough to change it.
  6. Choice is better than no choice. Pathology is often related to the artificial limitation of choices and options. NLP seeks to restore choice where choice is appropriate. Pathology is often related to situations where choice is limited: “Whenever anyone treats me like that I lose my temper”. Choice is sometimes limited by fear—Don’t ever ride a bus with a group of pugnacious skinheads. NLP ascribes a very high value to “choice” in our behaviors while acknowledging that rational choice is often less accessible than the more immediate and compelling biologically-based response.

10.Requisite variety. The element in a system with the most flexibility will usually be the controlling element. This derives directly from evolutionary and cybernetic theory. However, it also reflects how pathology is often reflected as limitations on perception and possibility (Ashby, 1956; Bandler & Grinder, 1975, 1979; Bateson, 1972; Grinder & Bandler, 1976). A therapist with the largest number of possible responses is more likely to have the response required by the clinical situation. A therapist that can only respond to criticism with evasion will generally be much less effective a therapist than one who can respond with confidence/honesty or evasions. Likewise, a therapist who only has one model of the problem is less likely to succeed than one who can generate multiple models based on the patient’s responses.

11.Chunking. Most things can be accomplished if we break the task down into small enough chunks. Because NLP views humans as flexible learning organisms with general capacities to grow and adapt, albeit with different capacities, we understand that any behavior can be learned by anyone so long as it is appropriately cognitively chunked to accommodate their capacities, abilities and current state of experience. This does not mean that everyone can be a Beethoven or an Einstein; our specific genetic endowments place certain limits upon behavior. However, as Dilts has shown, we can learn and profit from the patterns of thought that they used (1995).

12.Anyone can do any cognitively based function. If one person can do something it is possible to model it and teach it to most people. At its heart, NLP is a strategy for modeling the cognitive dimensions of behavior so that it can be replicated. Because we understand that all behavior can be understood as sequences of sensory data (including movement) the essence of the approach is the capacity to accurately model the internal steps producing behavior so that it can be reproduced, understood and (where necessary) changed.

The presuppositions could use some scholarly support. We have Ashbby, Bateson, Korzybski Mehrabian and Rogers, but could use many more.

These presuppositions embody an approach to communication and change that encapsulate some of the most important insights into the nature of behavioral analysis and change as practiced by the exemplars upon whom the field is based. Perhaps more importantly, they operationalize the roots of a radically client-centered and empirical approach to change-work in general. Anyone holding these presuppositions either as true or provisionally true begins to ask questions and seek answers that are foundational to the approaches of humanistic and positive psychology as they have arisen over the years (IASH & Delozier, 2010).

In addition to generating an attitude, the presuppositions and sensory structure of behavior require an empirical, sensory-based approach to the client or object of study. In NLP, the focus is not only on the description of subjective experience but it requires the therapist or change agent to tease out the linguistic structure of the experience to discern and to verify the pattern under discussion. She must also verify the concomitant changes in behavior, emotional response and other cues provided by the client through training enhanced sensory observation. As a result, NLP is radically empirical.

scholarly support

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Behavioral analysis

The first of these assumptions is that all behavior can be understood as sequences of sensory information and process. That is, any behavior can be described in terms of a sequence of things that are seen, heard, felt, and smelled or tasted (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory sensory modalities and submodalities). This follows directly from Chomsky’s (1972) observation that the generative component of language allows all grammars to create an infinite number of novel sentences out of a limited number of individual words or phonemes for each language. Dilts and Delozier (2000) formulate it for NLP as follows:

… Any mental functions (i.e., memory, decision making, motivation, learning, creativity, etc.) can be reduced to some explicit, ordered sequence or combination of sensory representations of sights, sounds, feelings, smells or tastes (p.852).

In this generalized concept of sensory perception and operation, the kinesthetic element includes movement, the perception of movement, emotion and mood so that the VAKOG analysis includes the possibility of action as well as perception (Dilts, Grinder, Bandler, & Delozier, 1980).

NLP focuses upon behavior as sequences of a limited number of elements (VAKOG) and the ascertainment of the order and structure of those elements ( I see something, which makes me feel…., then I do something…). This means that NLP-based interventions can be completed in a content-free manner. That is, by assisting the client to adjust the number, order and subjective structure (submodalities) of the elements, almost any intervention can be effectively completed without specification of the content thereby avoiding the risks of retraumatization or the subjective practice and affirmation of the problem behavior.

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Syntax and well-formedness conditions

This naturally gives rise to the concept of syntax. Meaningful and effective behavior is limited by the ordering of perceptions and actions that result in an effective or recognizable behavior. Walking is not a random assemblage of movements. It involves specific movements of specific body parts in a definable sequence. Although there are variations in the behavior–walking, striding, speed-walking, marching–all involve the same basic syntax of movements. The basic syntactic relations that give rise to a behavior more generally (the strategy) give rise to the more refined sequences that characterize expert or well-practiced behavior. In general these syntactical considerations are spoken of as well-formedness conditions.

Well-formedness conditions are patterns of behavior which can be recognized as well formed by their robust character and economy of operation. In general, well-formedness conditions specify the conditions under which an NLP intervention, strategy or technique may be expected to work according to specification. Each NLP technique or context for change generates its own well-formedness conditions and these are typically specified by the originator of the pattern (Bandler and Grinder 1975, 1979; Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2002; Dilts and Delozier, 2000).

Because NLP deals with patterns and models, the syntax for any given behavior –the strategy–may be manifested in a number of variations that are limited only by the structure of the organism, the capacities of the individual, the context and the specified outcome. Just so, the deep structure of a linguistic proposition can be expressed by any of a number of surface structures but they too are limited by the possible syntactic relations that unite them and the limited meaning that the words are intended to express. Common behaviors may be understood to share a basic syntactic structure with some variation. Gates, patterns of intonation in speech, local variations in language, batting styles and golf strokes display these kinds of individual variation in basic syntax.

More expert behaviors may show specific modifications in the structure or sequence of the behavioral elements that are revealed through the process of modeling. Modeling is the specific process of identifying the sensory elements of a behavior and its related perceptions (the VAKOG), determining their sequence, specifying that sequence in a manner that can be communicated and acted out, testing the sequence against the exemplar and modifying it as necessary until the behavior can be replicated.

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In their important book, Turtles All the Way Down, Delozier and Grinder point to a crucial element often missing from the use of technology, and that is ecology. Ecology means knowing where a thing is right or appropriate and where it is not. It means realizing the impact a change will have on you and the people around you, how it will affect your clients and their lives, whether things that work now will continue to work after the change. On some level it is about the impact of context.

More on Ecology with references and case examples might be useful

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In NLP we begin with observation and the belief that every behavior can be modeled and reproduced or changed. The epistemology further defines how we build models, by observing patterns of language, eye movements and bodily state so that we can describe the sequencing of the elements (VAKOG), their modification by submodality distinctions, and develop a testable model. The test is specified in terms of the ability to reproduce the behavior–or attain the desired state–by using the model.

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States can be thought of as integrated conditions of the body-mind system or representations of those conditions in terms of problems and outcomes. States are often defined in terms of internal states (moods, feelings, and emotions), external states, problem or present states and desired states.

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The major models usually associated with NLP are:

Sensory acuity and physiology

Thinking is tied closely to physiology. People’s thought processes change their physiological state. Sufficiently sensitive sensory acuity will help a communicator fine-tune their communication to a person in ways over and above mere linguistics (Niedenthal, Barsalou et al., 2005).

Calibration entails watching for changes in a person’s physiology as we interact with them. By paying close attention to the details of posture, breathing, muscle tonus, skin color and pulse we can carefully monitor what is happening to the other person as we communicate with them.

What happens when someone becomes nervous? In our day-to-day activities, we have often had the impression that someone was nervous, but what was it that gave you that impression? Were there beads of sweat on his brow or upper lip? Did she fidget or shake. Was there a tremor in his voice? Did her voice become high and squeaky? If they were very upset, their color changed. It might be important to note whether it became reddish or if the color drained. How do you know that they were nervous?

Consider relaxation. Watch someone as they relax. If there were bulging veins in their neck, you can watch them sink below the surface of the skin and change color as they do. If their eyes were bulging, you see that the muscles surrounding the eyes have relaxed and the eyes do not extend beyond their sockets. The muscles that made their lips tight and thin begin to relax and as they do so, the lips expand, become fuller and gain color.

Calibration allows you to make comparisons between a person’s physiology in one state and their physiology in a different state. You calibrate when you take note of the evidence of a person’s physiological state in one context and compare them to the evidence of another state.

Incongruities are mismatches between what a person says and what their body is doing. Calibration, sensory attention to the details of physiological change, allows us to attend to mismatches and alerts us to possible problems with what they are saying.

Jonathan Altfield on NLP Calibration Skills:

scholarly support

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The “Meta-Model”

This is a set of linguistic challenges for uncovering the “deep structure” underneath someone’s “surface structure” sentences. The model is useful for eliciting a more complete model of the client’s situation, identifying blind spots that may inhibit personal growth and in some cases transforming behavior.

Steve Andreas on Modal Operators:

scholarly support

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Representational systems

Bandler and Grinder took as basic to their approach the idea that every behavior could be understood in terms of the five senses: seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting and smelling. These were abbreviated as VAKOG for: Visual Auditory, Kinesthetic Olfactory and Gustatory. Each modality, or representation system, represents a different way of encountering the world and their sequencing in any model of a behavior represents the strategy which underlies the behavior. Behaviors are modeled as their constituent representational systems are revealed in eye accessing cues, linguist patterns, bodily postures, breathing patterns and other verifiable behavior.

These actually appeared in Erickson’s work and the work of others, though Bandler and Grinder took them much further. Different people seem to represent knowledge in different sensory modalities. Their language reveals their representation. Often, communication difficulties are little more than two people speaking in incompatible representation systems.

In terms of verbal behavior, for example, the “same” sentence might be expressed differently by different people:
Auditory: “I really hear what you’re saying.”
Visual: “I see what you mean.”
Kinesthetic: “I’ve got a handle on that.”

In the same context the person using visual language might be looking upwards and talking fast; the person who is attending to the auditory portion of the conversation might be shifting his gaze from side to side, and the person who is focusing on feelings might be looking down and to the left.

Rex Sykes on Representational Systems:

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As noted, one of the fundamental concepts of NLP is that all experience can be decomposed into sensory elements. So far we have spoken about the senses as if they were unitary phenomena. Each sense, however, has dimensions and those dimensions have been designated, in the language of NLP, as submodalities. Submodalities are the dimensions that control impact, meaning, motivation and emotion. They include such things as magnitude, intensity, texture, complexity, source, movement and distance. They can be digital,–present or not—or they can vary along a continuum.

Size, intensity, warmth and distance vary along a continuum. Sound source varies continuously as do softness and speed. Whether an image is moving or still, framed or unframed; for any sound or picture the number of dimensions (one or more)is digital. They are either on or off. Submodalities first appeared in Bandler’s (1985) Using Your Brain for a Change. Soon thereafter they were covered by Steve and Connirae Andreas in Change Your Mind and Keep the Change (1987). Bandler, R. & MacDonald, W. (1987 during the same year published an extensive examination of submodalities in

Since then they have become a basic construct in NLP thought and praxis. There is considerable validation of their effects from mainline psychology.

The structure of internal representations determines your response to the content. For example, picture someone you really like. Make the colors more intense, as if you were turning up the color knob on a TV. Now turn the color down, until it’s black and white. For most people, high color intensifies the feeling, and B&W neutralizes it. The degree of color, part of the STRUCTURE of the representation, affects the intensity of your feelings about the content.

scholarly support

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The “Milton-model

This is a set of linguistic patterns Milton Erickson used to induce trance and other states in people. It is the inverse of the meta-model; it teaches how to be artfully vague, which is what you use to do therapeutic hypnosis with someone.

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Eye accessing cues.

Bandler and Grinder noted systematic patterns of eye movements that appeared to correlate with the sensory language and context used by their clients and subjects. In short, they observed that most normal, right handed individuals tended to look upwards when accessing visual information, from side to side when accessing auditory information, and downwards when accessing kinesthetic information or when talking to themselves. Further observations led them to the understanding that, for most people, eye movements to the right represented creative activity while movements to the left indicated remembered or eidetic activity. In the case of downward eye movements, movement to the right signified kinesthetic access, while leftward movements related to internal dialogue (Bandler and Grinder 1975, 1979; Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2002; Dilts, Bandler et al., 1980; Dilts & Delozier, 2000; Lewis and Pucelik, 1990; O’Connor and Seymour, 1990).

