07 Mar

NLP Glossary

Accessing Cues

Shifts in breathing, posture, gestures and eye movements that indicateinternal mental processing such as visualisation, auditory and kinaestheticactivity.


Having official recognition by a national government through a governmentbody, government department, Act of Parliament or Royal Charter with referenceto a set of government approved standards. In the case of educational orvocational courses, accreditation confers recognition of the qualificationoffered and an assurance of adherence to a government approved set of standardsfor quality.

Aligned Perceptual Positions

A term coined by Connirae Andreas to describe the process she developedto achieve clearly well sorted perceptual positions. When in First Position, seeingout of your own eyes, hearing with your ears at their location, and feeling inyour own body, with only your feelings. When in Third Position, seeing self andother, hearing both of them, and only experiencing feelings about theinteraction. When in Second Position, seeing, hearing and feeling as if theother. See perceptual positions. Each perceptual position has a particularorganisation as a means of accessing high quality information.


Continuous change over time: continuous movement. An example is thelight dimmer switch in contrast to an ordinary light switch which is either onor off (digital).

Analogue Shaping

Shaping the body posture, breathing and movements of the subject.


Applying a gesture, touch, or sound just before a state peaks, either inoneself or someone else, so that theanchored state can bere-activated by reapplying that gesture, touch or sound. A smell can also beused as an anchor. Eg. as you remember the smell of a rose, you may find amemory of some experience that involved roses coming to mind. Psychologistsrecognise the pattern of anchoring as stimulus response conditioning.


The study of man in his / her various environments.

As If frame

A way of shifting into a different perceptual framework, and thusobtaining another quality of information. This can be especially useful if thecontent you are thinking about involves a stuck feeling. Touse an “as if” frame, think of what it would be like As if youhad the needed resource.


Experiencing the present with all your attention; seeing, hearing andfeeling the living action that is taking place in the moment. For referring tomemory or imagination, living a past or future experience from your viewpointof the time; seeing, hearing and feeling as if you are present in that moment.


The use of external senses and internal representational systems toidentify and choose the content of thoughts and activities. Attention can beconscious or unconscious or a combination of both. Where one places one’sconscious or unconscious attention has an effect on cognitive processes. Firstattention or the attention of the conscious mind is limited. (See consciousawareness). Second attention refers to the processes and organisation of theunconscious mind.

Auditory Processing

The processing of sounds, this could be in the form of language, musicor noise. Includes the ability to have internal dialogue, recalled informationsuch as remembering someone’s voice, recall of music or the construction ofwords, or composition of music.


A review, both verbal and non-verbal, of the last portion of adiscussion, presentation or set of instructions.


Any human activity, this includes internal thought processes, such asvisual, auditory or kinaesthetic processing and involuntary as well asinvoluntary movement such as blinking or heart beat.

Behavioural Psychology

A school of psychology which deletes internal cognitive processes fromits descriptions of psychology. An example of Western society’s predilectionfor first attention.

Behavioural Technologies

Systems and models of psychology orientated to changing and extendinghuman behaviour.


Subjective ideas about what is true and not true for ourselves and theworld, developed through exposure to experience, and modified by perceptualfilters of distortion, generalisation and deletion. A configuaration ofsubmodalities that lets a person who holds content in those submodalities knowthat content is true for them.


Learning to recognise visible, auditory and kinaesthetic clues to anindividual’s use of their mental processes. Defining that individual’sexpressions by comparing their present behaviour with their previously observedbehaviour.


A context specific skill that can be broken down to its componentbehaviours.

Chain of Excellence

An essential element of the New Code of NLP developed by John Grinder.The Chain of Excellence has four stages.

Breathing – a leverage point for change. It affects

Physiology – change physiology and shift

State – change state and affect – Performance.

Choice Points

Moments of subjective experience which generate significant consequencesthereafter.


Grouping information by class and sub-class, especially useful whencombined with the principles of logical typing order. Chunking develops meaningand thereby facilitates memory. (See logical levels).

Cognitive/analytical modelling

The conscious elicitation of the components of the skills of an expert.May include verbal descriptions of beliefs, values, outcomes, intentions,sequences and processes used by the expert. This form of modelling is outsidethe scope of NLP as it is of a different logical type from the patterns ofexcellence that make up the field. Analytical modelling depends on consciousrecognition of elements of expertise by the expert and the person modelling andon conscious uptake by the modeller. See NLP Modelling.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognition is defined by Strobe, Codol and Stephenson in their book IntroducingSocial Psychology as “The activity by which information isreceived, selected, transformed and organised by human perceivers so as toconstruct representations of reality and to build knowledge”.

Cognitive Science

A multi-disciplinary field of inquiry into the perceptions of the mind.Cognitive science draws on methodology and learning from linguistics,psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence and computer science.

Complex Equivalence

The individual’s cognitive map or sensoryrepresentation of a particular word, label or expression; the meaning theyassign to an abstract form of words. A different experience or action that hasthe same meaning for an individual as the experience they are considering.Misunderstanding occurs when two individuals each assign meaning to an abstractword or phrase and then act as if they were using a shared, defined meaning.


