International association of HNLP

NLP Principle Training

Filters of the mind

Deletion, Distortion, Generalization.

NLP Practitioner Training Certification

One of the many things you will experience when you come to our accredited nlp training courses is how the filters of the mind work.Within this exclusive nlp training you will learn the Meta Model.All of our nlp courses will cover this subject.Once you have learnt how to use the Meta Model your steps towards becoming a proficient Life Coach or NLP Practitioner will become so much clearer.

Filters of the mind

When you attend our nlp training course or our hypnotherapy training you will begin to understand the importance of knowing these filters. This exclusive nlp and hypnotherapy training will move your understanding to a new level of confidence.Knowing theses filters is paramount in nlp and hypnotherapy training.The best way to think of these filters is like a pair of Ray-Ban sun glasses.As you know,Ray-Ban stop certain rays of light coming in to protect your eyes.This is similar to your filters of the mind.These filters are working all of the time,we are always deleting,distorting and generalising. I can only assume that you would like to come on to our nlp practitioner training or hypnotherapy training because you would like to become a Life Coach or an nlp practitioner.If this is the case give me a call.


Think of the filter of deletion as natures economy program. Without it, our brain would overload, as we have so much information coming in at any one time, that large parts of the information will get deleted. So, because of deletion, our perception can change dramatically as we are missing bits of information about our experience as it goes through our Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory or Gustatory filtering. All of our learning is state dependent, in other words, if we are not interested or in a unresourceful state, our brain will find other subjects or things that it will be attracted to (The path of least resistance). George Miller introduced the idea that we can only deal with ‘seven, plus or minus two’ bits of information at any given time. Whenever we focus on any of our senses, because of that focus, we delete some of the attention away from the other senses.

Let’s just say, how does someone know when they are appreciated? They might be told that they are a good cook, maybe even thanked and kissed for the time and effort that was taken to prepare the meal. If the person has learned to associate appreciation with some emotional pain, then the action and comments of appreciation will be deleted or shrugged off, and this could lead to an unexpected response. You are reading this and hopefully finding this fascinating, you are not aware of the way you are sitting or the position your feet are in. What about the sounds outside, or the sound of a clock? Our brain enjoys learning, in fact, that’s its job, and sometimes it’s not bothered about what it learns, which is really quite unique and gives you the opportunity to change your learning. Of course, that depends on you knowing that there is information you want to learn. The interesting thing with the brain, is that it has learnt information that may be un-resourceful now but was resourceful at some other time, and that particular response you learnt is now outdated. Your unconscious mind, over time, has managed to look after all those things that you’re unaware of. It has deleted them from your conscious mind and put them somewhere in your memory, so, if need be, you may retrieve this information.


When we fantasise or dream, we use the filter of distortion. For us to plan the future, we distort time with the prediction of actions. No one knows what the future will be. We use experiences from the past and tend to shift the information through Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory, filtering into the future and then use that as an example of how we think it will pan out to be. Dr Richard Bandler remarked that, "disappointment needs good planning."

We can put all sorts of resourceful states into the future that can help us achieve our goals, or we can put un-resourceful states into the future to distort our goals. This is why there is nothing good or bad about distortion; it all depends on how well it serves you. Within our references to the past we are able to generalise them to help us. On the other hand, if we generalise un-resourceful states, we could end up using these states as a guide to predict the future. Once again, we have then distorted the future with a generalisation which, in turn, could create a learnt response. Distortion comes in all different shapes and sizes. It’s distortion and generalisation that lets us know whether it was a good night out. Oh yes, I forgot to mention… deletion.


Korzybski’s Law of Individuality states that, "No two persons or situations or stages of process are the same in detail". Korzybski noted that we have far fewer words and concepts than unique experiences, and this tends to lead to the identification or confusion of two or more situations that are known as generalisations.

Through our generalisation comes the basis of all our learning. Knowing how to do something to a satisfactory standard (e.g. driving a car) takes time and practice. This is when beliefs of our capabilities are evident, and then these behaviours become habitual and unconscious. We use experiences from the past and tend to shift the information through Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory, filtering. Let’s use a car in this statement:

"I like my car"

We have to know what a car is, and because of our experiences from the past and a repetition of evidence, we have a general representation of what the word ‘car’ means. We can also assume that the use of the car is a form of transport, because we have generalised the usefulness of the car. It is because of our assumptions that, through past experiences, we could go as far as to think that an adult made the statement. So what happens when you see someone look at you in a certain way, triggering off a surprising response? Of course, this situation may have an interesting result. The way you respond to what is happening is a learnt response. This may have happened many times before and then become generalised, or it may have happened just once. This experience is known as ‘one-time learning’.

Generalisations are the mechanisms which generate "beliefs."

Cliff Partridge
HNLP Trainer
NLP Master Practitioner