While observing eye accessing cues, a distinction is made between the lead system, the representational system and the reference system.

We’ve got to make a distinction now. The predicates, the words a person chooses to describe their situation—when they are specified by representational system—let you know what their consciousness is. The predicates indicate what portion of this complex internal cognitive process they bring into awareness. The visual accessing cues, eye-scanning patterns, will tell you literally the whole sequence of accessing, which we call a strategy. What we call the “lead system” is the system that you use to go after some information. The “representational system” is what’s in consciousness, indicated by predicates. The “reference system” is how you decide whether what you now know—having already accessed it and knowing it in conscious­ness—is true or not. (Bandler & Grinder, 1979, p.28)

Further distinctions about eye accessing cues may indicate where a person habitually locates certain kinds of experience in the visual field.

scholarly support

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Meta-programs organize thought processes. In general, they provide the broader context that might define why, in identical situations, attending to the same kind of stimuli, two people might respond very differently. Bodenhammer & Hall compare them to the operating system of a computer and point out that they are for the most part situationally defined (1997).

Robert Dilts and Judith Delozier give the example of two people who make decisions based on seeing a series of objects, perceiving a feeling about those objects and making a decision based on those feelings. One subject indicates that upon seeing the examples, she feels better about one than any of the others. That leads her to make her choice. The other subject sees the objects, but her feeling response is overwhelming and she cannot make a decision. These two very different responses are governed by the different ways that people have of dealing with the data of experience: meta-programs. So, meta-programs stand above and organize our feelings about the things that we encounter and they integrate those meanings into a frame of personal relevance (Charvet, 1997; Dilts, Delozier & Delozier, 2000).

Meta-programs were first described by Leslie Cameron-Bandler in the late 1970s. Cameron-Bandler originally identified 70 meta-programs. Later researchers found that many of these were variants of larger categories and the number was reduced. Later research by Bodenhammer and Hall has sought to re-expand the list to 51. Patrick Merlevede provides a list of 16 with references for sources in the literature of psychology. Shelle Charvet reduces them to 14 of the most useful patterns while Hoage identifies six as key patterns. Despite an ongoing discussion about the precise number of the patterns, the most accessible book on the subject, and probably the most cited, is Charvet’s, 1997, Words that Change Minds (Bodenhammer & Hall, 1997; Charvet, 1997; Dilts, Delozier & Delozier, 2000; Hoage, 2010; Merlevede, 2010).

Some of the more basic ways that people sort information and behavior using meta-programs include the following:

• Approach to the problem: Towards positive outcomes or away from negative consequences.

• Time frames: Short term or long term and whether their orientation is towards the past present or future.

• Chunk Size: Do they prefer generalities or details?

• Locus of control: internal –introverted or external—extroverted.

• Mode of comparison: Matching—finding similarities and uniformities or mismatching—finding differences and potential problems.

• The approach to problem solutions: task oriented (whether by options or procedures) or oriented to relationships and their focus (self, other or communal).

• Thinking styles or channels: vision, action, logic or emotion—roughly equivalent to Jung’s perceptual styles.

• The preferred informational focus: people, places, things, information, procedures (Charvet, 1997; Dilts, Delozier & Delozier, 2000).

These elements may contribute significantly to how a person defines their response to the world. While they seem to be established early on and have been considered as permanent traits of individuals, there is evidence not only that they can be changed but that they vary from situation to situation.

If we consider that there are both trait-level preferences for these response types as well as situational determinants, we would do well to consider that every person will display all of these patterns at some point. Moreover, these patterns themselves will appear in situationally determined hierarchies (Hogue, 2010; Bodenhammer & Hall, 1996).

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We also need scholarly back up for the various metaprograms.

John David Hoage’s article on Meta-Programs:

Patrick Merlevede’s Overview of Meta-Programs:

scholarly support

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Chunking and Recursion

Essential to NLP’s model of behavior and the modeling of behavior are the dual processes of chunking and recursion. Both are derived from Chomsky (1972) and are reflected in the structure of behavior in a manner similar to Chomsky’s linguistic model.

Chomsky indicates that the smaller elements of linguistic structure defined by the structure of the vocal tract and shaped by the demands of the linguistic environment, phonemes, are assembled into the characteristic building blocks or morphemes that are used to construct words. Words in turn construct phrases, phrases, sentences and so on. As applied to behaviors, this hierarchical assembly is referred to as chunking as individual movements and perceptions build to create purposive modules that further assemble into chained or streamlined behaviors and schemas.

Chomsky also indicated that the process of chunking was often recursive so that a phrase (a verb phrase or a noun phrase) in a complex sentence might stand in for a single word (a lexical unit with a specific grammatical function—a verb or a noun). Just so, NLP understands the modularity of behavior and that one sequence of behaviors (a strategy) might take the place of a simple unitary action.

The discussion here is limited to Chomsky and needs expansion to how it appears in the works of Bateson, Erickson, Satir, Perls and others and how it is treated by more recent contributors.

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Hierarchical Organization

Recursion and hierarchical organization are ubiquitous at all levels of the organization of perception and behavior generation.

This needs discussion beyond Dilts.

There are many ways that NLP approaches hierarchy; one of the more popular ways is through Robert Dilts’ (1990) Neurological Levels.

Dilts’ Neurological Levels

In 1990, Robert Dilts published Changing Belief Systems with NLP. In that book, he set forth a system of neurological levels which explained the integration of various levels of belief and motivation. The levels were presented with regard to the structure and manipulation of beliefs. He also argued that these levels represented a hierarchy of neural involvement and complexity. The levels and their associated motivational frames (from broadest to narrowest) were as follows:

• Spirit or strategic vision – What is my intention or purpose for this? What does this mean?

• Identity – Who am I?

• Belief and values – What are my beliefs? What is preferable in this situation? What is the best answer for this problem?

• Capability – What am I capable of doing? This includes maps, strategies and the capacity to generalize.

• Behavior – What am I able to do?

• Environment – In what context does this behavior occur? What are the external constraints?

Presented by Dilts as rooted in Bateson’s (1972) adaptation of Bertrand Russell’s logical types, the model has often been criticized as being inconsistent with both Bateson and Russell (Andreas, 2003; Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2002; Hall, 2013). Admitting that the structure has serious problems when held up to exacting philosophical criteria, we can understand its utility if we apply it as one of several possible orderings of salience hierarchies. As such, it helps to clarify some of the relations between motivations and actions.


Dilts’ levels represent a systems theoretical model of the levels of control for various kinds of behaviors and perceptions. This implies that the structure and function of each behavior or perception is preserved at each level of function, but as each level is incorporated into higher levels, it’s meaning within the whole changes. From a systems theoretical perspective, change can occur from the bottom up or from the top down. From the bottom up, assemblies of systems or behaviors come to the point where their interrelations reach a level of complexity that redefines all of their functions in terms of a larger whole. This is an emergent property. From the top down, we understand that the higher, more integrative levels determine the meaning and purpose of the lower levels (Gray, 1996).

In ascending order, Dilts’ levels represent stages of increasing complexity that emerge from the interactions of simpler behavioral systems. In descending order they represent control structures that inform or modify the meaning and behavioral salience of the individual behaviors and perceptions below them. It appears that the system works most appropriately as a means of understanding motivation and preference (behavioral salience—the likelihood of behavioral expression and incentive salience—the level to which one will work to achieve an outcome), as opposed to any other psychic element. On the purest level they appear to be levels of subjective organization.

Feil et al. (2010) describe just such an organization in their description of the assembly of smaller behavioral elements into larger schemas in the ventral striatum. They indicate that motivation on its most basic level is concerned with the assembly of successive acts towards the accomplishment of a larger goal that is set by higher control mechanisms.

It is important to realize that, as a matter of practical application, Dilts’ levels represent a recursive system, that is, a system that repeats itself on multiple levels. The first three levels may be executed in a fully unconscious manner or they may represent levels of increasing consciousness and choice. When they operate to reveal increasing levels of consciousness, they implicitly incorporate the same kinds of transformations on an unconscious level.

At the most basic level of the hierarchy, there are stimulus response interactions which are automatic and are controlled by environmental variables. These give rise to reflex actions and mood changes. They are subsumed into larger behavioral units which are relatively more conscious and are subject to choice. Dilts calls these larger elements behaviors. Behaviors tend to be more conscious and can be related to operant behaviors as opposed to the more Pavlovian, stimulus bound behaviors at the environmental level.

The awareness of behaviors and their possible application to multiple contexts gives rise to the perception of capabilities. These have also been referred to as efficacy experiences by Bandura and others. Behaviors are organized and controlled by perceptions of capabilities—the kinds of behaviors I have at my disposal and whether they can objectively be applied in a given context (Are there sufficient similarities between the situations so that the behavior might naturally generalize to that context?).

The awareness of behaviors and capabilities can be understood in terms of the functions of the frontal cortex and contextual framing by the interaction of pattern matching in the hippocampal formation with conscious outcomes or sensory experience represented in the frontal cortex (Dorso-Lateral Pre-frontal Cortex, Orbito-frontal Cortex, Ventro-medial Pre-frontal Cortex, Anterior Cingulate Cortex, and Anterior Insular Cortex)( Craig, 2009; Chambers et al. 2007; Feil et al, 2010).

Capabilities are arrayed in terms of priorities and preferences according to context. These contexts may represent schemas—what is done in specific contexts, but they also represent arrangements of preferred behaviors, more probable behaviors. This is one of the functions of the midbrain dopamine system, creating hierarchies of preference and salience or importance among behaviors and environmental stimuli.

Capabilities are ordered by the principles of importance/salience reviewed in the section on salience hierarchies. For each capability there is a history of efficacy in various contexts that affects its likelihood of reappearing there. Efficacy comes into play as part of the valuation. Values refer to the level of success a given capability achieves as well as the level to which it becomes available across contexts. On a raw behavioral level, beliefs are generalized subjective reflections of the value, utility and contextual fit between a capability and a context that may include abstract applications of that capability into new and untried contexts. They are also framed by higher-order beliefs about what is appropriate and inappropriate; what can and cannot be done. Capabilities are arrayed and controlled by values, preferences and beliefs.

On a separate level, beliefs about and evaluations of capabilities can be internalized from external sources. This is the essence of Bandura’s (1997) social learning theory; we internalize the patterns observed in our models and apply them as if we’d had the experience ourselves. Berger and Luckmann (1967) referred to such internalizations as ‘recipe knowledge’. Recipe knowledge is not based on personal experience, but we accept the definitions imposed on us from without. In NLP we have understood such beliefs in terms of acting “as if” (Bandler and Grinder, 1975). This is also one of the important ways in which extrinsic motivations are converted into strong-if-not-genuine outcomes. Bechara (2005) describes these memories, learnings and imaginings as an essential part of the behavioral control mechanism centered in the frontal lobes.

Separate sources of beliefs about capacity flow from perceptions of their consistency with our self-definitions at the next higher level (Identity) and their congruence with personal experience. These are ecological controls on beliefs, values and actions.

Identity flows from multiple sources. It is, however, most firmly rooted in the things that we do consistently, how we value them and the beliefs that we have about them. Although identity beliefs are assembled, on the most basic level, from the self-evident data of experience, powerful transformations of identity can arise from transformative experiences. In such cases the new experience transforms identity. In these cases, the new identity reorganizes the other levels of experience so that they are evaluated and accessed in accordance with the new identity. Milton Erickson (1954) called them ‘whole life reframes’. They are typical of conversion experiences. For our purposes, a sufficiently powerful restructuring at any of these levels can powerfully affect all of the layers below.

It is important to realize that in Dilts’ model, a dramatic change in any level above the problem behavior can cause changes in preference, beliefs and values at all of the lower levels. We have referred to these changes as reframes.

The chart following provides several examples of the hierarchical nature of human experience and neurology.

The hierarchical nature of behavior and perception: from individual base-elements to purposive perceptions and actions.