The match of a person’s body language (gestures, posture and voicepatterns) with their verbal output (auditory digital) while they arecommunicating. Congruence in communication is one of the patterns found incharismatic people. Note though, when a person is communicating withcongruency, this is not necessarily an indicator of truth, rationality orsensibility in terms of the content communicated. It means that in the moment,they believe what they are saying. Eg. Hitler communicated congruently, yetmany of his ideas (content), were unecological in their effect on thirdparties.

Conscious awareness

The conscious mind is limited in terms of the amount of information thatcan be held at any one moment in time to seven plus or minus two chunks. Thesize of the chunks is variable. A metaphoric description is the experience ofshining a torch around a darkened room. As the light beam moves from one placeto another, you notice different items. You can never see the entire contentsof the room with the torch light. Like the torch, conscious attention shiftsfrom one experience to another.

Content Reframing

Can be of two forms; either changing the response to an experience bychanging the meaning of the experience in that context, (meaning reframe), orleaving the meaning of the behaviour the same and placing the behaviour in adifferent context (context reframing).


The situation, time and place within which designated activity takesplace.

Criterion (S), Criteria (P)

An individual’s or organisation’s definition of what is important tothem in terms of their particular standards and values.


Taking any repetitive behaviour on the part of the subject, and matchingthat behaviour through a different communication channel. You could speak intime to the subjects breathing. If the person is blinking, you could tap apencil in time to their blink rate. Cross-pacing builds rapport with theperson’s unconscious mind and is a subtle, less noticeable approach to buildingor maintaining rapport than mirroring the subject’s behaviour directly.

Cultural conditioning

The assimilation of beliefs, values and ways of one’s culture ofupbringing is sometimes referred to as cultural conditioning. We have all beenshaped to a greater or lesser extent by the social context in which we grew-up,and by the social, political, economic and cultural contexts in which we livesubsequently. One of the benefits of the models Neuro-Linguistic Programmingand Ericksonian hypnosis is the capability to evaluate the various beliefsystems that one adopted, and to update, change and enrich thosemaps ofreality if so desired. This process brings added flexibility and choice intoone’s life.


The generally agreed upon maps within a particular community of peoplewhich guide behaviour. These agreed upon maps form collectively a consensusreality for the group and generally operate outside conscious awareness.

Cybernetic epistemology (systems epistemology)

An orientation to pattern and the relationship between parts of asystem, rather than usingquantification, and reductionism as in Newtonianphysics. Cybernetic epistemology is based on the premise that living systemssuch as a person, family or ecology function on different rules to the world ofphysics. (See Epistemology and Systems Thinking).


The study of communication systems in both man and machines. Cyberneticshas been traditionally applied to machines, computer systems and computersoftware. Cybernetics can also be applied to the individual, the family (as inthe family systems models) and social systems such as communities andsocieties.

Deep TranceIdentification

A hypnotic process where the subject enters a profoundly altered stateand makes arrangements through his or her unconscious mind, in trance, to modelspecific or general patterns displayed by the model of excellence.


The process of excluding portions of experience of the world from one’sinternal representations, and one’s speech.

Description (map, model)

An internal representation that we have that guides our behaviour.Primarily we have sensory representational systems, that is, we represent theworld in mental images, sound tracks and sensation. There is also secondaryrepresentation, language. ie. we can represent our internal pictures, soundsand feelings in language.


Sudden change in state. A standard light switch is digital, it can onlybe on or off.

Discovery Frame

Involves a psychological state, (see State) and an attitudein terms of perception. Expectation, judgement and desire are suspended for theduration of the exercise in order to discover what happens to one’s perceptionsand ideas as a result of participating in it. That subjective state andattitude in relation to the wider world. ie. the expert being modelled and / orthe world at large.


The process of stepping outside the point of view of experiencing theworld from one’s physical position; seeing oneself from outside the self and,for internal representations, from outside the image and separate from thesounds.


Inaccurate reproduction of events in any recording medium, includinghuman representation. Distortion in language refers to demonstrably inaccuratecomments on any subject.

Dovetailing Outcomes

Two or more parties’ outcomes, in which the achievement of onefacilitates achievement of the other(s). The first step in negotiating anythingis to elicit all parties’ outcomes, then derive a common set of outcomes bychunking up to a higher logical level. At this point the outcomes are said tobe dovetailed.

Down time

The process of putting one’s attention to internal processes andrepresentations within one’s mind.


The process of considering the effects of any change in behaviour acrossa number of time frames, situations and places for self and others. What arethe consequences now, in the future, for oneself, for significant others, invarious contexts such as home, career, lifestyle, as well as possible effectson the physical environment. The use of the answers to these questions isdetermined by the values held important by that individual.


In NLP elegance describes the performance of a particularpattern in a streamlined, efficient, and natural way. Elegance denotes theminimum activity that is necessary and sufficient to produce the desiredoutcome with acceptable and ecological consequences. “The minimal numberof distinctions necessary to provide an effective replication of thetalent” (Grinder, DeLozier and Bandler, 1977).


The art through communication of getting a particular response or pieceof information from someone. As practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programmingand Ericksonian hypnosis, we are involved in eliciting from clients theresources they need to take themselves from the present state to their desiredoutcome.


A sequence of internal representations and external sensory input,usually ending with a kinaesthetic (hence the colloquial term”feeling”). An emotion may occur in response to sensory input orinternal representation, whether these activities are conscious or unconscious.Compare with “Thought; a sequence of internal representations and externalsensory input”.

