The Map is not the Territory


NLP, Neuro-linguistic Programming, is "The Study of the Structure of Subjective Experience." NLP was developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. NLP consists of a number of models. With these models, you will be able to create very powerful techniques.

Different Models:

Meta Model:

The NLP Meta Model is used to uncover the "deep structure" underneath the "surface structure" of someone. For example, if someone says "This is better", he shows his surface structure. To uncover his deep structure, you'll have to ask him questions like:"Better than what?" You ask them special questions, listen to their language pattern, and watch how they respond to things or words.

Milton Model:

The NLP Milton Model is the inverse of the Meta Model. It's a set of linguistic patterns. You use vague language to induce different states of consciousness and access unconscious resources.

Representational systems:

Representational systems are the five senses: Seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), touching (kinaesthetic), smelling (olfactory), tasting (gustatory). When a person systematically uses one sense over the others, we call it representational system primacy. The representational system that you prefer to use to find information to input into consciousness is called Lead System. And the system with which a person checks if the information you have recalled from your memory is correct is called Reference System. Example: A person could have the following strategy to remember something: He first talks to himself about the thing he wants to remember (auditory Lead System), then he makes a picture of it (visual Primary System) and he checks the result by using his instinct (kinaesthetic Reference System).

Eye accessing cues:

When someones eyes move in a certain direction, you can say if he's thinking is visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. The eye movements below are from your - the observer - point of view. These movements are also for a typical right-handed person. Some Left-handed people have the eye movements reversed.

Vr - Visual remembered: (eyes up to the right): When someones sees images as he has seen them before. He remembers something and visualizes it.

Vc - Visual constructed: (eyes up to the left): Someone sees images of things he has never seen before. He's using his fantasy.

Ar - Auditory remembered: (eyes to the right side): Someone remembers sounds heard before.

Ac - Auditory constructed: (eyes to the left side): Someone constructs sounds he has never heard before.

Ad - Auditory digital: (eyes down to the right): Someone is talking to himself.

K - Kinaesthetic: (Eyes down to the left): Someone feels emotions, sense of touch or muscle movement.


Within each representational system, we make fine distinctions. Each sense can have different qualitative characteristics. Each emotion uses different submodalities.

Visual submodalities: shape, color/black-and white, movement, brightness/dimness, distance, location...

Auditory submodalities: volume, tempo, pitch, frequency...

Kinaesthetic submodalities: temperature, pressure, texture, moisture, pain, pleasure...


Something is analogue if there can be shades of meaning and digital if there is only on and off or 1 and 0. For example, some submodalities are analogue (brightness, distance...) and some are digital (associated/dissociated...).


If someone is in a certain state, you can set up an anchor, that means you can trigger this state by associating it with an external stimulus. Anchors can be a specific hand gesture or a picture (visual), a word, sound or voice tone (auditory), a touch or a movement (kinaesthetic), a smell (olfactory) or a taste (gustatory). With anchors you can easily change and control your/someone's emotional state.

When anchoring, you have to follow these conditions:
  • Uniqueness of stimulus: The anchor should be something that you don't do in other situations. So don't anchor something like clapping the hands (Only if you want to go into a specific state when you are at the theater and have to clap your hands)
  • Intensity of experience: You have to be associated into the experience. It should be strong.
  • Purity of experience: Your experience should be without contamination.
  • Timing of anchor: The experience should be at its peak, you have to wait for the right moment to set up the anchor.
  • Accuracy of replication of anchor: Different kind of touches are different anchors. You have to do the same thing when you set up and fire off the anchor.


Your memory of your life is stored in one straight line, the timeline. This line connects the past, the present and the future. It starts with your birth and ends with your death. Our past experiences do determine who we are and how we act. By changing our timeline we can change ourselves.


A strategy is a set of mental and behavioral steps which produce a specific outcome. Every unconscious process is a strategy. When you want to do something, you could, for example, make a picture of yourself doing this thing, talk to yourself about how you will do it... A strategy can consist of internal and external visual, auditory and kinaesthetic components. For everything we do, we have a strategy.

