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Submodalities in therapy


Following my last piece on sensory systems, there’s another, even more fundamental, level of the sensory systems. This is the level of submodalities. Each sense system (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) could be considered as a “modality” (i.e., a sense modality). In the same way that molecules are composed of atoms, so modalities are made up of submodalities. Submodalities are the individual elements, the finer components, of the sense modalities. Visual submodalities include brightness, colour and size. Auditory submodalities include volume, tempo and pitch. Kinaesthetic submodalities include quality, intensity and location (around the body).

Again, the action is more with inner experiences than outer. The actual content of our inner experiences evidently shapes our response to them. Content is also arranged in terms of submodalities (e.g., an image will have a particular size, brightness level, focus, etc.), which further influence our response. In NLP, submodalities are at least as important as the actual content of an experience. You can change your response to an experience by adjusting its submodalities.

Shaun Brookhouse

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