Sub Modalities

Checklist of Possible Sub-modalities


1) Movie or still frames
2) Panorama or framed (if framed, the shape of frame)
3) Color or black and white
4) Brightness
5) Size of picture (life size, larger or smaller)
6) Size of central object(s)
7) Self in or out of picture
8) Distance of picture from sell
9) Distance of central object from sell
10) 3 D quality
11) Intensity of color (or black and white)
12) Degree of contrast
13) Movement (if so, fast or slow tempo)
14) Focus ( which parts – in or out)
15) Intermittent or steady focus
16) Angle viewed from
17) Number of pictures (shifts)
18) Location
19) Other?


1) Volume
2) Cadence (interruptions, groupings)
3) Rhythm (regular, irregular)
4) Inflections ( words marked out, low)
5) Tempo
6) Pauses
7) Tonality
8) Timbre (quality, where resonating from)
9) Uniqueness of sound (gravelly, smooth and so on)
10) Sound move around – spatial
11) Location
12) Other?


1) Temperature
2) Texture
3) Vibration
4) Pressure
5) Movement
6) Duration
7) Steady – Intermittent
8) Intensity
9) Weight
10) Density
11) Location
12) Other?

For Pain:

1) Tingling
2) Hot – Cold
3) Muscle tension
4) Sharp – Dull
5) Pressure
6) Duration
7) Intermittent (such as throbbing)
8) Location
9) Other?

Take a minute to remember a recent pleasant experience you have had. Actually step into that experience. See what you saw through your own eyes: the events, images, colors, brightness, and so on. Hear what you heard: the voices, sounds, and so on. Feel what you felt: emotions, temperature and so on. Experience what that is like. Now step out of your body and feel yourself stepping away from the situation but from a place where you can still see yourself over there in the experience. Imagine the experience as if you were watching yourself in a movie. What is the difference in your feelings? In which were the feelings most intense, the first example or the second? The difference between these is the difference between an associated experience and a disassociated experience.

By using sub-modality distinctions like association versus disassociation, you can radically change your experience of life. Remember, we have learned that all human behavior is the result of the state we are in, and that our states are created by our internal representations – the things we picture, say to ourselves, and so on. Just as a movie director can change the effect his movie has on an audience, you can change the effect any experience in life has upon yourself. A director can change the camera angle, the volume and type of music, the speed and amount of movement, the color and quality of the image, and thus create any state he wants in his audience. You can direct your brain in the same way to generate any state or behavior that supports your highest goals or needs.

Let me show you how. It is very important that you do these exercises, so you might want to read each one through, then stop and actually do it before reading on. It might be fun to do the exercises with someone else. Take turns giving the cues and responding to them.

Think of a very pleasant memory. It can be recent or distant. Just close your eyes, relax, and think of it. Now take that image and make it brighter and brighter. As the image brightens, be aware of how your state changes. Next bring your mental picture closer to you. Now stop and make it bigger. What happens when you manipulate the image? It changes the intensity of the experience. For the vast majority of people, making an already pleasant memory bigger and brighter and closure creates an even more powerful image and more pleasant. It increases the power and pleasure of the internal representation. It puts you in a much more powerful, more joyous state.

All people have access to the three modalities or representational systems – visual, auditory and Kinesthetic. But people rely to different degrees on different representational systems. Many people access their brain primarily in a visual framework. They react to the pictures they see in their head. Others are primarily auditory and some others kinesthetic. These people react most strongly to what they hear or feel. So after you have varied the visual frames, let us try the same thing with the other representational systems.

Bring back the pleasant memory we have worked with so far. Raise the volume of the voices or sounds you hear. Give them more rhythm, more bass, a change in timbre. Make them stronger and more affirmative. Now do the same with kinesthetic sub-modalities. Make the memory warmer and softer and smoother than it was before. What happens to your feelings about the experience now?

Not all people respond in the same ways. Kinesthetic cues in particular elicit different responses in different people. Most of you probably found that making the image brighter or larger enhanced it. It have the internal representation more intensity, made it more appealing and most important, it put you in a more positive, more resourceful state. When these exercises are done in counseling sessions, experts can see exactly what’s happening in a person’s mind just by watching his physiology. His breathing gets deeper, his shoulders straighten, his face relaxes, and his whole body seems more alert.