Hierarchical organization Base unit Root analytic element Minimal functional element Functional Pattern source
Language Phoneme(the structural capacity to produce a limited number of sounds) Morpheme`(Basic combinations constrained by experience and culture) Word(Minimal unit of shared meaning) Sentence Chomsky, 1972
Reading capacity at the neural level-Ventral Visual Pathway) Feature Detectors(The Structural Capacity to perceive a limited number of features. Bigrams, quadrigrams(Pattern recognition) Letters, basic prelexical units words Glezer, Jiang et al., 2009, Kanwisher (2010)
General Perception of faces & objects Feature Detectors(The Structural Capacity to perceive a limited number of features. * * Faces, places, bodies and objects. Kanwisher (2010)
Embodied concepts Feature Detectors(The Structural Capacity to perceive a limited number of features. Feature maps Unimodal Convergence areas MultimodalEmbodied concepts Niedenthal, Barsalou, et al. (2005); Damasio, 1989
Movement Gross motor physiology(The structural capacity for a limited number of movements.) Motor reflex patterns Coordinated Movements Purposive actions. Gray, 2006;Piaget, 1971
Mirror neuron Innervation of gross motor physiology(the structural capacity to organize movement) The perception of gross motor movements (Kinematics) Composite behaviors (proximate outcomes) Perception of action-intent Kilner, Friston, & Frith ,2007
NLP behavioral model VAKOG Minimal well- formedness conditions for individual elements Strategy units Streamlined behaviors Bandler & Grinder, 1975; Dilts et al., 1980
This table does not reflect the observation by Kanwisher (2010) that there are specialized areas of the brain that code for specific categories of perception. There is some evidence that these represent learned capacities (Glezer, Jiang et al., 2009). Nevertheless the associations are strong, consistent and meaningful in terms of behavior. * There is significant evidence to suggest that the perception of faces, places and bodies, although modifiable by experience are not developed by hierarchical assembly of separable components (Kanwisher (2010).


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The T.O.T.E. model

In NLP, the process of recursion and assembly of complex behaviors and actions (and even simpler actions) is described in terms of the TOTE model. TOTE is an acronym, it refers to Test, Operate, Test, Exit and is derived from a seminal publication in cognitive psychology by Miller, Galanter and Pribram (1960), Plans and the Structure of Behavior. This book, often called the first book to apply a computer metaphor to human behavior, set forth the idea that behaviors in complex systems that have no defined end (e.g., do this five times and stop) need to have some guiding process that allows them to know what to do and when to stop doing it. This means that behaviors in living organisms can be usefully compared to a computer program that sets a criterion, operates on the data, and tests to see whether the criterion has been met. If the criterion has not been met, the program loops through again. If the criterion has been met, the program ends.

In the language of NLP we begin with an outcome. The first test in the Test-Operate-Test-Exit strategy is the comparison of our present state to a desired state—an outcome. If they fail to match, we perform some operation with the purpose of changing percepts, behaviors or the world in the direction of our stated outcome. The second test in the algorithm again compares the present state to the outcome. If the outcome criteria have been met, the process ends; we exit the process. If, however, the outcome has not been met, we loop back through the test-operate procedure until it does (Dilts, 1983; Dilts & Delozier, 2000; Dilts, Grinder, et al., 1980; Wake, 2010).

The model was originally created as an extension of the behavioral model of the reflex arc. One of its innovative extensions was the addition of room for flexibility. If what we are doing doesn’t work, or hasn’t worked the way we want, we can do something else.

As it appears in NLP, the model usually specifies that testing happens in the sensory modality most relevant to the issue. A carpenter hammering nails might use sight, feel or sound—a hammer hitting a nail off-center sounds and feels very different from one that has hit the nail correctly

This model can be used to describe simple behaviors, like hitting a nail with a hammer and it can be used to build hierarchical models of much more complex behaviors. If we imagine that a basic TOTE can be used to assemble a set of rudimentary skills that are necessary to a larger task, we can imagine that larger and larger tasks can become integrated as unified wholes using the same model.

The T.O.T.E model can be understood as a generalized description of behavioral shaping where the test at each level is defined by the presence or absence of an appropriate reinforcement. Thus, the purely Skinnerian definition (1957) of a reinforced stimulus that increases the probability of the behavior that precedes it can now be applied to a generalized schema in which a set of behaviors matching to criterion serves as a legitimate reinforce.

Examples, applications and scholarly support are needed here.

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L. Michael Hall, in his 1996 book, Meta States made the observation that self-reflection, recursion, is a crucial part of what it means to be human. He noted that part of the richness of what it means to be human is rooted in: 1. our self-reflexive consciousness; our awareness of our awareness and 2. Our feelings about our feelings are what he called meta-states. In this ground-breaking work he points to how we can learn to apply feelings to feelings in order to take control of present states.

Hall makes the following statement about the effects of the recursive practice of metastating:

Sometimes a state about a state will negate the first; sometimes it will create a paradox and send a person into a state of confusion; sometimes it will amplify the first state; sometimes it will distort the first state and turn it into something wondrously useful or destructive (fear about fear—paranoia, belief in belief—fanaticism). (1996, p. 44-emphasis in original)

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(James & Woodsmall, 1988)

This needs to be done.


A Brief History of NLP Timelines by Steve Andreas:

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Perceptual Positions

This needs to be done.


scholarly support

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NLP has numerous Techniques based on the Pre-suppositions and Models which it has developed for dealing with problems and accomplishing goals over the last thirty five years. (This list of techniques should be presented with as much supporting evidence as possible). They are presented in two categories; those that readers unfamiliar with NLP practice can understand and those that require basic NLP Training to understand.

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Basic Techniques

There are many more basic techniques that are missing.


Among the earliest patterns identified and modeled by NLP was a set of behaviors known collectively as rapport skills.

This pattern has been the subject of considerable research and all of its elements have received strong support in the mainstream psychological literature. In several studies (Ehrmantraut, 1983; Palubeckas, 1981; Sandhu, 1984; Sandhu, Reeves, & Portes, 1993) the value of postural mirroring was validated as enhancing the client’s perception of empathy.

Importantly, rapport as defined by NLP is not necessarily a state that is well measured by paper and pencil tests, but is defined by a reciprocal dance of interaction between the participants. Moreover, because NLP does not require self-disclosure (all of its interventions may be carried out content-free) the quality of rapport does not necessarily require increased self-disclosure. Research on rapport as perceived warmth, empathy and trustworthiness has been well supported by multiple studies (Asbell, 1983; Brockman, 1980; Day, 1985; Ehrmantraut, 1983; Frieden, 1981; Green, 1979; Hammer, 1980; Palubeckas, 1981; Pantin, 1982; Sandhu, 1993; Schmedlen, 1981; Shobin, 1980; Thomason, 1984; Wake, Gray & Bourke, 2012).

More recently, the mechanisms of rapport have received certain validation in the discovery of the mirror neuron system. These systems are tuned to respond to and replicate movements in others. When we perceive others doing the same things, we experience a connection (Gallese, Kaysers, et al., 2004; Kilner, Friston, et al., 2007).

scholarly support

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The Swish Pattern

The NLP swish pattern was first described by Bandler in 1985 (Bandler, 1985; Bandler and McDonald, 1987). It is later described by Andreas & Andreas in Change Your Mind and Keep the Change (1987). It is one of the more important NLP techniques of general applicability. The pattern begins with the identification of the trigger for the unwanted behavior—what are you aware of, just before you do this? Once the trigger stimulus is identified, the client is asked to imagine a compelling image of them that represents, on a deep identity level, how their life would be when the problem behavior is gone. The image should be highly valued to the client.

The swish pattern begins with a large, bright, full-color, three-dimensional representation of the trigger for the problem behavior that is held in the foreground of the client’s visual imagination. At the same time, a dissociated image of the same client expressing the desired behavior as a small, colorless background image is held in the lower, left-hand corner of their visual screen. At a specific moment, the client, as quickly as possible, moves the desired image into the foreground and into the same space with the same qualities as the problem image so that it covers the original image, simultaneously she moves the problem representation into the distant, colorless position originally occupied by the other image. The client then opens her eyes or otherwise blanks the screen of her imagination. The swish is practiced several times (usually five or more) until the client is confident that a change has occurred. The procedure is tested by having the client imagine the trigger image or perform the trigger act. If the trigger fails to elicit the problem behavior, the procedure is complete.

Auditory and kinesthetic variants have also been described (Andreas, 1999). In the auditory version the problem voice is experienced in the foreground with the tone, pitch, volume and sourcing that make it identifiable as the problem trigger. Simultaneously the clients own ideal, compelling voice, expressing the qualities that it would have if the problem were solved is identified and placed in a far off, almost inaudible corner of the sound space. As in the visual swish, the desired voice emerges into the foreground as the problem voice shrinks to nothing. The procedure is also repeated about five times or until the problem is inaccessible.

In every version, it is reported that it is crucial that the procedure be completed as quickly as possible; the faster the better.

scholarly support

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In NLP, an anchor is the stimulus that evokes the memory of a past experience and makes it available to conscious experience. Anchors can range from immediate, one-shot learnings evoked by a single word or touch (like phobias), to classically conditioned, stimulus response connections that are built up over several trials. The word itself may also refer to the response as, an ‘anchored response’. In NLP when we use an anchor, we say that we fire it off (Bandler & Grinder, 1979; Linden & Perutz, 2004).

When one-trial conditioning or anchoring occurs, it usually occurs in regard of a powerfully emotional stimulus, an extraordinarily novel experience or something that is life threatening. Examples here are phobias, PTSD and flashbulb memories—the vivid recollections of a traumatic or extremely novel experience. In other cases, it may occur when a new experience matches a preexisting set of beliefs or behaviors so that it becomes a natural part of a pre-existing schema or pattern (Bouton, 1994; Bouton & Moody, 2004; Diamond et al., 2007; Morris, 2004). Moreover, one-shot learnings may depend upon the distinctive nature of the conditioned stimulus (Bouton & Moody, 2004; Domjian, 2010; Rescorla, 1988).

It is important to note that although NLP has often promoted anchoring as a one-shot learning of two associated stimuli, like a touch or a word combined with an emotion or mood; for therapeutic purposes, this is not always a reliable means of establishing the anchor. In most cases, the anchor stimulus must be paired multiple times (five to seven) with the desired response until that response arises reliably and automatically. Done this way, anchoring is a dependable and automatic expression of Pavlovian delayed conditioning (Dilts & Delozier 2000; Gray, 2011; Grinder and Bandler, 1979; Linden & Perutz, 1998; O’Connor & Seymour, 1999; Pavlov, 1927; Rescorla, 1988).

Delayed conditioning specifies a paradigm where the conditioned stimulus (originally neutral) is presented after the onset of the unconditioned stimulus and terminates while the unconditioned response is still present. For example, your client begins to talk about a pleasant experience and you observe a change in their physiology that reflects their enjoyment (the unconditioned response). While that state is still increasing, you repeatedly anchor the experience by tapping your finger on the table (the conditioned stimulus). This is delayed conditioning (Gray, 2011).

Here are the basic steps for creating an anchor.

  1. Choose a response that you want to anchor.
  2. Choose a neutral stimulus that you will associate to that response (for most circumstances choose one that has no existing meanings that you are aware of). This might be a gesture, a word, a touch or moving something. It could be a specific scribble on a piece of paper. Make sure that it is repeatable.
  3. Guide the conversation so that the positive response that you have chosen arises.
  4. Calibrate, watch for changes in the person’s face, posture, color, speech tonality, pace and breathing that tell you that their state has changed.
  5. As you observe those changes intensifying, make the gesture, movement, sound or touch in a way that is repeatable.
  6. Allow the conversation to drift to another topic and the speaker’s physiology to change from the target state.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 until you discover that making the gesture, movement, sound or touch enhances the state as evidenced by your observations of the speaker’s physiology.
  8. Test the anchor by using it during a lull in the conversation or when it has turned to a neutral topic. You will know if you have succeeded if any or all of the following happen:
    1. The conversation reverts back to the positive topic.
    2. The client’s physiology changes to reflect the positive state.

Robert Dilts on Anchoring:

scholarly support

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The NLP Spelling Strategy

As was noted earlier, many of the standard NLP techniques are the result of modeling the skills exhibited by one person and using that model to teach others to do the same. Typically, the models are sequences of sensory information (what is seen, heard or felt) and the sub modality transformation that are applied to them. One of the simplest and most often used models is the NLP Spelling Strategy.

According to Bandler and Grinder (1979), one of the authors was asked to work with some learning disabled children. When he began the work, he noticed that when they were asked to spell a word, they looked from side to side–which indicated that they were trying to sound out the word. In contrast, they also noted that good spellers typically looked up and visualized the words that they were trying to spell. They observed that when good spellers saw a word, whether it was spelled correctly or was misspelled, they quickly looked down and to the right. This indicated that they checked whether the word they saw felt right internally. There was an emotional response; if the word was spelled correctly, it felt good. If the word was not spelled correctly, it felt bad. Among the poor spellers, they found that they either had no felt-check for correctness, or they judged correctness based on the sound of the word. In each case, the sequence of behaviors could be calibrated through eye movements and were confirmed by the children’s verbal reports.