Emotional states – mapping and shifting

It is possible to unpack and define the structure of emotional states,whether experienced as enhancing or limiting to the individual. Once aparticular emotion has been mapped out, the structure of the state in questioncan be altered if desired, to create something more useful for oneself.


A statement of recognition or approval from a non-official andnon-government body or individual. Can be a signal honour and provide a boostto credibility when given by a credible or knowledgeable person. Endorsementdoes not denote or confer offical recognition nor accreditation.


The study of how we know what we know, how creatures or groups ofcreatures, including humans, from families to cultures, societies and theglobal living system, think, and decide. It reveals the premises underlyingouter behaviour and inner thinking. These premises may be based on the historyof society and the individual, and they set filters which allow or limit thepassage of new information of difference into the mind. Sub-systems such as anindividual, or a family may have a particular epistemology. Systems such as anextended family, culture or society may have a dominant epistemology, and thegreater system of interconnected life has a number of epistemology’s. Thedominant epistemology of the West is still based on Cartesian mind-bodydualism, although some thinkers perceive this to be in error. They believe itto be a major contribution to the present imbalance and damage to the greatersystem of life on earth.

Ericksonian Hypnosis

Communication models developed from studies of the innovative psychiatristDr Milton H. Erickson, for working with an individual’s subjective experience.In contrast to traditional Hypnosis, which uses ritual inductions and directsuggestion, Ericksonian hypnosis stresses the importance of respecting theuniqueness of each individual and the development of trance states shaped forthat person. Subsequently, an Ericksonian approach to hypnosis involvescalibration, the use of context and indirect suggestion to facilitate learningwithin the individual. In Ericksonian hypnosis the relationship between guideand subject is important, and therefore attention is given to rapport,communication, high quality information gathering and feedback.


The comparative study of the behaviour of creatures, which includehumans, living in their natural environment. Used to be known as ‘naturalhistory’ before humans were included in the study.

Eye Accessing Cues

The directional movements of the eyes which indicate the accessing ofdifferent modes of thinking, or representational systems. These are visualrecall and construction, auditory recall and construction, kinaesthetic(feeling, proprioception, sensation), and internal dialogue or auditorydigital.


A chosen distinction that one attends to while observing the model expressingthe target capability. Some of the features Neuro Linguistic Pogrammerstraditionally attend to are eye accessing cues, changes in skin colour, muscletone, voice tonality, and voice rhythm. Through careful observation one maydetect a new feature that operates in some sort of pattern. Withinthe NLP community the term distinctions is used interchangably withfeatures.


The set of mechanisms that let you know whether or not you are movingtowards your desired outcome.

Feldenkrais method

A system of movement re-education developed by the nuclear physicistMoshe Feldenkrais. The Feldenkrais method works with the patterns of movement,breathing and posture and re-imprints new, more functional patterns into thenervous system. The Feldenkrais technology has been referred to astheNLP of the body because of its ‘systemic thinking’ approach. Seesystemic thinking.

First Order Change

Change occurring on the same logical level as the problem state. Egacting on behaviour to obtain a change in behaviour.

First Position

The act of looking out of one’s own eyes, hearing with one’s ears,feeling, tasting and scenting, using one’s own organs within one’s body, andmaking one’s own internal representations.


An extended range of behavioural responses that can be drawn upon. Eachsensory channel has an extended range of ways of recalling and constructingrepresentations. Also an extended range of emotional responses which can beelicited, created and expressed for each situation encountered by theindividual. At a more complex level of processing, flexibility describes accessto an extended range of perceptual filters. The use of flexibility is in itsapplication to any given context, such that the individual can use behaviourwhich serves them in that context, whether conventionally accepted orotherwise, with reference to their own ecology.


The context surrounding a given set of events and behaviour, impartingmeaning to those interactions by its presence.

Future Pace

The process of placing new or desired behaviours, capabilities and orperceptual filters into the future for use in appropriate times and places.(See Simulation Programming).


The act of taking a specific incident or behaviour and generalising thecontent across contexts, as if it were a generic pattern. Eg “peoplealways do that”, or “if it works at all, it will workeverywhere”.

Generative Change

A change that creates the possibility of further change ensuing throughtime as a result of the initial change taking place. Eg. Feeding someone for aday provides three free meals only. Teaching them to fish enables them toprovide their own food, earn their living, and teach others. That is agenerative change.

Genius State

An up-time resource state in which an individual’s attention is directedoutwards, into the environment. Often it includes long distance and peripheralvision, an absence of internal dialogue, and optimal physiological posture andmovement. It often includes awareness of well formed outcomes, how to act asif, the ability to construct pictures and sounds, to use multipleperceptual positions, different logical levels, and conscious/unconsciousinterface.


The totality of an experience at all logical levels and in all senses.

Gestalt Psychology

A school of psychology.


Pertaining to taste.


Literally, the stillness of sameness. A state of stability.


The art of altering another person’s state, usually applied todeliberate trance induction and utilisation.


The conventional concepts of self image, self esteem and self conceptare examples of identity. In this work the construct of identity includes theway we see, hear and feel about ourselves. An identity representation of thistype, aligned and matching in all senses is a significant pattern found inindividuals who are able to bring their dreams to fruition.


