Part 4 Submodalities


Submodalities refer to the sensory qualities or attributes of a sensory experience that help to define the experience. They are the building blocks of our subjective experience, and they include visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory qualities.

For example, in the visual modality, submodalities might include brightness, colour, size, and shape. In the auditory modality, submodalities might include pitch, volume, and tone. In the kinaesthetic modality, submodalities might include pressure, texture, and temperature.

Submodalities can be used in various therapies, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), to help individuals better understand and manage their internal experiences. For example, by changing the submodalities of a particular memory, individuals can change the way they feel about that memory, which can have a significant impact on their behaviour and emotions.

Working With Submodalities


What are Modalities?
Modalities are the main Representational Systems of Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic,
Olfactory and Gustatory.
What are Submodalites?
 These are the finer distinctions, the smaller ‘elements’ of each of the main modalities.
 Submodalities provide the coding of our Internal Representations. They are in a specific order, which gives us an understanding of the meaning of our Internal Representations.
 If we change the Submodalities of an Internal Representation, we are changing its coding and therefore its meaning to us.

 The Driver Submodality (and there can be more than one) is the Submodality that affects all the other submodalities. Change the Driver and you have a cascade effect through the rest of the submodalities, each one changing automatically as a result of changing the submodalities of the Driver. It is often referred to in NLP as ‘the difference that makes the difference’.
 The most commonly found drivers are Location, Colour and Association/Dissociation.
 Although these commonly tend to have the greatest effect, every individual is unique, so it may be a different driver for them. Never assume it will be the most common three. Be aware of their probability and use Sensory Acuity to spot the drivers when working with another person.
What are Universal Experiences?
 These refer to highly generalised experiences. E.g. ‘You know when you’re on a
crowded train and…’
 Because they are so generalised, they have lots of possible meanings.
 Because they are so generalised, they evoke a universal response in us

Experience Your Submodalities:


For this exercise, you will need a person to work with and your ‘Submodalities Checklist’, which is in this section of your manual, to help you record the submodalities of ‘like’ and ‘dislike’. This will aid you in easily spotting the Drivers, (the major differences) and doing the ‘Contrastive Analysis’, a simple process of noticing which submodalities are different between ‘like’ and dislike. ‘Like to Dislike’ can refer to virtually anything the client wants to change. For training purposes, the universal used is usually food.

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1. “Can you think of a food that you currently like but wish you did not? Good, what is
it? As you think about how much you like ___X___, do you have a picture?”
2. Elicit the Submodalities.
3. “Can you think of a food which is similar, but which you absolutely hate? Good, what
is it? When you think of how much you hate ____Y____ do you have a picture?”
4. Elicit the Submodalities. It is usual for the location to be significantly different!
5. Do a Contrastive Analysis of the two sets of Submodalities. Then change the
Submodalities of the food they like into the Submodalities of the food they hate.
Note the driver(s).
6. Future Pace. “As you think about X (the food you used to like) how is it different now?”
7. If possible and a great convincer, have the now disliked food available to offer the client. E.g. If they wanted to dislike chocolate, offer a bar of chocolate.
8. If no real food is available to proffer it to them in their imagination, “If I had X and were to offer you X now, would you want it?”

Results vs Excuses
An Excuse is just a Limiting Belief
1. “Do you have a Belief that you wish you did not have? Good, what is it? As you think about that Belief, do you have a picture?”
2. Elicit the Submodalities.
3. “Do you have a Belief which is no longer true? For example, the Belief that you are 10 years old, or that you go to secondary school, or the belief that Father Christmas is real. Do you have something like that? Something you used to believe was true, but you no longer do? Good, what is it? As you think about that old Belief of ______, do you have a picture? Where is that old Belief located? Point to it.” (The best results here occur when the location is significantly different to the location of the unwanted Belief!)
4. Elicit the Submodalities. (Use column 2.)
5. First Mapping Across – Change the Submodalities of the unwanted belief into the Submodalities of the ‘belief that is no longer true’.
6. Test – “Now, what do you think about that old Belief of________?”
7. “Do you have a Belief which for you is absolutely true? For example, the Belief that, ‘The sun is going to come up tomorrow.’ Or that, ‘I am a male/female.’ Or, ‘My son/daughter loves me.’ Or, ‘Breathing is good.’ Do you have a belief like that? One that is irrevocably true for you? Good, what is it? As you think about that Belief, do you have a picture?”
8. Elicit the Submodalities.
9. “What would you like to believe instead of that old Belief you used to have? Good, what is it? As you think about that Belief, do you have a picture?”
10. Change the Submodalities of the new belief into the Submodalities of the belief that is absolutely true.
11. Test – “What do you believe now? Why do you believe that?” (The new Belief) After Richard Bandler

Submodality Checklist And Elicitation


Mapping Across/Like To Dislike


Exercise – Like To Dislike


The Power Of Beliefs


Exercise – Submodality Belief Change


The Swish Pattern:


1. Elicit the unwanted State or Behaviour. It is vital to get the trigger: “How do you know nit’s time to __________? (e.g. feel bad.) When you think of that __________ (State or Behaviour) do you have a picture?” Break State (by asking a distracting question, such as ‘When did you leave home to get here today?’ or get them to ‘White out the picture.’)
2. Elicit the Desired State (DS): “How would you like to (feel/act) instead? When you think of that ___________(State or Behaviour) do you have a picture?”
3. (Optional) If necessary, assist the person in adjusting the Visual Submodalities of the Desired State for the most Positive Kinaesthetic.
4. “Good, now dissociate, step out of the picture, so you see your body in the picture.” Break state.
5. Make the Present State associated, looking through their own eyes: “Now, close your eyes and get the old picture and bring it up on the screen? Make sure that you are looking through your own eyes.”
6. Make the Desired State dissociated, watching themselves: “Good, as you have the old picture on the screen, add a small and dark desired picture in the lower left-hand corner. Make sure you are still seeing yourself in the picture.”                                                                                                                            7. Good, in a moment I will ask you to have the new picture explode up so that it covers the old picture, while the old picture shrinks down and becomes small and dark in the lower left hand corner, and now do that as quickly as I say sssswishhhhh!” “O.K.? sssswishhhhh!”
8. “Now, open your eyes and clear the screen.”
9. Break State (ask a distracting or irreverent question).
10. Repeat steps 5, 6, 8, and 9 at least five times and if necessary repeat, until the unwanted state or behaviour is no longer accessible.
11. Test and ‘Future Pace’, which is ‘trying it on’ and ‘acting as if’ in a future situation by asking the following questions:

To ‘Test and Future Pace’ – ask:
 “Can you remember an event in past, an event which if you’d thought about it earlier would have caused you to have had that old (Behaviour/State) and notice how it’s different now.”
 “Can you think of a similar event that might occur in the future and as you think about that upcoming event, just notice how it’s different now.”



(After Richard Bandler)
A technique for reducing or ridding oneself of an illogical fear.
1. Establish a resource anchor, a place of safety, and stacking positive states if necessary.
2. Acknowledge the person’s phobia as proof of their ability to learn quickly and never forget.
3. Have the person imagine they are sitting in the front row of a cinema looking up at a blank screen. Have them imagine themselves in the front row and yet floating out of their body into the projection booth so that they can see, through the thick glass of the projection room, their other self sitting in the cinema’s front row looking up at the screen.
4. Have them watch their other self in the front row, watching themselves on the screen, which is showing a typical phobia event personal to them. As they are experiencing their phobic response on the film, have them run the movie forward in black and white.
5. When the movie comes to an end have them white-out or black-out the screen.
6. Have them associate into the movie screen and run the movie at high speed backwards in colour.
7. When they get to the beginning of the movie, white-out or black-out the screen.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 until they can no longer access the negative feeling internally; the Ki has totally gone. (Note: When writing the ‘shorthand coding’ in NLP, an internal feeling, ‘Kinaesthetic internal’ is usually written as ‘Ki’ to differentiate from touch, coded as Ke –Kinaesthetic external.)
9. Test and Future Pace.
10. Check ecology. If necessary use a SWISH pattern to install a new, more appropriate behaviour. (See above for the SWISH script.)

From Richard Bandler & John Grinder
This pattern allows you to create new behaviours and run them through your mind before actually trying them out in the real world. You mentally rehearse your future behaviour and so pace yourself into this new future. Future pacing also allows you to run an ecology check:
i.e. Is it sustainable? Is it right in all aspects of your life?
STEPS: Be clear that there is some change you wish to make. Directions refer to YOUR right & left.
1. Eyes: Look down left – Ad (Auditory Digital – Self-Talk)
Talk to yourself. Ask yourself, “What do I want to do differently?” Say to yourself, “If I could do that, what would it look like?” As you say this lead
yourself into Vc.
2. Eyes: Look up right – Vc (Visual Construct –Making new pictures) See yourself (Dissociated) doing that new behaviour. Notice what happens to your state and the effect upon any other people involved.
3. Eyes: Look down right – K (Kinaesthetic – Feelings) Step into the experience and feel how it feels. The kinaesthetic check is a crucial part of
your evidence procedure. It enables you to evaluate your new behaviour and make any necessary adjustments.
4. Cycle round at least three times Notice the trigger cue that tells you it is time to run the new behaviour. Make any necessary adjustments or modifications to the new behaviour. Find some alternatives – you may make changes or add in new pieces – and then run them through in your
mind’s eye. Watch what happens and then associate into it to check the associated feeling.
5. Future Pace
 Think of a time in the future when you will want to have this choice of behaviour.
 Notice the cue or trigger that tells you it is time to do it.
 Imagine yourself in that context and then run through the new behaviour dissociated.
 As you watch yourself, notice what happens and then associate into the future you and check the feelings. If you need to change anything go back to the previous step,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        STEP 4,until you get a positive K (Kinaesthetic – Feeling) check.
 When you have it perfect, then cycle through four or five times.

Review Of Submodalities