Associated/Dissociated state:

When you are looking through your own eyes while experiencing an event in your memory it is an associated point of view. You are experiencing everything from a first-person perspective. You see, hear and feel everything as though it is happening now.
But if you look at it from an other point of view, it is dissociated. You are experiencing everything from a third-person perspective.


A Frame is the way we look at something. We put different things into different frames to look at it from a different point of view.
  • "As If" Frame: Thinking as if something had occured. "What would it be like if...".
  • Outcome Frame: Your goal, the desired state that you want to achieve.
  • Backtrack Frame: To review or summarize, using another's key words and tonalities.
  • Relevancy Frame: Asking how a specific statement or behaviour is helping to achieve an agreed outcome.
  • Open Frame: An opportunity for anyone to raise any comments or questions about the material that interests them.
  • Control Frame: Setting a limit on the scope or time of an activity.
  • Ecology Frame: Asking what effects your thoughts and actions have on larger systems (i.e. on yourself, your family, your financial situation...).
  • Out Frame: A frame that excludes possible objections.

Techniques (used on yourself or on others):


First, you have to know which state you want to anchor. It can be any kind of state, like confidence, happiness... Then, you have to choose an anchor. This can be any touch, word, sound or movement. If you anchor yourself, you normally use a touch as an anchor. It could be something like touching your ear, scratching your nose, giving your wrist a squeeze or touching your thumb and first two fingers together. Now, go into the state you want to anchor. This can be done by:

- recalling a time in your past when you felt the way you want to feel every time you fire off the anchor. Close your eyes and see yourself from a dissociated point of view. Step into the picture and look at this scene as if you were looking through your eyes (associated point of view). See, hear and feel everything as if you were actually there.

- imagining a time where you could have felt this way. Step into this picture, be associated into this scene.

- associating into somebody else of who you know that he feels this way. First, see him from a dissociated point of view. Then, move into the image of him, associate into him. You will begin to feel the same things you think he feels.

- doing something in which you feel this way. If you know that there is an activity in which you are in the state you want to anchor, why not doing this activity to anchor your state. For example, if you want to anchor happiness, do everything that will make you happy. Read some jokes, play games, have fun...

You can make your state stronger by changing the submodalities.

And now, anchor this state. Simply do the thing you have chosen as your anchor.

You can test your anchor by going into a normal state and then firing off your anchor. If your state doesn't change the way you want it to, go back and make your state stronger and better.

Collapsing Anchors:

When two different anchors are fired off at the same time, they combine their states. If one of the states is the opposite of the other one, they cancel each other out. If you want to delete an anchor, set up an anchor for the opposite feeling and fire them off simultaneously. If you have an uncomfortable feeling when you do something or are at a specific place, imagine doing this thing or being at this place and set up an anchor. Set up an anchor for the opposite feeling and let them collapse.

Chaining Anchors:

If you have set up a few anchors, you can fire them off one after the other, changing the state as each emotion is at its peak. You will then move through a sequence of states. A useful chaining anchor can make you (by firing it off a few times) go through the different states automatically, i. e. the first state will induce a process that automatically leads to the last state.

Stacking Anchors:

When you anchor a few different states with the same anchor, it is called a Stacking Anchor. The different states will be combined. For example, you could set up the same anchor every time you are happy. After a while, the anchor will be very strong.

Sliding Anchor:

A Sliding Anchor works as an amplitude. You can amplify and decrease your state with it. For example, you use one of your fingers as an anchor, you change your submodalities to make your state more intense and then you slide one of the other fingers along your anchor-finger toward the fingernail. The motion of sliding will then be associated to the amplification and you can use this sliding-motion to change other anchors.

Future Pacing:

If you want that you feel different in a future situation, for example if you want to have more self-confidence whenever you talk to a woman, you can future pace, i. e. link this feeling to the situation. To do this, first set up an anchor for the desired state. See a picture of yourself in this situation and be associated into this picture and fire off your anchor. Now, you will automatically have the anchored feeling when you are in such a situation.