In most animals imprinting is the triggering of an innate instinctivebehaviour, such as attachment to parents or parent substitutes, during acritical or sensitive time period. With most animals imprinting isirreversible. In humans imprinting is reversible, and takes place in manyformative situations in which beliefs and values are learned.


A partial or divided response which is indicative of uncertainty in themind of the respondent. An incongruent response can be elicited in someone byoffering them incongruent communication (mixed messages) or insufficientinformation with which to operate. Where internal conflict is already apparent,there is a shortage of information in the individual’s own system. Incongruencecan be simultaneous, as described, or sequential, in which case the subjectappears to be congruent in favour of an action while in a given state and equallycongruently against the same action when in a different state.


Gregory Bateson describes information as “news of difference”(Mind and Nature; A necessary unity,1979). Our sensory apparatus andneurology responds to difference in the world as information.


Integration is the act of embodying learned material, and is mediatedthrough the vestibular apparatus. This specialised sense enables us to live inthe whole of ourselves, experience states of pleasure and is involved with spatialorientation and movement towards our outcomes in the external world.


The reason or purpose behind a specific piece of behaviour. The answerto the question, “What did you do that for?”. Intention is not alwaysapparent from behaviour, and is deemed to be positive, at least for the persondoing the behaviour, according to their model of the world.

Internal negotiation

The act of separating out different parts of oneself which appear to wantdifferent and conflicting outcomes for the whole person. Having elicited eachpart’s outcome, one can ascertain the function of each outcome, and chunk upthrough logical levels to a point where each part shares beliefs, values and acommon outcome. It is then possible to align the parts to the common cause, andsometimes integrate them into each other.

Internal representation

The pictures, sounds and feelings that we make on the inside; ourthoughts. Our internal representations, also known as mental maps, govern ourbehaviour in the world.

In Time

A state in which the individual perceives the passage of time ascontinuous in the present, where the future has limited importance, and thepast is no longer relevant.


The formal study of body language.


Pertaining to feeling, touching, proprioception, sensation.


Using verbal and non-verbal communication to elicit a desired responsefrom another person. Usually preceded by pacing, to establish rapport prior toleading.

Lead System

The first sensory system to take in information from the outside. Can beoutside conscious awareness. The lead system was once thought to be relativelyconstant in an individual, but according to Grinder (Boulder; Pattern Detection1996) the lead system is subject to change. The lead system is the firstelement in any strategy.


The formal study of languages. In English linguistics is broken into thefollowing major areas of study; phonology, the study of phonemes the basiccomponents of sound in spoken language, morphology, the smallest meaningfulcomponents of words, syntax, the rules or grammar of language and semantics,the meaning of language. Syntax is an important component of Neuro-LinguisticProgramming as the order and sequence of utterances has a profound effect onthe meaning of what is said.

Logical Levels

A system for organising representations (information) into classes andsub-classes. eg. Apples are a member of the class fruit which belongs to theclass food. Food occupies a higher logical level than apple. An example of thesame logical level as apple is pear, and a specific (lower logical level)example of apple is Sturmer. Logical levels are useful for categorising andremembering information. Given the concept of seven plus or minus two chunks ofinformation, one has a choice in this example of holding in conscious attentionseven kinds of apples, seven kinds of fruit, seven kinds of food etc, accordingto the chunk size adopted.

Macro modelling

An example of cognitive modelling. Constructing a model of the broadercontext (situation, time and place) where the expert successfully expresses thetarget capability, as well as using content categories such as DiltsNeurological levels. These activities all fall outside the scope of NLP beingof different logical types.

Micro modelling

Building descriptions of specific thought processes used by a modelwithin a specific context. A series of micro models ,making up a complexcapability. Another example of cognitive modelling.


In NLP map is a general term synonymous with description orsubjective representation of reality.

Map of Reality

Reference to NLP presupposition, “The map is not theterritory”. If everything a person senses is at one remove from externalreality, then their representations constitute a map.


Thinking about one’s thought processes from an outside perspective(meta-position).

Meta Model

A meta model is a model of a model. In the world ofNLP the MetaModel refers to a language tool developed by John Grinder and RichardBandler to enable users to verify, clarify and specify imprecise verbal andwritten communication. The Meta Model provides questions to elicit informationwhich previously was distorted, generalised and deleted.

Meta modelling

The process of building Models for describing models. see Strategies.


A description of a set of circumstances designed to replicate thepatterns of a real set of circumstances, used to offersolutions and suggestions or learning. Often used to allow learning to occurdirectly through the unconscious mind. Includes allegory and simile.

Meta Programs

Content descriptions of some of the ways in which people can and doplace their attention. The first meta programs were described by John Grinderas a humourous method of showing the distinction between patterns and contentmodels for his students at UCSC. The distinction is made by chunking up from acontent example to the pattern that informs it. Meta programs were taken up byLeslie Cameron-Bandler and her colleagues and used for profiling people.Cameron-Bandler now identifies meta programs as content. As a content model,meta program categorisation and use has no place in the context of NLP.


A set of tools, techniques, procedures and investigative methods, usedto collect, store, analyse and present information. Scientific methodologyinvolves the development of hypotheses and predictions, investigating themanipulation of particular variables while maintaining all other variables constant,using measurable, objective measures and statistical analyses in order to cometo conclusions about the topic under investigation.