Not long after these observations, the process continued with Dilts (1997) who reports that he developed the strategy more fully as he taught basic modeling in his NLP trainings. As an exercise, he would have good and poor spellers come up to the front of the class and asked the class to assist him to model their strategies. He reports that the good spellers consistently looked up and to the left as they searched for the correct spelling and then down and to the right for a felt test of whether the spelling felt right. He notes that when questioned, the spellers consistently reported that they saw the words and what they saw provoked either a positive or a negative feeling. Further questioning found that their confidence in the correctness of their spelling came with the clarity of the image of the word and the strength of the positive feeling.

Poor spellers, Dilts found, either had no consistent strategy or relied heavily on attempts to sound out the spelling based on the sound of the word. In all such cases the auditory spellers were consistently poor spellers and often suffered from frustration and failure.

Out of this beginning, further refinements were made. It was found that in every case, the good spellers had access to a distinct visual image of the word; the more clearly that they could see the word; the more confidently they could spell it. So, the first step in learning to spell was to find an example of a correctly spelled word and practice seeing it internally, until it was sharp and clear in mind—its sub modality structure. This led to the practice of looking at a word, turning the eyes upwards and to the left, visualizing it internally and then practicing reading it forwards and backwards. Success in reading the letters backwards confirmed the vividness of the visualization and also provided –through its novelty—a positive feeling about actually seeing the correct spelling.

In order to ensure that the kinesthetic check, observed both by Grinder and Bandler and by Dilts, was in place, Dilts suggested that after viewing the actual word—really looking at it—the speller access the experience of a time when they felt confident and sure about something that would never change. Having accessed that memory, as an associated visual experience, the speller was to imagine the new word, correctly spelled, in their favorite color, overlaid upon this scene. This would have the effect of associating that feeling of confidence with the imagined representation of the correctly spelled word. This takes advantage of associative conditioning, often called anchoring in NLP (Dilts, 1997, Dilts & Delozier, 2000; Dilts et al., 1980; Bandler & Grinder, 1979).

After several rounds of visualizing the word, the speller should then write down the word from memory and check it against the printed example. The check reinforces the visual learning pattern and helps to stabilize the imagined word in memory.

This technique has been subjected to controlled experimental evaluation by at least two investigators both of which are reported by Dilts and Delozier. One of the studies (Malloy, 1995) compared three groups of average spellers who were assigned to an NLP group, a phonics group (auditory strategy) and a control group that was given no instructions except that they were to learn to spell the words. All three groups were given a list of frequently misspelled words.

When tested for spelling accuracy, the NLP group showed a 25% increase in accuracy (against baseline), the phonics group improved by 15% and the control group showed no improvement. One week after training the NLP group had retained 100% of their gains, while the auditory group lost ground. By the second week retention scores for the auditory group had dropped by more than 5%. The differences in scores between the visualization group and the standard group were significant at the .05 level in the immediate test and at the .025 level at the two week test.

Robert Dilts on the NLP Spelling Strategy:

Robert Dilts on the Visual Spelling Strategy:

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The Compulsion Blowout

NLP is rooted in the insight that all of what we do and experience is driven by internal representations of the world around us, mapped out in terms of the data of vision, audition, hearing, smelling and tasting. Those data, as chains, become the schemas that drive behaviors and as internal responses to external stimuli they become the representations of states. (Andreas, 2007; Bandler & Grinder 1975, 1979; Bostic St. Clair & Grinder, 2002; Dilts, Bandler et al., 1980; Dilts & Delozier, 2000).


Beyond the simple chains of sensory experience that drive most behaviors, there is a vocabulary of submodalities, the details of sensory experience that represent how we feel about and evaluate the world around us. They determine meaning, including such dimensions as valence—approach/avoid, intensity, value as salience or importance, time relations and affective tone. All of the basic emotions are represented in terms of submodalities as are our responses to people, places and things. Significant among these are compulsions (Andreas, 2007; Andreas & Andreas, 1987; Bandler & MacDonald, 1987; Bandler, 1985, 1993; Bodenhammer & Hall, 1998; Dilts & Delozier, 2000; Gray, 2011a).

On a subjective level, compulsions are represented in the fine structure of perception: size, brightness, distance, volume, timbre, hue, saturation, movement, rhythm, warmth, etc. For each individual, the salience and desirability of any stimulus is marked out by submodality distinctions.

There are certain uniformities of representation that are general to people. Fuzzy and distant may give the illusion of temporal distance or unreality. Size and brightness and multi-dimensionality may give the impression of spiritual power. Glistening moistness with high foreground focus may signify desirability. Food and fashion stylists make their livings based on these kinds of generalities (Gray, 2011a).

Andreas tells us that when confronted with the cues that drive a compulsion, the person experiencing the compulsion may be very aware of the felt desire, and even somewhat aware of the cues that have awakened them. They are often, however, not aware of the submodality dimensions of the internal representations that arise in response to the cues and actually drive the craving and create the feeling of compulsion.

One important facet of the submodality structure of any behavior or object seems to be that their placement in a biological context, a hierarchy of needs and values, provides them with boundaries which, if violated, change their absolute value. There is a limit on most things but that limit is not accessible to consciousness, it is a process driven limit. This appears to be closely related to the classical theory of behavioral extinction (Gray & Liotta, 2012)

In his research on submodalities, Richard Bandler discovered a way to drive submodality distinctions to such a point of intensity where they violate some undefined ecological boundary and become subjectively meaningless. He called this technique the Compulsion Blowout (Andreas, 2007; Andreas & Andreas, 1987; Bandler & MacDonald, 1987; Bandler, 1985, 1993).

The technique begins with the detailed comparison of two comparable objects. One of them is the object of a compulsive desire the other is not. For example, someone might have a compelling need to eat potato chips but not French fries. Because they are similar on many levels, these would serve as good exemplars.

Before making the comparison, care should be taken to note the physiological changes that accompany the report of a felt compulsion. Standard NLP practice requires that verbal reports of an inner state be confirmed by observation of external physiology. Note what happens to breathing, posture, voice tone, muscular tension, etc. and notice how specifically it differs from the non-compelled state.

After identifying the objects, the submodality structure of each is described in detail and then compared. This calls for the examination of things such as where do I perceive each in space? How near or how far are they from me? To what level is each focused or unfocussed, bright or dim, accompanied by sound or silent? What physical qualities do they have? Are they rough or smooth, warm or cold? As all of these distinctions about the objects accumulate, they have the net effect of producing a feeling of compulsion towards one but not towards the other.

After all of the differences have been elicited, each of those dimensions (only the ones that are associated with the increased experience of compulsivity) is tested by increasing or decreasing it to determine whether it will create an increase in the experience of compulsion for the previously non-compelling object. As the list of differing submodalities is manipulated, there should be at least one that makes a much more profound change in the feeling than any of the others. This is called the driving submodality, because it drives the feeling of compulsion.

Andreas makes the distinction here between two varieties of driving submodality. One varies over an infinite range. He notes that size in the visual channel is capable of infinite variation along a continuum from barely perceptible to unimaginably huge. If the driving submodality is of this variety, one very rapid expansion of the dimension to unimaginably intense levels is usually sufficient to extinguish its power to evoke the feeling.

Some submodalities vary through discreet ranges that give them specific meanings. Outside of those ranges they may have no meaning. Visual distance, in calibrating the fear responses is one such distinction. At one distance the object is irrelevant, at another, it evokes freezing, somewhat closer and it evokes escape behaviors; closer still, and it awakens fighting.

In such cases, where meaning is delimited by a discreet range of submodality intensity, the submodality should be used to increase the feeling of compulsion rapidly and repeatedly, with very little time between trials. During the first several trials, the feeling of compulsion will increase but at some point, a subtle threshold is reached and the submodality will no longer awaken the compulsion. At the same time that the submodality ceases to work, the cue that originally awakened the compulsion will also stop working (Andreas, 2007)

The following outline is taken directly from Andreas (2007), Andreas, Steve; (2007 December). “Eliminating Unconscious Compulsions in Addictions” The Tenth International Congress on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Phoenix, AZ.



1. Elicitation and Comparison. Elicit an experience of compulsion and a very similar experience of not being compulsed. (For instance, vanilla ice cream causes a feeling of compulsion, but vanilla yogurt does not.) Notice the observable nonverbal changes in the client in response to the experience of compulsion, so that you can determine nonverbally when the compulsion is gone.

2. Submodality Differences. Think of these two experiences simultaneously, and determine all the differences between the two experiences. (For instance, the ice cream is closer than the yogurt.

3. Testing Submodality Differences. Take one difference at a time, and vary it though a range, and find out how it changes the feeling of compulsion. (For instance, vary the distance of the ice cream from near to far, and monitor the experience of compulsion, both internally and externally.)

4. Find a “Driver” Submodality. Determine which of the submodalities is most powerful in changing the compulsion.

5. Infinite or Finite Range. Notice if the driver submodality varies through an infinite range or a finite range. (For instance, size of image can vary from zero to infinity, but distance may only vary from 3 feet to close to the nose.

6. Increase the Compulsion Rapidly.

a. Infinite Range: Very rapidly increase the submodality to infinity (For instance, the size of the image of what compulses the client can be quickly increased to “larger than the size of the known universe.”)

b. Finite Range. Change the submodality rapidly through the finite ranges, and then repeats this over and over again, going in only one direction. For instance, the image is moved from 3 feet away to the tip of the nose, repeatedly, always starting at 3 feet—not yo-yoing back and forth.

With either method, you should first observe a rapid increase in the compulsion, and then a decrease.


Pause for a minute or so, and then ask the client to think of the experience that previously elicited the compulsion, to find out if it still does. If the compulsion is still present, back up, gather information and find out what was missed. If the compulsion is gone, test to find out if it can be recreated in another modality, and if so, repeat this process in that modality.

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Collapse Anchors

Collapsing anchors is one of the original techniques created by NLP founders Grinder and Bandler. Versions of it appear in Frogs into Princes (1979), Patterns in the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton Erickson, MD, Volume II (1976), Roots of NLP, NLP Volume One (1980 )and other foundational texts. Dilts and Delozier (2000) report a slight modification of the technique in their Encyclopedia.

The technique is recommended for cases where the triggering stimulus can be evoked in the imagination without the onset of severe traumatization. If the phobia cannot be accessed without a severe onset of panic, a modification of the technique or a different technique may be indicated.

In common use, the anchors here are touch-based anchors, although any kind of anchor that allows two separate anchors to be fired off simultaneously may be used. The basic technique begins by creating an anchor for the feelings associated with the phobic response or the original traumatizing event. Ensure that the client is reoriented to the present (breaking state); a separate anchor is created for a resource state. A resource can be the memory of any experience that would be sufficient in quality or intensity that had it been present during the traumatizing event, the problem response would not have been created. More generically, it might be a more powerful positive experience. It is important to note that the positive resource should either be relevant to the fear context or relatively free of content.

After both experiences are anchored so that they arise automatically at the presentation of the associated gesture, movement word or other conditioned stimulus, both anchors are fired-off simultaneously. This usually results in a state of physiological confusion in which elements of the two states arise simultaneously in facial and bodily reactions. It may provoke laughter or expressions of surprise. When those responses have quieted, the client is asked to re-access the problem state. If he cannot, the procedure is adjudged to have been successful.

If the client can access the phobic state, the presupposition is that the positive anchor may not have been appropriate to the problem, was associated with a significantly dissimilar context or was not sufficiently strong. The procedure is modified as necessary and repeated until after integration, the problem cannot be accessed.

In many cases the validity of the intervention is tested by actual exposure to the previously phobic stimulus.

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More Complex interventions

There are many more complex techniques that need to be added

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Core Transformations

The Core Transformation process was developed by Connirae Andreas after experiencing a dramatic change in a training session with Milton Erickson during 1979. Although the hypnotic intervention did not answer her question or solve her problem directly, it opened her to a level of deep resourcefulness that reframed her situation and inspired the technique. In the course of several years, integrating the NLP concept of parts and the presupposition that every behavior (and by extension every part) has a positive outcome, she began to seek deeper levels of positive intentionality in behavioral systems (Andreas, 2002). The process culminated in the book, Core Transformations (1994) which was co-written with her daughter, Tamara Andreas.