Change Personal History:

If you have memories that are unpleasant and that still have a negative impact, you can transform them into positive memories. You can do this by recalling the memory and add some resources. To do this, go back to the memory you want to change. If there are more than one memory of this kind, try to detect the first memory and go back to it. Now, dissociate from it. Identify the resources that you would have needed in that situation to change it to a positive memory. Anchor these resources and see the memory as if you already had the resources you needed to make it a positive memory (while still being dissociated from it). Add the resources until the memory is positive. Travel back into the present and change all the memories that happened as a result from the first memory. And then, future pace so that it will never happen again.


An Imprint is an experience from the past in which you formed a belief (Example: Konrad Lorenz work on ducklings). This Imprint can be anything that happened at the wrong time and therefore changed your behaviour. Re-Imprinting: Identify the belief or behaviour you want to change. Stand on your Timeline at the present-position and move backwards towards the past. Try to find the earliest experience associated with the belief. To test this earliest experience, take a step backwards to a time before this imprint experience. You should then feel different because the imprint has not yet effected you. Dissociate from the experience. Now, you explore the situation: Notice the effects this imprint had on you. Maybe you can see the thread running through your life, beginning at the time of the imprint and connecting all the painful experiences that are linked with the imprint. Identify any significant others in the imprint (they do not necessarily need to have been physically present at the imprint). Associate into each of the persons involved in the imprint. Try to find positive intentions of their actions. Step off of the timeline, look at the person from a dissociated state of view and do the same thing again. For each of these persons, try to find the resources that he/she would have needed to make it a positive experience. Anchor these resources (You can do this for example by stepping onto the timeline at a time when you had or experienced these resources and set up an anchor), associate into the person and fire off the anchor. Do this until every person involved into the imprint is satisfied. Now, associate into your own position in a time before this imprint had happened. Anchor the resources you had needed to succeed in the imprint-scene. Take the resources into your younger self and walk all the way up to the present and experience the changes.

Circle of Excellence:

Circle of Excellence uses a kinaesthetic anchor to activate a Moment of Excellence, i. e. a moment in which you are at the top, in which you feel like superman... Imagine a circle on the floor. In this circle there is a picture of you, being in a specific state. This picture of you behaves the way you want to behave when you are in this state. When you walk into this circle, you will be in the specific state. Another possibility of using the Circle of Excellence is by imagining an other person, your idol or a character in a movie and placing this picture into the circle. You can be like them if you want.


Mapping Across Submodalities:

Visualize two situations, maybe one that you want to behave different in and one in that you behaved how you want to behave. Compare the differences between the submodalities of the pictures. You can change the negative picture into a positive one hanging the submodalities that they match the submodalities of the positive picture. For example, the negative picture could be dim and the positive picture could be bright. In this case, make the negative picture brighter to change it to a positive one.

Phobia Cure:

To cure a phobia, you can look at the scene or thing that makes you fear from a dissociated point of view and then change it to a positive experience.
Different Phobia Cures:

- One dissociation: Imagine that you are sitting in a cinema. Look at the movie screen. See yourself on this screen in a black and white picture. In this picture you are looking at, the you that you see is in a time just before experiencing the phobia. Now start the black and white movie. See a copy of yourself in this phobic situation. When the movie finishes, associate into the final picture. Add color to the picture. Rewind the movie. The movie should rewind in one or two seconds. Now you should be cured.

- Double dissociation: Instead of just sitting in the cinema and seeing yourself on the screen, you float out of your body, go to the projection booth and watch yourself watch a movie about yourself. The rest is the same.

- You can add resources to the movie. For example, add objects or symbols that are useful for the you on the screen to defend himself against the phobia. Or you can anchor the resources and fire them off at the beginning of the movie. Or you can watch the movie while hearing circus music.