Milton Model

The Milton Model is a reflection of the Meta Model, in that it has theexact opposite function. It was developed by John Grinder, RichardBandler, and Judith DeLozier after they modelled the psychiatrist and hypnotistDr. Milton H. Erickson. Instead of filling in the gaps in language left bydistortion generalisation and deletion, the Milton Model deliberately distorts,generalises and deletes information to offer direction for thought withnon-specific content. This allows each listener to construct or remember theirown experience within the framework offered by the speaker or writer. Exampleswhere the Milton Model is used include Hypnotic induction and utilisation,political speeches and religious ceremonial language.


Doing something differently from another person with the result thatrapport is broken. For example, breathing at a different rate, speaking morequickly or slowly than the other. Can be conscious or unconscious.

Mission Statement

A general statement of a vision in word form. It is important to have arich representation of the vision in all the senses. Then the mission statementcan be written in language which allows all parties to it to derive meaningfrom it, yet be precise enough to guide them towards achieving it. It is ageneral statement of intent, normally restricted to five or six lines of type.

Modelling (modeling) see also, (replicating talent) (NLP Modelling)

The effective description, replication and transfer of humancapabilities from one person to another. It includes the detection of patternsof behaviour, the relationship of those patterns to a particular context, andsome intended outcome. When modelling, we elicit and describe a series oftemplates of the thinking patterns used by an expert in the course of theirexpertise. We develop models within the framework of elegance, that is usingthe minimal number of distinctions necessary to provide an effectivereplication of the talent (Grinder, DeLozier & Bandler, 1977). By removing any inessential featuresthe capability is streamlined. A form of learning where a person is exposed tothe behaviours and qualities of a significant other, which leads to the representation,internalising and later expression of those behaviours and or qualities.Examples include children modelling parents, students modelling a mentor orteacher, and the apprenticeship system. When done deliberately, modelling isthe elicitation and replication of particular skills and expertise from achosen expert in that field. Often the most valuable components of their skillswere previously outside their conscious awareness.

Modal Operator

Linguistic term referring to words which denote requirement or options.Cited in meta-model as modal operators of necessity (should, must, have to) andmodal operators of possibility (might, could).

Model of the World

The sum total of an individual’s beliefs and values, perceptual filters,desires and expectations, experiences and learning’s about the world. Eachperson has an unique combination of the above. As human beings, our behaviouris governed by how we perceive, believe, and think about ourselves and theworld. It is our internal representation of reality, and the processes we useto organise our internal representations that shape our actions. These internalmaps andthe relationships within our minds are referred to as our model of theworld.

Multiple Descriptions

We act on and through our maps of reality rather than on the worlddirectly. Having and using multiple maps of the world offer distinct advantagesover any single map. Different descriptions for different circumstances, aswell as multiple descriptions for a particular context add richness in terms ofpossible choices in how to act and be in the world. A minimum of three examplesof any given skill, concept or activity, thus allowing the learner to crossrefer and understand in depth. The purpose of creating multiple descriptions isto enable the individual to access a wider range of information, including thatwhich may have been outside their awareness. That having and using multiplemaps of the world offer distinct advantages over any single map. Differentdescriptions for different circumstances, as well as multiple descriptions fora particular context add richness in terms of possible choices in how to actand be in the world.

Multiple Intelligences

In this model it is presupposed that individuals in Western society areexposed to many different experiences, and that it is norm for an individual todevelop different capabilities and mental strategies, expressed as multipleintelligences. These are commonly listed as visual, spatial, linguistic, musical,physical, and numerical, and they cover a broader range of activity than thatwhich is measured in IQ tests.

Neuro LinguisticProgramming

NLP models patterns of human excellence. This includes the waypeople of excellence take in information from the world, how they describe itto themselves with their senses, filter it with their beliefs and values, andact on the result. In summary there is a person, their descriptions and theworld; and NLPstudies the relationships between them.

NLP Application is the application of NLP modelled patterns to topicsand contexts where they can contribute. NLP Training is the art of enablingothers to learn the patterns of NLP and to distinguish patterns from content.NLP Training using the New Code methodology is the art of enabling others tolearn the patterns of NLP accurately and generatively through discovery andunconscious uptake, before they become conscious of what they are doing.

“Neuro-logical” Levels

A list of specific content categories, developed by Robert Dilts toassist people to sort their ideas. Refers to environment, behaviour,capability, belief, identity, mission. Called “neuro-logical” levels because in Dilts’ opinion, the further up the list, the more neurology isinvolved in the experience. Does not belong in the field of NLP being of adifferent logical type.


A branch of psychology, also called physiological psychology.Neuroscience is the study of the functioning of the nervous system whichincludes the structures and functioning of the brain and its relationship tobehaviour.

New Code

A description of NLP which uses a systemic approach todemonstrate and teach the patterns by providing a series of contexts in whichthey manifest spontaneously. In the New Code of NLP the unconscious of theclient is explicitly assigned the responsibility for the selection of thecritical elements-the desired state, the resource, or new behaviour. Theunconscious is explicitly involved in all steps. There are precise constraintsplaced upon the selection of new behaviour, more specifically, the newbehaviour must satisfy the original positive intention(s) of the behaviour tobe changed. The manipulation occurs at the level of state and intention asopposed to that of behaviour. (Grinder, Bostic 2000).

