Submodalities are the fine details of representational systems. In the late 1970s the developers of NLP started playing around with the submodalities of representational systems involving the enhancement of visualization techniques (common in sports psychology and meditation), by including other sensory systems.

Submodalities involve the relative size, location, brightness of internal images, the volume and direction of internal voices and sounds, and the location, texture, and movement of internally created sensations.

A typical change process may involve manipulating the submodalities of internal representations. For example, someone may see their future as ‘dark and cloudy’ with associated emotions, but would seek through NLP to perceive, and feel it, as ‘light and clear’. Other training exercises develop a person’s ability to move around internal images, change the quality of sounds and find out how these effect the intensity of internal feelings or other submodalities.

Although NLP did not discover submodalities, it appears that the proponents of NLP may have been the first to systematically use manipulation of submodalities for therapeutic or personal development purposes, particularly phobias, compulsions and addictions

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