Belief Change:

First you have to detect the beliefs you want to change. These are normally beliefs that cause you to behave in a way you don't want to behave, i. e. beliefs about whether you can or cannot do a thing or your beliefs about others. Then you have to find out what you want to believe instead of this or how you want to behave.
To change your belief, you have different possibilities to choose from:

Future Pacing: See a picture of yourself in a future situation where your new belief comes into action. You can also anchor the resources you want to have in this situation and install them by firing them off (see Future Pacing).

Time distortion: See a picture of yourself and go five years into the future. Look back and think about how the new beliefs have changed your life. How do you feel now? How did you and your life change? Go 10, 20 and 40 years into the future and do the same thing.

Visual technique 1: Visualize an image of your belief and an image of something that you doubt. Cross-map the submodalities of the two pictures. Notice where in your field of vision you see these pictures. To do that you can imagine drawing a border around the picture. Now intensify the submodalities of doubt in the belief picture by moving the picture of the belief back to where it's almost invisible, or letting it shrink, making it black and white, bluring it and moving it to the place (or into the border) of the doubt picture. Now take the new belief that you want to install and put it on the place where the old belief picture is. Make it brighter, bigger, move it closer and move it into the belief border.

Visual technique 2: Visualize an image of your belief and an image of a positive belief. Cross-map the two pictures. Now change the picture with your negative belief. Take the first submodality and change it to the way it is used in the positive-belief-picture. Calibrate. If the change is negative, take the submodality away again. Do this with all the submodalities in the picture. Now you should have a new belief. Future pace it.

Belief Change Cycle (by Robert Dilts): You need six different ground anchors. Write the stations on different pieces of paper and arrange them in a circle. The six stations or ground anchors are:
1. Wanting to believe (something new)
2. Being open to believe (something new)
3. Current beliefs
4. Being open to doubt
5. Beliefs that you used to believe but don't believe anymore (Museum of old beliefs)
6. Deep Trust

1. Stand in the Wanting to believe space, think of a new belief that you want to have.
2. Move to the Being open to believe space, be or feel as if you were more open to the new belief.
3. In the Current beliefs space, concentrate on the new belief. Try to find limiting or conflicting beliefs.
4. In the Being open to doubt space, concentrate on these conflicting or limiting beliefs. Go to the Deep Trust space and find out whether you want to make some changes to your old beliefs or to the new belief.
5. Take your insights with you and move them to the Museum of old beliefs.
6. Go to the Deep Trust space and look at the changes you have made.
There are lots of other variations to move around in the Belief Change Circle.

Time Line: You need five positions. One in the past, one in the present, one in the future, a meta-position to the past and a meta-position to the future (the meta-positions are situated next to the Time Line). You can visualize the Time Line or use some pieces of paper as ground anchors. In the present, concentrate on the negative belief. Feel how it is like to have this belief. In the past, concentrate on your belief in the past-form (i.e. "Once upon a time I wasn't good at..."). In the meta-position to the past, dissociate from your Time Line and concentrate on your belief as if it has been the belief of an other person you know (i.e. "He wasn't good at"). In the meta-position to the future, concentrate on the new belief that you want to install by looking at it from a dissociated future form (i.e. "He will be good at..."). In the future, associate into the situation, concentrate on the belief in a future form (i.e. "I will be good at..."). Go back to the present position and concentrate on the new belief in a present form (i.e. "I am good at...").

Swish Pattern:


To do a Swish, you need two situations: One that you don't want to happen again and one that has to happen instead of the first situation. Now visualize the two situations. The problem-picture (a snapshot of the first situation) has to be associated, big and bright and the goal-picture has to be dissociated, small, dark and being situated in one of the corners at the bottom of the problem-picture. Now do the swish: The goal-picture grows, gets brighter and replaces the problem picture while the problem-picture fades away. Do this very fast. It has to be done in about a second. You can do this by visually connecting the two pictures with a stretched elastic band and letting it go when doing the swish. Blank your mind and repeat this five times.

Other Swishs:

Project the problem-picture into your left hand and the goal-picture into your right hand. Put your left hand in front of you and the right hand behind you. To do the swish, you have to move your left hand behind you and the right hand in front of you in a fast movement.

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