The process outlined there begins with the identification of problem behavior or state and the elicitation of its intended outcome. The outcome, whether good or bad, is then made the subject of the following question: If you had that fully and completely, what would you have now that is deeper, more meaningful and more satisfying than just that? How would that make you feel? The client is then given a moment to access the relevant feeling and to make a response. When the new felt sense or objective outcome has been identified and accessed, the question is repeated again. For each conceivable sequitur the question is repeated until the client can find no deeper feeling. At this point, the felt sense typically comes to rest in one of several oceanic feelings of spiritual well-being; states the authors refer to as Core States.

These Core States can serve two purposes. On one level, if the process begins with the exploration of an urge or impulse, the Core State can become linked to the stimulus that evokes the urge so that the urge now redirects the client to the Core State and the kinds of behaviors that will maintain it. The second purpose uses the technique to restructure conscious outcomes so that they are congruent with the deeper strata of consciousness. In so doing, they create the groundwork for transcendence, that ability to bypass temptations and distractions that draw seekers away from their path. Further, because they represent such a deep level of experience they have the capacity to marshal other outcomes and behaviors in their service (Andreas, C. & Andreas, T., 1994; Gray, 2008).

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VK/D—RTM—Fast Phobia cure in PTSD

Faced with the problem of treating multiple people with phobias, Bandler (1985) modeled a group of ex-phobics who had successfully overcome their problems. In almost every case, he found that those who had overcome their problem had learned to dissociate from the feared object. After learning that recovered phobics dissociated from the feared object, Bandler designed a set of procedures designed to change the perception of the object or situation. He began by having the client remember two neutral, safe places, one from before the event that created the phobia and another from a more recent time when she was undisturbed by the phobia (a neutral, non-phobic situation). He continued by confirming that the phobia was present by having the client imagine that object or situation just enough so that the therapist could observe changes in their physiology that signaled the onset of fear (increased breath and pulse rates, changes in posture and skin color, pupil dilation, lip moisture and tension, etc.). Having confirmed the onset of these symptoms, the therapist was to stop the response by changing the subject, distracting the patient or otherwise breaking the state.

Next, the client was to imagine that they were seated in a movie theater where a picture of the safe time before the onset of the phobia was projected on the screen. She would then imagine floating up out of her body and find herself in the projection booth—behind a thick Plexiglas window–watching herself down in the theatre, watching the movie. Once this multiply dissociated scenario was set up, the client was to observe herself down in the theater as she watched a movie of the initial experience of the phobia, played in black and white and played very fast on the movie screen. The movie was to begin with the safe image from before the onset of the phobia and end in the image of the safe, neutral image at the end of the movie. This was to be performed several times or until the client had no discomfort watching the movie. This would, inevitably, dissociate the client from the fearful image. To make sure, however, Bandler added another layer. Now, the client was to imagine floating out of the projection booth, and back into her own body. She was then to walk up to the screen, step into the safe image and run it very quickly, backwards , in full color with reversed sound as well. The reversed image was to end in the safe place before the phobic event took place. This reversed movie was to be repeated until there was no discomfort and the fast rewind could be completed with ease. When the procedure had been completed several times, the therapist was to do his best to evoke the phobic response. When he was unable to do so, the treatment was over. This procedure proved to be very effective and is reported to have removed phobias quickly and permanently.

In 1989 Andreas & Andreas reported using the technique with PTSD sufferers whose symptoms were characterized mainly by hypervigilance and the intrusive symptoms of nightmares and flashbacks. The procedure worked and since then has relieved many thousands of GIs, first responders and crime victims from their symptoms in a permanent, non-traumatizing manner.

Over the last several years, the technique, known variously as the VKD protocol, the rewind technique and the Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories Protocol (RTM) has received international attention in its capacity to quickly (often in under three hours)and permanently relieve the symptoms of simple (largely intrusive and hypervigilant) PTSD.

Current reports of its successful use with American GIs, victims of the Rwandan genocide and others have been reported in the Journal literature (Gray & Liotta, 2012; Guy & Guy, 2003; Hossack & Bentall, 1996; Utuza, Joseph, & Muss, 2011). Beyond published material, several universities are beginning programs of randomized controlled comparisons of the RTM protocol with other treatments. Most recently Gray and Liotta (2012) have proposed a testable neural mechanism that is supported by current research into changes in emotional memories and that matches the permanent changes observed with the technique.

scholarly support

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Theoretical Status

While there have been multiple attempts to shoehorn NLP into a theoretical model (Linder-Pelz & Hall, 2007; Wake; 2008), from the testimony of the original developers of the field and its earliest proponents, it becomes clear that it is an epistemology that gives rise to models of behavior. Those models and the techniques that arise from them are ultimately what is scientifically testable.

Moreover, because NLP draws from multiple traditions and disciplines (Neuroscience, cybernetics, linguistics, and psychology) it is implicitly trans-theoretical. That is, it has no theory per se, but extracts patterns and information from things that work which come from observations of individuals and patterns from other fields.

In the broad classification of science into large categories, we might consider the range as extending from those concerned with description and classification (the natural sciences), through the social sciences with both descriptive and experimental elements, through to the hard sciences Physics and Chemistry; if NLP were a science it would have more in common with biology and linguistics which concern themselves with observation, classification, modeling and the development of hypotheses based upon those models.

In the language of the philosophy of science and scientific methodology we might say that NLP is a grounded, ideographic approach to the description of behavior so that that behavior becomes replicable and (or) modifiable. It is the patterns and techniques that emerge from this process of discovery that give rise to testable hypotheses and it is those patterns and techniques that are subject to scientific evaluation.

One of the main conflicts between NLP and classical research is the assumption by classical research that every approach to human behavior has a theoretical base. Most of the studies of NLP, especially the negative studies, either assumed a theory where none existed (everyone has a preferred representational system (PRS) and habitually uses it) or misinterpreted the language used by NLP (NLP rapport skills are equivalent to hypnotic rapport, so the use of rapport skills should correlate with hypnotic depth scales). However, NLP, from its outset, has been atheoretical except for a very few assumptions (Einspruch & Forman, 1985; Sharpley, 1987).

A discussion of the competing theoretical models of NLP might be helpful

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Indirect Evidence for NLP Processes and Materials:

There is an abundance of support for NLP’s foundational assumptions, observations and techniques. Much of this evidence is provided indirectly in psychological and physiological research. A fairly complete review of that material is provided in chapter seven of Wake, Gray & Bourke (2012), The Clinical Effectiveness of NLP: Indirect Research into the Applications of Neurolinguistic Programming. A more complete listing of relevant support can be found at:

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Individualized NLP Developments:

A number of Master Practitioners, many of them like Steve Andreas, Robert Dilts, and Judith Delozier, were with the Founders while the materials were in their infancy. They have gone on and developed personalized techniques and training Institutes that build upon the original materials and include their own developments and refinements to the extent that they need to be reviewed in their own right.

Discussions of the different schools of NLP might be useful here.

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Mental Health




Personal Growth



Public Relations


Additions in these areas and more are sorely needed.


Links to articles and videos from reputable providers on the more important elements of the field; the more the merrier.

Steve Andreas’ Articles collection:

Richard Bolstad’s NLP articles:

Andy Bradbury’s book reviews and on ongoing efforts to stand up to the pseudo skeptics:

The Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding:

L. Michael Hall’s Articles on NLP:

Nick Kemp’s collection of NLP interviews and materials:

The Clean Language Collection of articles on Classical NLP:



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These references should be limited to those used in the main articles. If you cite a source that is not here, please provide the citation for addition here.

Andreas, C. & Andreas S. (1987). Change Your Mind and Keep the Change. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Andreas, C. & Andreas S. (1989). Heart of the Mind. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Andreas, C. & Andreas, T. (1994). Core Transformations. Moab, Utah: Real People Press.

Andreas, C. (2002). The Core Transformation Story: How the process came to be; Acknowledgements and History. Retrieved from

Andreas, S. (1999). The Kinesthetic (and Auditory) Swish. Retrieved from

Andreas, S. (2003). [Review of the book : “Whispering in the Winds” by Carmen Bostic-St. Clair and John Grinder].

Andreas, S. (2007, December). “Eliminating Unconscious Compulsions in Addictions” The Tenth International Congress on Ericksonian Approaches to Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Phoenix, AZ.

Asbell, H. C. (1983). Effects of reflection, probe, and predicate matching on perceived counselor characteristics (psychotherapy, interpersonal attraction, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)) (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Missouri at Kansas City, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(11), 3515.; Retrieved from

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Bandler, R. & Grinder, J. (1975).) The Structure of Magic I. Cupertino, Calif.: Science and Behavior Books.

Bandler, R. & Grinder, J. (1975b). Patterns in the Hypnotic Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, MD, Volume 1. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications.

Bandler, R. & Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Bandler, R. & MacDonald, W. (1987). An insider’s guide to submodalities. Moab, UT. : Real People Press

Bandler, Richard. (1985). Using Your Brain for a Change. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Bandler, Richard. (1993). Time for a Change. Capitola, CA: Meta Publications.

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Bodenhammer, Bob G. & Hall, L. Michael. (1997). Figuring Out People – Design Engineering with Meta-Programs. Williston, VT: Crown House Publishing.

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Bouton, M. E. (1994). “Conditioning, Remembering, and Forgetting.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 20(3): 219-231.

Bouton, Mark E (Sep-Oct 2004). Context and behavioral processes in extinction. Learning and Memory, 11(5), 485-494. Retrieved July 7, 2007, from

Brockman, William P. (1980). Empathy revisited: the effects of representational system matching on certain counseling process and outcome variables. (Doctoral Dissertation, College of William and Mary, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(8), 3421. Retrieved November 24, 2006 from

Chambers, R. A., W. K. Bickel, et al. (2007). “A scale-free systems theory of motivation and addiction.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 31(7): 1017-1045.

Charvet Shelle Rose. (1997). Words That Change Minds: Mastering the Language of Influence. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

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Chomsky, Noam (1972). Language and Mind. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Chomsky, Noam (1986). Knowledge of Language. New York: Praeger.

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Damasio, A. R. (1989). Time-locked multiregional retroactivation: A systems-level proposal for the neural substrates of recall and recognition. Cognition, 33, 25–62.

Day, R. C. G. (1985). Students’ perceptions of Neurolinguistic Programming strategies (counseling, communication, clients, therapy) (Doctoral Dissertation, Florida State University, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 46(4), 1333. Retrieved from

Delozier, J., & Grinder, J. (1987). Turtles All The Way Down: Prerequisites for Personal Genius. Santa Cruz, CA: Grinder, Delozier and Associates.

Diamond, D., Campbell, A., Park, C., Halonen, J., & Zoladz, P. (2007). The temporal dynamics model of emotional memory processing: A synthesis on the neurobiological basis of stress-induced amnesia, flashbulb and traumatic memories, and the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Neural Plasticity, 2007, 1-33. doi:10.1155/2007/60803.

Dilts, R. & Delozier, J. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding. Scotts Valley, CA: NLP University Press. Retrieved at

Dilts, R. (1983). Roots of NLP. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications.

Dilts, R. (1995). Strategies of Genius. Cupertino CA: Meta Publications.

Dilts, Robert. (1990). Changing Belief Systems with NLP. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications.

Dilts, R., Grinder, J., Bandler, R., & Delozier, J. (1980). Neuro Linguistic Programming: Volume I. The Structure of Subjective Experience. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications.

Domjian, M. (2005). Pavlovian Conditioning: A Functional Perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 56(1), 179-206. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141409

Ehrmantraut, J. E., Jr. (1983). A comparison of the therapeutic relationships of counseling students trained in Neurolinguistic Programming vs. students trained on the Carkhuff Model. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(10), 3191-B.

Einspruch, E. L., & Forman, B. D. (1985). Observations concerning research literature on neurolinguistic programming. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32, 589-596.

Ekman, P. (1997). Lying and Deception. In Nancy Stein, Peter Ornstein, Barbara Tversky & Charles Brainerd, Memory for everyday and emotional events (pp. 333-347). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Erickson, M. H. (1954). “Pseudo-Orientation in Time as an Hypno-therapeutic Procedure.” Journal of Clinical Experimental Hypnosis, 261-283. In Milton Erickson & E. L. Rossi (Ed.) The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis: vol. IV. Innovative Hypnotherapy. NY: Irvington. 1980.

Feil, J,, Sheppard, D., Fitzgerald, P. B., Yücelc M., Lubman, D. I., & Bradshaw, J. L. (2010).Addiction, compulsive drug seeking, and the role of frontostriatal mechanisms in regulating inhibitory control. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 35 248–275.

