What is modality and submodality in NLP?

The modality and submodality in NLP is about our understanding about the universe. We need to be familiar with the structures and the methods of interpreting the universe for changing our understanding about it. Being familiar with the modality and submodality’s concept and operation is necessary for understanding our kind of view about the universe.

NLP says our understanding of the universe is happening through our senses. In the way that we receive information from the world around, represent them internally, then by analyzing this information (deletion, distortion, and generalization) get into our understanding of the world around. Therefore, it is natural that our understanding of the universe be different from the reality of the universe. By this definition, you can realize that the human’s understanding about the world is not fixed and unchangeable. Thus, by knowing the structure of modalities and submodalities, we can change our understanding of the universe for developing and having a better life.

What is modality?

What is modality?

Modality in NLP is the inner image of what is received by your five senses. This mental image includes images, sounds, and all that is received by your senses. For example, you see a driving accident. There are a lot of details about it and you can see some of them. But is the mental image of the accident the same as what you’ve seen some hours later? Absolutely not. Some of the parts of this image are probably highlighted for you and are more striking in your mind. Probably some sections have also been removed.

Whatever remains in your mind about accident is definitely different from the reality that happened. Modality is exactly the mental image that has been created within you from the original accident. Modalities are made by our preferred channels. That is, visual, auditory and sensory channels. (For having more information about preferred channels, read this article: “What is the preferred channel and how can we use it to achieve effective relationship?”). Because we receive information from the world through our preferred channels. Therefore, the modalities can be divided into three categories: visual, auditory and sensory.

What is submodality?

What is submodality?

Submodality is distinctive feature of modality. As we said, the modalities fall into three categories: visual, auditory and sensory. In fact, submodalities are the features that describe our images, sounds, and senses in more details. For example, you can describe a mental image by it’s color, size, clarity, distance, or closeness. These features are called submodality. In the following, some more common submodalities are mentioned.

Common visual submodalities

-black and white or colorful

-far or near

-being on or off

-image location

-Our associated or dissociated with the mental image

– The image is focused or not

– Having or not having a frame

– Animated or fixed image

– In case of being animated: fast, normal or slow

– Two and three dimensional image

Common audible submodalities

-loud or low sound

-far or near sound

– Internal or external sound

– Stereo or mono sound

– Fast or slow sound

– Bass sound

– Tone of sound

– Musical or not musical sound

– Sound transparency

– Sound pauses

– Sound location

Common sensual submodalities

-Strong or weak

– Large area or small area

– Heaviness or lightness (in weight)

– Place

– Soft or hard (about tissue)

– Fixed or alternative

– Cool or warm (about temperature)

– Size

– Shape

– The amount of Pressure

– The amount of vibration

What is the importance and functions of submodality?

What is the importance and functions of submodality?

We explain for understanding the importance and function of consciousness about the subject of submodalities and whether they are associated or dissociated. What is meant by associated or dissociated is how do you see your mental image? Where is your position when you see that image? If you observe yourself in the mental image, you are dissociated with it. If you do not see yourself in the mental image, you are associated with it. In this case, it’s said that you see the images through your eyes in the relevant mental image.

Now what’s the matter of being associated or dissociated? If you are associated with your mental image, the feelings in that memory (such as joy, sorrow, fear, etc.) will influence you more. If you are disassociated with that mental image and that memory, it’s like watching a movie. In this case, the feelings have little or no effect on you.

According to the above example, we can explain the benefits of knowing the submodalities. Suppose you are involved with a bad memory. You can represent the images of that memory within your mind. Most likely, you are visually associated with that memory. That’s why the feelings of that memory influences you a lot. In this mode, you can use NLP techniques to change the image from the associated to dissociated. In this way, the feelings in that memory lose it’s impression on you.

Submodalities are the key structure for NLP techniques

Submodalities are the key structure for NLP techniques

Submodalities are one of the essential parts of many techniques for making NLP changed. As mentioned above, working on one of the submodalities can reduce the negative impact of bad memories. Submodalities alone or as part of other NLP techniques are used to overcome bad habits such as smoking, overeating, changing beliefs and values, motivating, reducing stress, destroying phobias, etc. . Of course, it should be remembered that NLP usages are more than this.

Farshid Pakzat Reseach Group

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