NLP Modelling

A five step process described by Grinder and Bostic in “Whisperingin the Wind” (2000). This is the form of modelling which is taught in NLP.

Identify one or more appropriate models of excellence in the skill to bemodelled.

Model implicitly by unconscious uptake for as long as it takes, withexplicit intent to refuse to allow conscious analysis, understanding or coding.

Continue implicit modelling until as competent as the model andperforming at that level of competence and in the same time frame as the model.Continue to use the skill unconsciously. For practical purposes this is thelast step in the process.

If there is a need to make the skill explicit, only do it after a periodof practice with the skill after modelling is complete. Allow the patterns tobecome conscious and choose an appropriate form of coding for the explicationof the model.

Teach the patterns you have identified and coded to someone else. Theevidence of your accuracy will be in their behaviour.


A verb which has been turned into an abstract noun. Ie the name ofsomething which cannot be put in a wheel barrow, or described as an ‘OngoingX’. Eg decision, revision, opposition.


Pertaining to the sense of smell.

Other than conscious Mind

Another way of describing the unconscious mind. That which is outsideconscious awareness.


In Neuro-Linguistic Programming a representation of what we want in aspecific context, involving all representational systems. To be well-formed, anoutcome is also stated in positive terms, has defined resources that theindividual can get access to, is within the individual’s control, hasdemonstrable evidence and is ecological.


A language pattern for leading a person from a representational systemwhich they are already using, into another representational system, eithersimultaneously or sequentially.


The act of matching breathing, posture, movement, voice tones and tempowith someone over time, in order to develop rapport.


The aggregate of beliefs and values out of which a culture, corporationor other group operates.


An imaginary division of an individual into separate segments, eachmotivated by an outcome the individual wants, and capable of generatingbehaviour designed to obtain their outcomes. Used in Gestalt.


Any sequence of features that repeats over time. From a model (in modelling)

Perceptual filters (perceptual biases)

The socially and psychologically constructed bias through which wefilter our perceptions of the world. Some perceptual filters remain the sameregardless of the state a person is in, while others shift according to thestate of the perceiver. It is useful to be able to access an extended range ofperceptual filters, and change filters, or build new filters at will. Thisshifting of perceptual filters enables the user to obtain a greater range andquality of information about the world. The process of perceptual filterflexibility is a major component of a dynamic, balanced and creativepersonality. According to John Grinder ” It is the Perceptual Filters thatyou set just before you begin a class of activities, that are the differencethat make the difference “.

Perceptual Position

Any point of view taken by an individual at a given time. The mostcommonly cited perceptual positions are First Position, that of the performerin their own body, Second Position, that of the other, and Third Position, thatof the performer observing themself and the other from outside, usuallyequidistant from First and Second. Other observer positions are known as MetaPositions, and can be anywhere, close or distant with a sight line to thatwhich is being observed.

Personal Ecology

Ensuring that choices made and activities undertaken fit with one’sbeliefs and values in the context of life, the future and other people. Weconduct this work in NLP within the frame work of personal ecology and personalsafety. By organising our selves with respect for ecology, itis possible to create balance in the way we function to attain our outcomes andaccommodate important values. Core ecology check means more freedom “degrees” (options, choices) and more resources.

Personal evolution

The interaction of pattern, communication and relationship in ourongoing experience leading to new learning and new choices in one’s behavioralflexibility.

Phonological Ambiguity

A word with different meaning and sometimes different spelling whichsounds the same. eg. Heal and heel.


Matters pertaining to the physical body and its use. The general postureand breathing of the individual is highly correlated with psychological stateand cognitive processes. Note for yourself the difference in ‘physiology’ whencontrasting a resourceful and unresourceful state eg. excitement and interestcompared to depression.

Posture, breathing and psychological state

The way we hold and move our physical selves in space has a directaffect on our psychological and emotional states as well as on our patterns ofthinking. Learning additional movement patterns through the Feldenkrais methodor the Alexander Technique enables greater flexibility of thinking and behaviour.Conscious access to the posture and movement patterns which accompanyresourceful states allows the individual to recreate those states at will.

Practical dream

Is a well formed vision represented in all the senses, placed in anappropriate position in the individual’s future. This type of vision acts toset a direction and motivate an individual at both a conscious and unconsciouslevel. To have the vision work effectively as a Practical Dream, it isessential to resolve any objections, especially those at the level of belief oridentity.

Primary/Preferred System

The favoured representational system an individual uses in a particularsituation or context. Used to be thought permanent but is now known to be toofleeting to label for use.

Present State

In NLP the present state is a description of the currentcognitive and emotional state of an individual or group of individuals withreference to an outcome that they have selected. A Neuro-Linguistic Programmermay assist an individual or group to take an inventory of their Present State.


Anything which is assumed, not stated, and can be inferred by referringto the source of the presupposition, be it an utterance, a sentence, a model,book, etc. For example, in the sentence, ‘you have knocked it over again,’ thepresupposition is that you have knocked it over before. Culturalpresuppositions are the unstated shared beliefs and understandings found in aculture. Personal presuppositions include beliefs and values which areimportant to an individual, although often outside conscious awareness. A quickway to elicit conscious awareness of anyone’s presuppositions is to expose theperson to a context in which their presuppositions are not shared by others.