Frieden, Fredrick P. (2006) Speaking the client’s language: the effects of Neurolinguistic Programming (predicate matching) on verbal and nonverbal behaviors in psychotherapy. A single case design (Doctoral Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1981). Dissertation Abstracts International, 42(3), 1171-B. Retrieved November 24, 2006 from

Gallese, V., C. Kaysers, et al. (2004). “A Unifying View of the Basis of Social Cognition.” Trends in Cognitive Science 8(9): 396-403.

Glezer, L.S., Jiang, X., & Reisenhuber, M. (2009). Evidence for Highly Selective Neuronal Tuning to Whole Words in the ”Visual Word Form Area.” Neuron 62, 199–204, April 30, 2009.

Gray, R. M. (1996). Archetypal Explorations. London: Routledge.

Gray, R. M. (2008). About Addictions: Notes from Psychology, Neuroscience and NLP.

Gray, R. M. (2011). Anchoring and Classical Conditioning. Acuity, 2(2).

Gray, R. M. (2011a). Interviewing and counseling skills: An NLP perspective. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press.

Gray, R. M. and R. F. Liotta (2012). “PTSD: Extinction, Reconsolidation, and the Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation Protocol” Traumatology 18(2): 3-16.

Gray, R., Liotta, R., Wake, L. & Cheal, J. (2012). Research and the History of Methodological Flaws. In Lisa Wake, Richard Gray & Frank Bourke (Eds.), The Clinical Efficacy of NLP: A critical appraisal (194-216). London, Routledge.

Green, Margaret A. (1979). Trust as effected by representational system predicates (Doctoral Dissertation, Ball State University, 1979). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(8) 3159-B. Retrieved November 24, 2006 from

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Hall, L. M. (1996). Meta-States: A domain of logical levels. Grand Junction, CO: Empowerment Technologies.


Hammer, A. L. (1980). Language as a therapeutic tool: the effects on the relationship of listeners responding to speakers by using perceptual predicates (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (3), 991-A 149.

Hammer, A. L. (1983). Matching perceptual predicates: Effect on perceived empathy in a counseling analogue. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30(2), 172-179. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.30.2.172

Hogue, J. (2010). NLP Meta programs.

Hossack, A. and R. P. Bentall (1996). “Elimination of posttraumatic symptomatology by relaxation and visual-kinesthetic dissociation.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 9(1): 99-110.

IASH & Delozier, J. (2006). An Interview with our Keynote Speaker [Interview Transcript]. Retrieved from IASH 2006 Conference Web site: Site/Presentations/DelozierJudith.htm

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Kanwisher, N. (2010). “Functional specificity in the human brain: A window into the functional architecture of the mind.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(25): 11163-11170.

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Korzybski, A. (1994). Science & sanity (5th Ed.). European Society for General Semantics. Retrieved from

Lewis, Byron and Pucelik, Frank. (1990). Magic of NLP Demystified. Portland, OR: Metamorphous Press.

Linden, A. & Perutz, K. (1998). Mindworks: NLP tools for building a better life. NY: Berkley Publishing Group.

Linder-Pelz, S. & Hall, L.M. (2007). The theoretical roots of NLP-based coaching. The Coaching Psychologist, 3(1), 12–15.

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Pantin, H. M. (1982). The relationship between subjects’ predominant sensory predicate use, their preferred representational system and self-reported attitudes towards similar versus different therapist-patient dyads (Doctoral Dissertation University of Miami, 1982). Dissertation Abstracts International, 43(7), 2350-B. Retrieved from

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Sandhu, Daya S. (1984). The effects of mirroring vs. non-mirroring of clients’ nonverbal behavior on empathy, trustworthiness, and positive interaction in cross-cultural counseling dyads. Dissertation Abstracts International 45(4), p. 1042.

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These are taken from the research information document at to make additions here, please provide the citation and abstract and when possible, the article and the information will evaluated for addition to both documents.

Please note that the following materials do not constitute proof of either NLP or its principle insights. They are studies of NLP claims or parallel findings that do not test NLP but support what appear to be similar observations.

Supportive References for the Presuppositions

Presuppositions Map/ territory Loftus, E. F., & Yuille, J. C. (1984). Departures from reality in human perception and memory. In H. Weingartner & E. S. Parker (Eds.), Memory Consolidation: Psychobiology of Cognition (pp. 163-184). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kroes, M.C.W., Fernández, G. (2012). Dynamic neural systems enable adaptive, flexible memories. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev., doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.02.014
Loftus, E. F. and J. C. Palmer (1974). “Reconstruction of automobile destruction: An example of the interaction between language and memory.” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 13(5): 585-589.
Dutton, D.G., and Aron, A.P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30 (4), 510-517.
Schachter, S. and Singer, J. E. (1962). Cognitive, Social, and Psychological Determinants of Emotional States. Psychological Review, 69, 379-399.
Positive intent
Resources/ Mood Effects Gillihan, S. J., J. Kessler, et al. (2007). “Memories affect mood: Evidence from covert experimental assignment to positive, neutral, and negative memory recall.” Acta Psychologica 125(2): 144-154.
Gendolla, G. H. E. and K. Brinkmann (2005). “The Role of Mood States in Self-Regulation: Effects on Action Preferences and Resource Mobilization.” European Psychologist 10(3): 187-198.
Holland, A. C. and E. A. Kensinger (2010). “Emotion and autobiographical memory.” Physics of Life Reviews 7(1): 88-131.
Kenworthy, J. B., C. J. Canales, et al. (2003). “Negative incidental affect and mood congruency in crossed categorization.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 39(3): 195-219.
Lewis, P. A., H. D. Critchley, et al. (2005). “Brain mechanisms for mood congruent memory facilitation.” NeuroImage 25(4): 1214-1223.
Matt, G. E., C. Vázquez, et al. (1992). “Mood-congruent recall of affectively toned stimuli: A meta-analytic review.” Clinical Psychology Review 12(2): 227-255.
Ramel, W., P. R. Goldin, et al. (2007). “Amygdala Reactivity and Mood-Congruent Memory in Individuals at Risk for Depressive Relapse.” Biological Psychiatry 61(2): 231-239.
van Wingen, G. A., P. van Eijndhoven, et al. (2010). “Neural state and trait bases of mood-incongruent memory formation and retrieval in first-episode major depression.” Journal of Psychiatric Research 44(8): 527-534.
Dutton, D.G., and Aron, A.P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30 (4), 510-517.
Schachter, S. and Singer, J. E. (1962). Cognitive, Social, and Psychological Determinants of Emotional States. Psychological Review, 69, 379-399.
Duncan, S. and Barrett, L. F. (2007). “Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis.” Cognition & Emotion 21(6): 1184-1211.
Bargh, J. A., M. Chen, et al. (1996). “Automaticity of social behavior: Direct effects of trait construct and stereotype activation on action.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 71(2): 230-244.
Selcuk, E., V. Zayas, et al. (2012). “Mental representations of attachment figures facilitate recovery following upsetting autobiographical memory recall.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 103(2): 362-378.


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Supportive References For the Meta Model

Meta Model Macroy, T.D. (1978) Linguistic surface structures in family interaction in Dissertation Abstracts International, 40 (2) 926-B, Utah State University, 133 pp., Order = 7917967,
Moines, D. (1981) A psycholinguistic study of the patterns of persuasion used by successful salespeople in Dissertation Abstracts International, 42 (5), 2135-B, University of Oregon, 271pp, Order = 8123499
Rudolph, U. (1997). “Implicit verb causality: Verbal schemas and covariation information.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16(2): 132-158.
Vander Zyl, Eldon Lee: The effects of meta-model questioning and empathetic responding on concreteness in client statements and client ratings of anxiety and counselor attractiveness, expertness, and trustworthiness. Dissertation Abstracts International 44(12), 3600-A 3601-A Iowa State University, 117 pp. Order = DA8407xxx, 1983.


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Supportive References for Submodalities

Submodalities Visual Size Codispoti, M., & De Cesarei, A. (2007). Arousal and attention: Picture size and emotional reactions. Psychophysiology, 44, 680–686.
De Cesarei, A., & Codispoti, M. (2006). When does size not matter? Effects of stimulus size on affective modulation. Psychophysiology, 43,207–215.
Size change De Cesarei, A. and M. Codispoti (2010). “Effects of Picture Size Reduction and Blurring on Emotional Engagement.” PLoS ONE 5(10): e13399.
Complexity Bell, A. H., Meredith, M. A., Van Opstal, A. J., & Munoz, D. P. (2005). Crossmodal Integration in the Primate Superior Colliculus Underlying the Preparation and Initiation of Saccadic Eye Movements. Journal of Neurophysiology, 93(6), 3659-3673. doi: 10.1152/jn.01214.2004
Kringelbach, M. (2005). The human orbitofrontal cortex: Linking reward to hedonic experience. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience, 6(September 2005), 691.
Serences, J. T. (2008). “Value-Based Modulations in Human Visual Cortex.” Neuron 60(6): 1169-1181.
Motion Simons, R. F., Detenber, B. H., Reiss, J. E., & Shults, C. W. (2000). Image motion and context: A between- and within-subjects comparison. Psychophysiology, 37, 706–710.
Simons, R. F., Detenber, B. H., Roedema, T. M., & Reiss, J. E. (1999).Emotion processing in three systems: The medium and the message. Psychophysiology, 36, 619–627.
B. H. Detenber, R. F. Simons and G. G. Bennett, Jr. (1998), Roll’em!: The Effects of Picture Motion on Emotional Responses. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic media, 42,113 – 127.
Distance Blanchard, R. J., D. C. Blanchard, T. Takahashi, and M. Kelley. (1977). Attack and defensive behavior in the albino rat. Animal Behaviour 25: 622-634.
Liberman, N. and J. Förster (2008). “Expectancy, value and psychological distance: A new look at goal gradients.” Social Cognition 26(5): 515-533.
Dimension Moore, B, Mischel, W, & Zeiss, A Comparative effects of the reward stimulus and its cognitive representation in voluntary delay Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,1976, 34, 419-424
Focus/ Detail De Cesarei A. & Codispoti M. (2008). Fuzzy Picture Processing: Effects of Size Reduction and Blurring on Emotional Processing. Emotion Vol. 8, No. 3, June 2008, Pages 352-363.
De Cesarei, A. and M. Codispoti (2010). “Effects of Picture Size Reduction and Blurring on Emotional Engagement.” PLoS ONE 5(10): e13399.
Submodalities Auditory
timbre Strait, D. L., K. Chan, et al. (2012). “Specialization among the specialized: Auditory brainstem function is tuned in to timbre.” Cortex: A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior 48(3): 360-362.
Mixed Jee, E.-S., Y.-J. Jeong, et al. (2010). “Sound design for emotion and intention expression of socially interactive robots.” Intelligent Service Robotics 3(3): 199-206.
Eitan, Z. and I. Rothschild (2011). “How music touches: Musical parameters and listeners’ audio-tactile metaphorical mappings.” Psychology of Music 39(4): 449-467.
Pitch Stel, M., E. v. Dijk, et al. (2012). “Lowering the Pitch of Your Voice Makes You Feel More Powerful and Think More Abstractly.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 3(4): 497-502.
Submodalities Kinesthetic Temperature Williams, L. & Bargh, J. (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science, 322, 606-607.

