Advanced NLP Submodality Pattern
The Reality Washing Machine
by Silvia Hartmann
This is an important tool, a very handy thing which turned up
again this morning.
I'm quite amazed how well it works, as well, and how profoundly long lasting it
The core of it is the "meaning" of words.
A word is a label or shortcut for this whole data stream which translates then
via the various GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces) into pictures, sounds and
Having been involved in psychology for some time now, I know you can have a
person on the couch for three hours at a time, five days a week, for 35 years or
more and NEVER make any particular inroads as long as the meanings of the
words isn't changed.
NLP is interesting because it deals with the RELATIONSHIP between individual
words in its patterns, for example,
"Everyone knows Father Christmas isn't real."
This is a cocktail of individual words which one can challenge with other
"What is your evidence procedure?"
"Was there ever a time when he was?"
"How do they know that?"
"What do you mean by "know"?"
"How do you define "real"?"
and so forth.
There is a difference in challenging the cocktail, or the INDIVIDUAL COMPONENT -
a single word, for example.
This is also done in NLP
"Everyone? WHO exactly IS everyone?"
This is the trick with redefinitions.
If you change the component of the cocktail, the cocktail changes immediately
and dramatically - and will never be the same again. A Tequila Sunrise with
urine instead of orange juice, poured from a bottle labelled "Orange Juice", is
an experience that is hard to forget ...
To change the definition of the word, "father", for example, or, "family" from
the inside out rather than to replace or work AROUND the word and leave it as it
is, is an incredibly powerful shortcut.
If you do it via submodalities, it gets even better still.
Let's take a really big example.
What happens inside when someone uses the word of GOD?
What do you see, hear, feel, what's the movie being played?
I did this this morning with someone and I really had to laugh - they had the
old guy with the beard, grim and grisly in the clouds, towering like the Empire
State building viewed from the ant's point, thunderbolts and the booming voice
of rage - the whole Hollywood Christian works.
I, on the other hand, have something that is easiest described as the "flying
stars" opening sequence from StarTrek, or that old screensaver, only it's
ENORMOUS, all directions, full spherical, and the stars are all multicoloured
and dance into eternity. They sing, too. An incredible hum of what I think of as
"solar music". And the sensation that accompanies it is one of immense
excitement and intense peace at the same time.
When I told the person of *my* God-movie, they went, "Oh wow! Now I'm getting
it! Why you get so excited about God and the creative order! I could never
understand that ..."
Next, this really interesting thing happened whereby they couldn't get their
Hollywood movie back in the "God" position when they thought of God - it was
"like an old postcard way down and half behind me, to the left, the size of a
I hadn't done anything other than to describe *my* version of God - it seems
they simply immediately replaced their OLD movie with a NEW and more desirable
representation, instantly and without any problems whatsoever.
Thing is that submodalities are LIKE THAT - they UPDATE AUTOMATICALLY to the
latest "highest taste" immediately and as soon as this has been discovered.
This "latest" submodality production stays in place until a new experience
occurs and the old rep is replaced with a new one.
No zipping, no whooshing, no comparing of positions - it's all completely
AUTOMATIC and as simple as that.
I've redefined "woman" in that way because after 25 years, I sort of gave up on
EVER seeing the end to my contortions on the topic, and it is interesting that
even a first attempt at re-defining the conscious construct of such a thing
produces already a noticeably improved internal representation all round - and
one that is called IN PREFERENCE TO the old existing ones, even though they are
as old as I am, as soon as I think or use the word, "woman".
This morning, we did "family".
The person I was talking to immediately understood, when they brought the
representations of what THEY MEANT BY THAT into consciousness, that it had all
the hallmarks of a BAD BAD submodality event which causes endless problems:
1. It was a PHOTOGRAPH and not even a movie. A family photograph!
2. It was outdated - as photos tend to become, instantly. There was a father in
the picture who had died like years ago - when that snapshot had been taken.
3. It was THE WRONG TIME OF YEAR - Christmas strikes again ...
4. The soundtrack was the voice of an uncle saying, "Smile everybody!" over and
over again ... oh my GOD!
So, how's your FAMILY today?
"Ah ... we've drifted apart ..." sighs sadly as the shoulders droop ...
We re-defined "family".
First, the people became lights. They were all the same colour to start with,
then they changed into different colours as none of them were "the same" as any
of them. Then they started to move and when they did, the person in question
heaved a huge sigh of relief and stated, "If you look at it like that, perhaps
family isn't so bad, after all ..."
Yeah well you MIGHT AS WELL look at it like that!
It's just a WORD. Like all the other words.
And to get the screw driver out and deal with the word directly, rather than
getting side tracked into all sorts, really has some HUGE time saving aspects
and many other advantages.
It's also a fascinating lesson in eliciting submodalities for a very specific
context, easily done, completely under conscious control, and REALLY shows up
how the flaws in the submodalities are CREATING thought and behaviour as a
It really is the easiest way to re-wire a whole heap of things, big things, and
So please take this pattern into your home or practice group and have a go at
Lots of words to choose from and play with, and some of them, like God or Family
or Women are real key DOMINO STONES which if you push those, whole houses of
illusion and delusion cards come delightfully tumbling down.
Here's the pattern in brief:
1. Find a word that causes trouble.
For example: life, health, wealth, power, love, magic, time, spirit, body, mind,
man, woman, child, husband, wife, partner, sex, mother, father, family, God,
Jesus, Satan, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, [Your Name], work, success, abundance,
joy, happiness, intelligence, wisdom, sensitivity, creativity, business, play,
2. Find out what exactly that is supposed to MEAN for an individual - elicit the
full body movie experience they're having when they hear the word, or think of
Take your time and have them describe it, know it, re-live it in all its
limitations and misery. Just so we know how USELESS that definition was and how
it has limited us, for a bit of impetus and desire for CHANGE.
3. Make a whole new definition, one that is much more pleasant, and also
interestingly, much more REALISTIC, REAL, LOGICAL, CORRECT whilst we're at it.
4. Every so often, test yourself to find out if the new meaning is in place yet,
and what is happening to the old one as you are strengthening the new one by
making it more REAL, REALISTIC, LOGICAL, AND CORRECT.
5. When the old meaning has become clearly the past, whichever way that
represents to an individual, and the new one comes up as soon as "the function
is called" or the word appears in internal or external situations, TEST some
more with calling the function from different angles and situations when in the
past it used to cause trouble.
6. When you're satisfied and delighted, have a mini-celebration and break state
before taking the next word for re-definition and sticking in the "reality
7, By all means, take some time to reflect on how in changing the MEANINGS of
individual words, all the cocktails that contain them have now also changed.
One more thing. If a movie or picture or representation absolutely refuses to
budge, and/or causes intense sensations of discomfort, TAP on it. Just the word
you're dealing with and which has evoked the representation and the response,
nothing else. I consider EFT to be a good if not essential add on to NLP because
at the very least it is kinaesthetic in nature and can and does truly "shake up"
entrenched systems so something comes loose and you get forward momentum.
Love to hear about your experiences with this one,
all the best,