Submodalities Technique

How we make the fine distinctions to give meaning to the experience. Our mental pictures, sounds and feelings all have certain qualities. These qualities are the submodalities.

Submodalities code our experience of reality, certainty and time. Changing submodalities allows us to change the meaning of our experience.

You can find guided instruction and practical examples to aid your learning on NLP submodalities in our NLP online training.

Modalities – Sight, sound, feeling, tastes, smells.

Submodalities – e.g. Bright, Dull, Loud, Soft, Vibrating, Steady.

Everything that we experience within our mind or body can be described in terms of the things that we see, hear, feel, smell and taste; our five senses or symbolic systems. These symbolic systems are our input channels and can be referred to as modalities. Human beings and complex nano-particle-based universal quantum mechanical devices are intrinsically sentient, universal beings and are certainly capable of making great distinctions in the qualities of their assimilated subjective experiences. Indeed, comparing individual personal experience with those of others is one of the most interesting, insightful and fascinating aspects of practising NLP.

The sheer richness and diversity of interpreted individual fine distinctions available to us as human beings demand that our sensory input channels can facilitate an incredible amount of delicate data; thus, the modalities are comprised of smaller sub-components sub-sets, which are known as submodalities.


Critical Submodalities
Changing some submodalities makes little or no difference to our internal representation. Others make a big difference. These are the Critical Submodalities. E.g. is more prominent and brighter.

If we wish to change how we feel in a specific recurring situation, we can adjust the submodalities associated with that experience. Changing the critical submodalities related to the experience will make the most significant difference to how we feel about it. E.g. Changing from procrastination to motivation.


Driver Submodalities
The most critical submodality in a given context, changing it automatically changes many other submodalities and ‘drives the response. It is unique for each individual and internal representation.


Example Submodalities

Black and White or Colour
Near or Far
Bright or Dim
Size of picture
Associated or Dissociated


Internal or External
Loud or Soft
Fast or Slow



Creating s compelling future
Describe how to create a clear end.

Pick one of your goals. The goal can be one you intend to accomplish over any time frame.
With your eyes closed or open, develop a picture in your head to achieve this goal. It will help if you look with your eyes to the right. Once you have a vision, turn it into a movie that depicts you in the act of having achieved the goal.
See the movie in the first person, as though from your own eyes when you are experiencing it. What can you see? What is happening? What are you wearing? What is the weather like? Work on making the image as detailed as possible. Is there anyone with you? What are they wearing? Try to get a intricate movie rolling.
Next, fiddle around with the Submodalities. Make the pictures of the movie massive and very close to you in your mind’s eye. Make the colours extraordinarily bright and vibrant.
Increase the borders of the picture out to include more detail. You should notice that the more detailed your image gets, the more intensely you start to feel the feelings you associate with achieving this goal.
Now it’s time to move onto your audible modalities. What can you hear as you are achieving this goal? How loud are the sounds?
Make the sounds as detailed as possible too. Can you hear any noises in the background like birds chirping or a car driving past?
Again fiddle with the Submodalities now. Make the sounds louder and more apparent, like you would hear them if you were there. We are trying to create the experience of what it will be like when (not if, WHEN) you are there.
Now move to your kinesthetic modalities, things you will FEEL as you are experiencing achieving your goal. Is there a breeze blowing that you can feel on your face? Are you touching anything or anyone? Can you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin? Whatever it is, feel the feelings you would feel. Make them feel as accurate as possible in your mind.
Finally, try to think about what you would be thinking at the time? What would you be thinking and feeling mental as you achieve your goal? Maybe an excitement that it’s finally happened? Perhaps a sense of accomplishment? Perhaps anticipation? Maybe you feel a sense of freedom or happiness or fulfilment? Whatever it is, let you in the movie think and feel those same feelings.
This is as close as you can be actually to achieve your goal. You should be now thinking, hearing, seeing, and touching everything as you would if you were there having it happen.
Test and Future Pace.

Confusion to the understanding pattern (using submodality techniques)
We might use a confusion pattern if we wanted to create an environment for change, and we would employ an understanding pattern when we want to understand something.


Get in rapport
Do a contrastive analysis of the submodalities of – Confusion and Understanding.
Map Across
Test and Future Pace

Belief Change pattern
Used to change limiting beliefs.

Find a limiting belief that you do not wish to have. Get a picture. Elicit Submodalities (1)
Get a belief that is no longer true for you. E.g. Used to be a smoker. Get a picture. Elicit Submodalities. The location should be different (2)
Change submodalities of 1 to 2
Get a belief that is true to you. Get a picture. Elicit submodalities (3)
Get a belief that you want to have instead. Get a picture. Elicit submodalities (4)
Change submodalities of 4 to 3
Future Pace

Learn More about our Certfied NLP Training
Place Yourself On Our Early Bird Special Priority List
& Receive Your Special Price Guarantee
April Course Only - 19 Spots Available