Psychographic Space

The use of the space around an individual or group of individuals toinfluence the person/s placing and accessing of internal representations. Asimple example is placing words for children to learn to spell, high up on theclass room walls so that visual accessing takes place. The art of shapingpsychographic space can be more sophisticated than this example. Used for spatial anchoring and New Code games also.

Psychological homeostasis

Mental stability.


Emotional responses to any experience.


A verbal communication pattern of giving suggestions / commands in theform of a quote from a character within a story. eg. …and Jane turned to himand said ‘you can make the most of this learning situation’.


The engagement and holding of the unconscious, willing attention. Whenindividual people or animals, or groups synchronize their behaviour, whetherdeliberately or unconsciously, they are said to be in rapport. Rapport can beestablished either by design, in which case one person matches another’sbehaviour, or it can arise spontaneously in response to a person’s interest inthe other. In this case the person matches the other unconsciously, throughexpressing their interest.


That which the individual believes to be so in the external world. Astate in which a person’s map is a close enough approximation to the externalworld for the individual’s impact on the world to produce evidence of wellformed outcomes. It is formed by Events.

Reality Check

The act of making external checks periodically to ensure ecology is inplace during internal processing.


A pattern found within some scientific models of the world, whereeverything is ‘chunked down’ into smaller elements during analysis.


Putting a different frame or perspective on one’s thoughts about asituation or example of behaviour. Eg The half full/half empty glass. If youwant more, it is half empty; if you have had enough, it is half full.


The reorganisation and alteration of primary, significant corerepresentations from which individuals derived limiting beliefs, and which actas templates for behaviour within present contexts.

Requisite Variety Law

A basic principle of cybernetics which states that in any system of manor machines, the part of the system with the greatest range of variability inbehaviour is the controlling element.


A picture, sound or feeling generated from within to represent aconcept, or a historical or future event.

Representational Systems

The internal use of the senses for thinking; we can represent the worldin mental images, internal sounds and feelings.


A piece of knowledge, an understanding about the world, a belief, abehaviour, a skill, a person or an object, which contributes to the achievementof an outcome.

Resourceful State

A psychological state that presupposes adequate information, choices,flexibility in behaviour and self reference in directing oneself in the world.


A stylised sequence of activity designed to anchor and elicit aparticular state or series of states in the participants, with reference to theleader’s beliefs and values. Eg the use of coloured pens, mind mapping and slowmusic to elicit optimal learning states is a ritual expression of the patternof learning in all three main representational systems. And the ritual in psihodrama or theatre of change.

Second Attention

Another name for the Unconscious mind.

Second nature

Any behaviour, capability or belief which has become automatic in aperson’s experience and is performed without conscious attention.

Second Order Change

Any change which takes place at a higher logical level than the problemstate. This allows the change to affect the system, thereby rendering theerstwhile problem harmless, irrelevant or useful.

Second Position

The experience of taking a description through one’s senses of another’spsychological state, perception and viewpoint. A second position descriptioncan be obtained by matching the other’s breathing, posture, movements, voicepatterns and language patterns. It is a way of obtaining information ofanother’s ‘model of the world’, and is useful as a precursor to bridgingagreements and building understanding during negotiation. Although a secondposition description is by definition the individual’s own representation ofanother’s state, if done with care, it provides very accurate information aboutthe other’s processes, and can give clues to the subject matter they areconsidering.

Sensory Acuity

The ability to make refined distinctions in what one see hears andfeels. During a face to face communication, practitioners of Neuro-LinguisticProgramming attend to changes or shifts in the other’s skin colour, muscletone, eye movements, breathing and posture, and to voice tonal patterns, rhythmand language used by the other. On the telephone, auditory information alone isavailable, and can be sufficient. This information is used to calibrate theother’s internal state and cognitive processes. It is considered in the worldof NLP that sensory acuity is a capability that can always be improved. To be dveleoped on VAKOG + vestibular

Sensory based Description

A description in terms of what one can see, hear and feel, either in theexternal world during an experience, or in the describer’s internal experience.

Sensory Cues

The indicators we have through observation, listening and touch, of asubjects ongoing experience. These cues indicate that mental processing istaking place; they do not identify the content being processed.

Simulation Programming

Mental rehearsal of a future course of action with reference to aspecific and expected situation, using internal representational systems toprogramme in the desired behaviours, capabilities and perceptual filters sothat you can achieve the desired outcome in that situation. Also known as’future pacing’.


The set of specific values in a person’s physiology, neurology andbiochemistry that gives rise to their behavioural expression and theirsubjective experience of themselves and the world in any given moment. Somestates recur in each culture with sufficient frequency to have acquired labelsin the appropriate language. Examples include joy, depression, happiness,angst, and joie de vivre. Naming states implies a commonality of experience,which is not necessarily the case. Naming states does not describe thedifferences in individual subjective experience which actually exist within anyparticular named state: I.e. one person’s generation and experience of elation,misery or anxiety will be different from someone else’s and two peopledeliberately generating the same conditions within their bodies may call theresulting state by different names.

