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Submodalities are the building blocks that structure our perception through our senses: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic (feelings), Olfactory (smell), Gustatory (taste)... what we know as reality. Submodalities are the qualities that we use to structure our experience. They are the fundamental components of our experience. The belief in NLP is that all experience has a structure and that structure can be modelled, learnt, taught and changed (re-programmed) to a way which will be useful and effective.

There is always a difference in the way we perceive an action that we like doing, to that of an action we know we should do but we are not motivated to do. This is because of the structure of the internal representation which is made up of submodalities. We change the submodalities so that we can begin to feel motivated and go towards what we want.

For example:

Choose something you want to do but you keep putting off. It could be something that’s not that important or something that is important. As you think about that, you begin to make a visual representation using certain distinctions and qualities (submodalities). These distinctions and qualities are what builds the structure to our reality. Another way you can immediately be aware of your feelings, which are connected to your 'submodalities', is to go to the contact page and then back to this page and notice how you feel about the comparison of the two images. In other words, submodalities are the qualities that make the representation undesirable or desirable.

The term ‘submodality’ is a misrepresentation in itself because ‘sub’ implies below or under. Submodalities are parts of the wholeness of our internal experience and are above our conscious awareness.

As we experience an event which comes via our sensory input channels, it depends on the intensity of the experience as to how well we remember it (the higher the intensity, the better the memory). That’s why you find it difficult to remember occasions with a low intensity, like when you made a cup of tea in April 1976. Submodalities are the finer distinctions and instructions that the brain uses to encode experience. These qualities are not fixed. We all have the ability to change these distinctions. By changing our submodalities we can then change the meaning and by changing the meaning this will result in changing our response.

Joseph O’connor said,

"Being able to make a fine distinction in the submodalities of representational systems is also the basis of talent and achievement in many professions. The ability to make clear mental pictures is the basis of art, design and architecture. Musical talent is the ability to make fine auditory distinctions. Athletic talent is the ability to make fine distinctions in the kinaesthetic system, leading to greater body awareness and control. Being able to notice and enjoy kinaesthetic submodalities is also the basis of all pleasure."

So, now knowing what you know, means there are even more ways that you can keep on learning, as you look forward to gaining new information on even more interesting pages.

Cliff Partridge
HNLP Trainer
NLP Master Practitioner