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Supportive References for Eye Accessing Cues

Eye Acces.Cues Visual Buckner, M., N., M., Reese, E., & Reese, M. (1987). Eye Movements as an Indicator of Sensory Components in Thought. Journal of Counseling Psychology 34(3), 283-287.
Sharot, T., Davidson, M.L, Carson, M.M., Phelps, E.A. (2008). Eye Movements Predict Recollective Experience. PLoS ONE. 3(8), e2884
Audit. Buckner, M., N., M., Reese, E., & Reese, M. (1987). Eye Movements as an Indicator of Sensory Components in Thought. Journal of Counseling Psychology 34(3), 283-287.
Contextual Graunke, B., & Roberts, T. K. (1985). Neurolinguistic programming: The impact of imagery tasks on sensory predicate usage. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32(4), 525-530. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.32.4.525
Graunke, Bruce R.: An evaluation of Neurolinguistic Programming: the impact of varied imaging tasks upon sensory predicates. Dissertation Abstracts International 46(6) University of Houston, 1984, 226 pp. Pub. = AAC8420009.
Hammer, A. L. (1980). Language as a therapeutic tool: the effects on the relationship of listeners responding to speakers by using perceptual predicates (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (3), 991-A 149.
Left Right Distinctions Ouellet, M., Santiago, J., Funes, M. J., & Lupiáñez, J. (2010). Thinking About the Future Moves Attention to the Right. [doi: 10.1037/a0017176]. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(1), 17-24.
Santiago, J., Román, A., Ouellet, M., Rodríguez, N., & Pérez-Azor, P. (2010). In hindsight, life flows from left to right. Psychological Research/Psychologische Forschung, 74(1), 59-70. doi: 10.1007/s00426-008-0220-0
Tversky, B., Kugelmass, S., & Winter, A. (1991). Cross-cultural and developmental trends in graphic productions. Cognitive Psychology, 23(4), 515-557. doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(91)90005-9
Weger, U. W., & Pratt, J. (2008). Time flies like an arrow: Space-time compatibility effects suggest the use of a mental timeline. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15(2), 426-430. doi: 10.3758/pbr.15.2.426
Synesthesia Spector, F. & Maurer, D. (2009). Synesthesia: A New Approach to Understanding the Development of Perception. Developmental Psychology, 45(1), 175-189.



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Supportive References for MetaPrograms


Meta Programs Towards/Away Schreiber, D., G. Fonzo, et al. (2013). “Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans.” PLoS ONE 8(2): e52970.


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Supportive References for Perceptual Positions

Perceptual Position First Position Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2011). Making meaning out of negative experiences by self-distancing. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(3), 187-191. doi: 10.1177/0963721411408883
Second Position Petitmengin, C. (2006). “Describing one’s subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for the science of consciousness.” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5(3-4): 229-269.
Third Position Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2011)



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Well-Formed Outcomes1

At their most basic level, the NLP well formedness conditions for any given outcome specify that:

    1. The outcome must be stated as a positive thing or experience; something wanted, not something unwanted or ended.


    1. The outcome must be something that is under the goal seeker’s personal control which also implies that the task should not be stated too broadly.


    1. The outcome must be specified in terms of multiple levels of sensory experience; it must be described in terms of what can be seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelled.


    1. The outcome should be evaluated for ecology; what it will change in the person’s life and the lives around them?


  1. The outcome should be imagined and experienced in fantasy as fully as possible (Andreas and Andreas, 1989; Bodenhamer and Hall, 1988; Cade and O’Hanlon, 1993; Dilts, Delozier & Delozier, 2000; Linden & Perutz, 1998).

For the most part, these characteristics are typical of deep, intrinsic motivations. Intrinsic motivations are desired for their own sake. They are meaningful to the individual independent of external pressures or rewards. They are contrasted with extrinsic motivators which include things like money, sex, power, fame and popularity: stuff. Extrinsic motivators are well known for their capacity to sometimes weaken intrinsic motivations. When, however, they are simply the fruit of a deeply held personal direction or outcome, they present no such problem (Deci and Ryan, 2008; Hullerman et al., 2008).

Intrinsic motivators are desired positively (Deci and Ryan, 2008; Gray, 2005, 2008). They are characterized by choice and personal autonomy; they often include strong self-efficacy beliefs (Baumeister and Heatherton, 1996; Deci & Ryan 2008; Hullerman et al., 2008; Koestner, 2008; Nootz, 1975). Because they are often rooted in previous or vicarious experiences, they can be specified in sensory terms (often with special emphasis on kinesthetic elements—this is how I will feel) (Baumeister and Heatherton, 1996).

Well-formed outcomes can be powerfully motivating and have the benefit that they are often self-correcting.

Gray (2008) reports that during 1992, he was teaching psychology at a local Community College. As part of a lesson on motivation, he asked students to apply NLP well-formedness criteria to outcomes that they had already set for themselves. An important facet of the exercise was the imaginal experience of the anticipated outcome. That is, after specifying a positive outcome, after determining that the outcome was under their personal control and specifying several means by which the student would know that they had attained the desired state or position, they were asked to imagine stepping into the end state and trying it on.

On this occasion there was a young woman in the class who had been working towards a degree in nursing. She had just begun the program and had no idea of what it was that a nurse actually did. When she tried on the imagined experience of the day-to-day realities of nursing, she came rather quickly to the realization that it was not something that she wanted to do. She changed her major soon thereafter (Gray, 2008).

The imposition of well formedness conditions can often be used to differentiate between extrinsic outcomes with relatively superficial motivations and intrinsic motivations which provide stronger sensory and motivational cues. Conversely, well-formedness conditions can also be used to provide long term motivations for outcomes that, though necessary to the individual in their immediate social context, may be relatively meaningless in terms of personal development. When an outcome is coded as important or valuable using the well-formedness conditions, it is treated as an intrinsic motivator and may sustain behaviors over years or decades even if they are relatively superficial. As a result we have the condition where a person completes a productive career, raises a family and at the end of it awakens to discover that their life has been relatively meaningless. Mid-life crises may be understood as the result of awakening from a life motivated by social obligations that were not part of the individual’s core identity or life calling. They were, however, coded as intrinsically meaningful as long as the appropriate context held.

The most powerful motivators may be those related to an individual’s calling or life purpose. The idea is explained in Jungian terms by James Hillman in The Soul’s Code (Hillman, 1996). There, he points to the Jungian concept of individuation or growth into conscious development of one’s full genetic potential. In NLP terms it might be understood as learning how to cooperate fully with the deep positive intentions of the unconscious and the path that opens up to us when we do. A near identical idea is Maslow’s idea of self-actualization. Here the motivational path is described in the familiar phrase, ‘What a man can be, he must be’ (Maslow, 1943, p. 382).

Maslow indicated that when every deficiency need is met there remains a positive need for growth into something more. This describes a path which, if not immediately compelling, is at least persistent and draws the individual to reach out beyond their current circumstances and capacities to find deeper meaning and fulfillment. He says:

It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming (Maslow, 1943, p. 382).

Here is a step-by-step procedure, provided by Tim Hallbom (


  1. What do you want?
    This should be:

    • Stated in the positive (what you do want, not what you don’t want)
        • Can it be initiated by you?


        • Can it be controlled by you?


    • Is it a large global outcome or is it of manageable chunk size? Chunk down into smaller outcomes if necessary.
  2. How will you know when you’ve got it?
    (Evidence procedure)
  3. Is the evidence described in sensory based terms?
    (see, hear, feel, smell, taste)

      • Where, When and With Whom Do You Want It? (context)


      • What are the positive and negative consequences of getting your outcome?


      • What resources do you need to get your outcome? (Information, attitude, internal state, training, money; help or support from others, etc.)


      • What are you already doing to begin to achieve your outcome?


      • What will having that outcome get for you? (Determine the intention beyond the specific outcome)


      • What will having that outcome get for you? (Determine the intention beyond the specific outcome)


      • Is the first step to achieving your outcome specific and achievable?


      • Is there more than one way to get your outcome?


      • What time-frames are involved?


      • What stops you from having your outcome now?


  4. Imagine stepping into the future and having your outcome fully. Look back and determine what steps were required to achieve the outcome now that you have it. (”AS-IF Frame”)

1Adapted from Gray, R. (2008). NLP and Levels of Motivation. Suppose, the Official CANLP/ACPNL Bilingual Newsletter. Fall 2008, pp. 20-24.



Andreas, C., & Andreas, S. (1989). Heart of the Mind. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Baumeister, R. F., & Heatherton, T. F. (1996). Self-Regulation Failure: An overview. Psychological Inquiry, 7(1), 1-15.

Bodenhammer, B. G., & Hall, L. M. (1998). The User’s Manual for the Brain: The Complete Manual for Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner

Certification. Institute of Neuro Semantics.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Facilitating Optimal Motivation and Psychological Well-Being Across Life’s Domains. Canadian Psychology, 49(1), 14–23.

Dilts, R., Hallbom, T., & Smith, S. (2012) Beliefs (Second Edition) – Pathways to Health and Well-Being. Wales: Crown House Publishing.

Dilts, R., & Delozier, J. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Systemic Neuro-Linguistic Programming and NLP New Coding. Scotts Valley, CA: NLP University Press. Retrieved at

Dilts, R., Delozier, J., Bandler, R., & Grinder, J. (1980). NLP, vol.1. Capitola, CA: Meta Publications.

Gray, R. M. (2005). Thinking About Drugs and Addiction. Boulder CO: NLP Comprehensive.

Gray, R. M. (2006). About Addictions: Notes from Psychology, Neuroscience and NLP. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press.

Hillman, J. (1996). The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling. NY: Random House.

Hulleman, C. S., Durik, A. M., Schweigert, S. A., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2008).Task Values, Achievement Goals, and Interest: An Integrative Analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 398–416. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.100.2.398

Koestner, R. (2008). Reaching One’s Personal Goals: A Motivational Perspective Focused on Autonomy. Canadian Psychology, 49(1), 60-67.

Linden, A., & Perutz, K. (1998). Mindworks: NLP Tools for Building a Better Life. NY: Berkley Publishing Group.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review, 50:370-96

Notz, W. W. (1975). Work Motivation and the Negative Effects of Extrinsic Rewards. American Psychologist (September 1975), 884-891

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Supportive References for Sensory Acuity & Physiology

Sensory Acuity Wallbott, H. G. (1991). “Recognition of emotion from facial expression via imitation? Some indirect evidence for an old theory.” British Journal of Social Psychology 30(3): 207-219.
Observer state Neidenthal, P. M., M. Brauer, et al. (2001). “When did her smile drop? Facial mimicry and the influences of emotional state on the detection of change in emotional expression.” Cognition and Emotion 15(6): 853-864.
Niedenthal, P. M., P. Winkielman, et al. (2009). “Embodiment of emotion concepts.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96(6): 1120-1136.
Huang, L. and A. D. Galinsky (2011). “Mind–Body Dissonance: Conflict Between the Senses Expands the Mind’s Horizons.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 2(4): 351-359.
Serences, J. T. (2008). “Value-Based Modulations in Human Visual Cortex.” Neuron 60(6): 1169-1181.
expectation Riskind, J. H. and C. C. Gotay (1982). “Physical posture: Could it have regulatory or feedback effects on motivation and emotion?” Motivation and Emotion 6(3): 273-298.
Lying Ekman, P. (1997). Lying and Deception. In Nancy Stein, Peter Ornstein, Barbara Tversky & Charles Brainerd, Memory for everyday and emotional events (pp 333-347). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
DePaulo, B. M., Lindsay, J. J., Malone, B. E., Muhlenbruck, L., Charlton, K., & Cooper, H. (2003). Cues to deception. Psychological Bulletin, 129(1), 74-118.
Ekman, P. (1997). Lying and Deception. In Nancy Stein, Peter Ornstein, Barbara Tversky & Charles Brainerd, Memory for everyday and emotional events (pp. 333-347).Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ekman, P. & Frank, M. (1993). Lies that Fail. In M. Lewis & C. Sarni (Eds.) Lying and deception in everyday life (pp. 184-200). New York: Guilford Press.
Ekman, P. & Friesen, W. (1972) Hand Movements. The Journal of Communication, 22(December 1972), 353-374
Ekman, P., & O’Sullivan, M. (1991). Who can catch a liar? American Psychologist, 46(9), 913-920.
Ekman, P., Friesen, W. V., & O’Sullivan, M. (1988). Smiles when lying. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(3), 414-420.
Goleman, Daniel. (2003). Destructive Emotions: How Can We Overcome Them? New York: Bantam Books.
Gray, Richard M. (2011) Lies, Liars, and Lie Detection. Federal Probation Quarterly, 75(3), 31-36.
Porter, S., & ten Brinke, L. (2008). Reading Between the Lies: Identifying Concealed and Falsified Emotions in Universal Facial Expressions. Psychological Science, 19(5), 508-514.
Sporer, S. L., & Schwandt, B. (2007). Moderators of nonverbal indicators of deception: A meta-analytic synthesis. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 13(1), 1-34.
ten Brinke, L. & Porter, S. (2009). Discovering deceit: Applying laboratory and field research in the search for truthful and deceptive behavior. In Cooper, B. (Ed.) Applied issues in investigative interviewing, eyewitness memory, and credibility assessment.
Vrij, A., & Mann, S. (2004). Detecting deception: The benefit of looking at a combination of behavioral, auditory and speech content related cues in a systematic fashion. Group Decision and Negotiation, 13(1), 61-78.
Vrij, A., Edward, K., Roberts, K. P., & Bull, R. (2000). Detecting deceit via analysis of verbal and nonverbal behavior. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 24(4), 239-263.
Vrij, A., Evans, H., Akehurst, L., & Mann, S. (2004). Rapid Judgments in Assessing Verbal and Nonverbal Cues: Their Potential for Deception Researchers and Lie Detection. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 18(3), 283-296.
Acting As if Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J. C., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. Psychological Science, 21(10), 1363-1368.
Niedenthal, P. M., Barsalou, L. W., Winkielman, P., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2005). Embodiment in attitudes, social perception, and emotion. Personality And Social Psychology Review: An Official Journal Of The Society For Personality And Social Psychology, Inc., 9(3), 184-211.
Riskind, J. H. and C. C. Gotay (1982). “Physical posture: Could it have regulatory or feedback effects on motivation and emotion?” Motivation and Emotion 6(3): 273-298.
Laird, J. D., J. J. Wagener, et al. (1982). “Remembering what you feel: Effects of emotion on memory.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42(4): 646-657.
Carney, D. R., A. J. C. Cuddy, et al. (2010). “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance.” Psychological Science 21(10): 1363-1368.