State Choice

In the NLP model referred to as state control. The act ofchoosing deliberately to construct and inhabit a particular state in a givencontext, with the intention of achieving one’s chosen outcome in that context.


Any sequence of representations that leads to an outcome. The sequenceand organization of representations (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactoryand gustatory) which together comprise a thinking pattern. An effectivestrategy includes a representation of an outcome, employs feedback from theenvironment, and takes the minimum number of steps in a choreographed sequenceto achieve the particular outcome of the strategy. Example of strategiesexplored in NLP include decision making, motivation, convincer,reality, learning and creativity strategies.


The sensory components within each of the modalities of the senses. Egthe sensory modality of visualisation is made up of components such asbrightness, colour, hue, size and whether the image is framed of unframed etc.The auditory sensory modality has components such as stereo or mono, loudness,tempo and timbre quality etc.

Systemic thinking

Thinking in terms of pattern recognition, recursive manifestation ofpatterns, relationship between parts of a system, relationship between systems,patterns at similar and different logical levels, and patterns between logicallevels.


When a signal is received or represented in one sense and is re-represented immediately in another representational system. The experience ofsight/feeling, hearing/feeling etc. The test for a synaesthesia is to removethe first representation. If the second representation disapears at the samestime as the first represenation is removed, it is a synaesthesia.

Third Order Change

Any change in which the intervention is made two logical levels abovethat of the problem state. If first order is designed to be remedial, andsecond order generative, then third order is evolutionary.

Third Position

This is an example of a meta position. Third specifically is theobserver of the relationship dance between the same person in first position,and the other, with whom they are interacting. Third is sometimes described asthe observer, or director position. It watches, it has opinions about somethingwhich is occurring. No K. Just V & A.

Through Time

A state in which the passage of time is perceived as being outside anindividual, where they can see the past, present and future simultaneously.This is very good for planning, and activity which is enhanced by a dissociatedstate. This is the perception of the fixed duration appointment, and conceptsof lateness, on time, lunch hours etc. Most western business uses a throughtime system.


The internal subjective organization of individual perceptions of thepassage of time. A timeline is the representation, usually bylocation in chronological order, of events from the past and projections of thefuture as images, sounds and feelings.

Time Orientation

Past, Present and Future: Individual preference for referencing one’sperception of time. The past oriented person refers to history, enjoys nostalgiaand relies on precedent to provide them with standards. Change has to be triedand tested before they will accept it. The present oriented person lives in themoment, likes instant gratification and does not make long term plans. Thefuture oriented person plans, works and lives for the future, sometimes at theexpense of ongoing experience. A combination of all three allows people tobenefit from past experience, act in the present and plan for the future. Theyare also able to derive the most benefit from activities which relate to anyone of the three orientations, eg a lawyer, who sails and invests in property.


Any state alteration from a pre-calibrated baseline state. Commonly usedto refer to states induced by someone using hypnotic techniques, whether selfor other.

Triple Description

Three different approaches to a single concept, preferably covering allthree main representational systems, or three major perceptual positions. Formodelling purposes, one can obtain a triple description by modelling threedifferent experts in a particular field.

Unconscious mind(other than conscious mind)

Those parts of one’s mental processes currently outside consciousawareness. Given that the conscious mind can only hold 7 + or – 2 chunks ofinformation simultaneously, and the unconscious mind holds the bulk of one’sinformation, the unconscious mind is worth cultivating.

Universal Quantifiers

Words denoting totality of quantity, eg all, every, none.

Unspecified Verbs

Verbs which apply to generic activity;?|mp

Up-time State

In NLP a state where your attention is directed outwardthrough your external senses with minimum attention to inner subjectiveexperience. Often it includes long distance and peripheral vision, an absenceof internal dialogue, and optimal physiological posture and movement. An ‘uptime’ state is particularly useful for activities requiring constant input ofhigh quality information, such as presenting to groups.


Those tenets upon which an individual’s life is founded, made up ofbeliefs and ideals arising from the person’s culture and family of origin,combined with their understanding of their own life experience. Normallyclassified in a hierarchy of importance. Eg stealing may be unacceptablenormally, but with no money, and hungry dependents, one might steal for foodand remain true to one’s values.

Vestibular System

Originates from the Latin word vestibule, which means to contain orhold. The vestibular system is the sensory apparatus we use to orient ourbodies in space, and to detect whole body movement. Its physical location isthe semi-circular canals in the ear, and the whole nervous system. As arepresentation system, the vestibular system is involved in the integration ofinformation in the other representational systems, synaesthesia patterns, andthe ability to dissociate and associate. Use of the adjectives and verbs whichpredicate the vestibular system produces rapid induction of trance states inmany subjects.


A representation of your desired future incorporating your mostcompelling submodalities. It can be literal or metaphorical. Can also refer toan internal visual representation that the seer believes is likely to happeneither to themselves or to others.


Pertaining to sight or the act of seeing.


The recall or construction in the visual modality of a picture, movie orvisible scene. Refers to internal pictorial representation.


Those conditions which, when met provide for a strategy to be workableand ecological for its owner or those conditions which when met ensure that anoutcome is well formed.

Well formed Outcome

An outcome that is stated in positive terms, has defined resources, isunder the individuals control and respects positive by-products of the presentstate. see Present State.

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