Orientation in time is a phrase originally used by Milton Erickson, M.D. to describe the ability of people to fully associate into experiences in the past, as well as the imagined future.

NLP discovered that people do not have to be in a hypnotic trance to experience orientation in time in this way. In fact, people in ordinary states of mind regularly recall memories in an associated way, replaying them representationally as if they were in them.

Associated memories in time may be pleasant or unpleasant depending on content, with predictable resulting responses. Neurological and physiological responses to associated memories are often equally as strong as the original events, suggesting that, at least in some contexts, the brain does not distinguish between present (“real”), remembered, or imagined events.