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Supportive References for Rapport


Measure DependentSupportBrockman, W. P. (1980). Empathy revisited: the effects of representational system matching on certain counseling process and outcome variables. (Doctoral Dissertation, College of William and Mary, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(8), 3421. Retrieved November 24, 2006 from =res_entries Ehrmantraut, J. E., Jr. (1983) A comparison of the therapeutic relationships of counseling students trained in Neurolinguistic Programming vs. students trained on the Carkhuff Model. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(10), 3191-B. Schmedlen, G. W. (1981). The impact of sensory modality matching on the establishment of rapport in psychotherapy (Doctoral Dissertation, Kent State University, 1981). Dissertation Abstracts International, 42(5), 2080-B Predicate matchingAsbell, H. C. (1983). Effects of reflection, probe, and predicate matching on perceived counselor characteristics (psychotherapy, interpersonal attraction, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)) (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Missouri at Kansas City, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(11), 3515. Retrieved from Brockman, W. P. (1980). Empathy revisited: the effects of representational system matching on certain counseling process and outcome variables. (Doctoral Dissertation, College of William and Mary, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(8), 3421. Retrieved from Day, R. C. G. (1985). Students’ perceptions of Neurolinguistic Programming strategies (counseling, communication, clients, therapy) (Doctoral Dissertation, Florida State University, 1985). Dissertation Abstracts International, 46(4), 1333. Retrieved from Ehrmantraut, J. E., Jr. (1983) A comparison of the therapeutic relationships of counseling students trained in Neurolinguistic Programming vs. students trained on the Carkhuff Model. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 1983). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(10), 3191-B. Retrieved from Falzett, William C., Jr. (1979) Matched versus unmatched primary representational systems relationship to perceived trustworthiness in a counseling analogue. Dissertation Abstracts International 41(1), 105-A Marquette University, 100 pp. Order = 8105176; Text can also be found in: Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1981, 28(4), Frieden, Fredrick P. (2006) Speaking the client’s language: the effects of Neurolinguistic Programming (predicate matching) on verbal and nonverbal behaviors in psychotherapy. A single case design (Doctoral Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1981). Dissertation Abstracts International, 42(3), 1171-B. Retrieved November 24, 2006 from Green, M. A. (1979). Trust as effected by representational system predicates (Doctoral Dissertation, Ball State University, 1979). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(8) 3159-B. Retrieved from Hammer, A. L. (1980). Language as a therapeutic tool: the effects on the relationship of listeners responding to speakers by using perceptual predicates (Doctoral Dissertation, Michigan State University, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (3), 991-A 149. Retrieved from Hammer, A. L. (1983). Matching perceptual predicates: Effect on perceived empathy in a counseling analogue. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30(2), 172-179. doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.30.2.172 Hillin, H. H., Jr. (1982). Effects of a rapport method & chemical dependency workshop for adults employed in Kansas service agencies. Dissertation Abstracts International 44(12), 3574-A Kansas State University, 135 pp. Order = DA840761x, 1982. Palubeckas, A. J. (1981). Rapport in the therapeutic relationship and its relationship to pacing (Doctoral Dissertation, Boston University School of Education, 1981). Dissertation Abstracts International, 42(6), 2543-B 2544-B. Retrieved from Pantin, H. M. (1982). The relationship between subjects’ predominant sensory predicate use, their preferred representational system and self-reported attitudes towards similar versus different therapist-patient dyads (Doctoral Dissertation University of Miami, 1982). Dissertation Abstracts International, 43(7), 2350-B. Retrieved from Paxton, Louise K.: Representational systems and client perception of the counseling relationship. Dissertation Abstracts International 41(9), 3888-A Indiana University, 141 pp. Order = 8105941, 1980. Shobin, M. Z. (1980). An investigation of the effects of verbal pacing on initial therapeutic rapport (Doctoral Dissertation, Boston University School of Education, 1980). Dissertation Abstracts International, 41(5). Retrieved from Thomason, D. D. (1984). Neurolinguistic Programming: an aid to increase counselor expertness (Doctoral Dissertation, Biola University, 1984). Dissertation Abstracts International, 44(9), 2909-B. Hischke, D. L. (1989). A definitional and structural investigation of matching perceptual predicates, mismatching perceptual predicates, and Milton-model matching. US, ProQuest Information & Learning. 49 PhysicalMirroringMaurer, R. E., & Tindall, J. H. (1983). Effect of postural congruence on client’s perception of counselor empathy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30(2), pp. 158-163. Neumann, M., Bensing, J., Mercer, S., Ernstmann, N., & Oliver, P. H. (2009). Analyzing the “nature” and “specific effectiveness” of clinical empathy: A theoretical overview and contribution towards a theory-based research agenda. Patient Education and Counseling, 74(3), 339-346. Sanchez-Burks, J., Bartel, C. A., & Blount, S. (2009). Performance in intercultural interactions at work: Cross-cultural differences in response to behavioral mirroring. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 216-223. Sandhu, Daya S. (1984). The effects of mirroring vs. non-mirroring of clients’ nonverbal behavior on empathy, trustworthiness, and positive interaction in cross-cultural counseling dyads. Dissertation Abstracts International 45(4), p. 1042. Sandhu, D. S.; Reeves, T. G; Portes, P. R. (1993). Cross-cultural counseling and neurolinguistic mirroring with native American adolescents. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 21(2) 106-118. Retrieved from PsychArticles. Chartrand, T. L. and J. A. Bargh (1999). “The chameleon effect: The perception-behavior link and social interaction.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76: 893-910. Lakin, J. L., V. E. Jefferis, et al. (2003). “The chameleon effect as social glue: Evidence for the evolutionary significance of non-conscious mimicry.” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 27(3): 145-162. Farmer, Stephen S.: Supervisory conferences in communicative disorders: verbal and nonverbal interpersonal communication pacing. Dissertation Abstracts International 44(9), 2715-B 2716-B University of Colorado (Boulder), 195 pp. Order = DA8400891, 1983. Vaughan, K. B. and J. T. Lanzetta (1980). “Vicarious instigation and conditioning of facial expressive and autonomic responses to a model’s expressive display of pain.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 38(6): 909-923. Niedenthal, P. M., Barsalou, L. W., Winkielman, P., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2005). Embodiment in attitudes, social perception, and emotion. Personality And Social Psychology Review: An Official Journal Of The Society For Personality And Social Psychology, Inc., 9(3), 184-211. multipleWood, J. A. (2006). “NLP Revisited: Nonverbal Communications and Signals of Trustworthiness.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management 26(2): 197-204. PhysicalMirroring:Mirror NeuronsAziz-Zadeh, L. and R. B. Ivry (2009). The Human Mirror Neuron System and Embodied Representations. Progress in Motor Control: 355-376. Fabbri-Destro, M. and G. Rizzolatti (2008). “Mirror Neurons and Mirror Systems in Monkeys and Humans.” Physiology 23: 171-179. Gallese, V., L. Fadiga, et al. (1996). “Action recognition in the premotor cortex.” Brain 119(2): 593-609. Gallese, V., C. Kaysers, et al. (2004). “A Unifying View of the Basis of Social Cognition.” Trends in Cognitive Science 8(9): 396-403. Kilner, J., K. Friston, et al. (2007). “Predictive coding: an account of the mirror neuron system.” Cognitive Processing 8(3): 159-166. Kilner, J. M., J. L. Marchant, et al. (2009). “Relationship between Activity in Human Primary Motor Cortex during Action Observation and the Mirror Neuron System.” PLoS ONE 4(3): e4925. Lyons, D. E., L. R. Santos, et al. (2006). “Reflections of other minds: how primate social cognition can inform the function of mirror neurons.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 16(2): 230-234. Proverbio, A. M., F. Riva, et al. (2009). “Observation of Static Pictures of Dynamic Actions Enhances the Activity of Movement-Related Brain Areas.” PLoS ONE 4(5): e5389. Rizzolatti, G. and L. Craighero (2004). “The Mirror-Neuron System.” Annual Review of Neuroscience 27(1): 169-192. Rizzolatti, G., M. Fabbri-Destro, et al. (2009). “Mirror neurons and their clinical relevance.” Nat Clin. Pract. Neuro 5(1): 24-34. Uddin, L. Q., M. Iacoboni, et al. (2007). “The self and social cognition: the role of cortical midline structures and mirror neurons.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11(4): 153-157.



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Supportive References for the Swish Pattern

Visual Swish Masters, B. J., Rawlins, M. E., Rawlins, L. D., Weidner, J., (1991) The NLP swish pattern: An innovative visualizing technique. Journal of Mental Health Counseling 13(1): 79-90.
Juhnke, G. A., K. M. Coll, et al. (2008). “Using a modified neurolinguistic programming swish pattern with couple parasuicide and suicide survivors.” The Family Journal 16(4): 391-396.




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Supportive References for Anchoring

Anchoring Brandis A. D., (1986) A neurolinguistic treatment for reducing parental anger responses and creating more resourceful behavioral options. Dissertation Abstracts International 47(11), 4642-B California School of Professional Psychology (Order = DA8626141): 161, 1986.
Öhman, A., Eriksson, A., & Olofsson, C. (1975). One-Trial Learning and Superior Resistance to Extinction of Autonomic Responses Conditioned to Potentially Phobic Stimuli. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 88(2), 619-627.
Ohman, A., Fredrikson, M., Hugdahl, K., & Rimmo, P.-A. (1976). The premise of equipotentiality in human classical conditioning: Conditioned electrodermal responses to potentially phobic stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 105(4), 313-337
Domjan, M. (2005). “Pavlovian Conditioning: A Functional Perspective.” Annual Review of Psychology 56(1): 179-206.
Field, E.S. (1990) Neurolinguistic programming as an adjunct to other psychotherapeutic/hypnotherapeutic interventions. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Jan; 32(3):174-82.




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Supportive references for Collapse Anchors

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Supportive References for the VK/D-RTM PTSD Protocol

VK/D-RTMPTSD Dietrich, A. M. (2000). “A Review of Visual/Kinesthetic Disassociation in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Disorders: Theory, Efficacy and Practice Recommendations.” Traumatology 6(2): 85-107.
Gray, R. M. and R. F. Liotta (2012). “PTSD: Extinction, Reconsolidation, and the Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation Protocol. Traumatology 18(2): 3-16.
Hossack, A. and R. P. Bentall (1996). “Elimination of posttraumatic symptomatology by relaxation and visual-kinesthetic dissociation.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 9(1): 99-110.
Koziey, P. W. and G. L. McLeod (1987). “Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation in Treatment of Victims of Rape.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 18(3): 276-282.
Muss, D. (2002). The Rewind Technique In the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Methods and Application Brief Treatments for the Traumatized. C. R. Figley. West Port, Conn, Greenwood Press: 306-314.
Muss, D. C. (1991). “A new technique for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.” British Journal of Clinical Psychology 30(1): 91-92.
Utuza, A. J., S. Joseph, et al. (2011). “Treating Traumatic Memories in Rwanda With the Rewind Technique: Two-Week Follow-Up After a Single Group Session.” Traumatology, 18(1) 75–78.
VK/D Anxiety Field, E.S. (1990) Neurolinguistic programming as an adjunct to other psychotherapeutic/hypnotherapeutic interventions. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Jan; 32(3):174-82.



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Submissions Policy


The above materials represent the beginnings of the new NLP Wiki. It needs a lot of work and so we are soliciting help from the community in adding to it and editing it.

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