NLP Now – The Meta Model

We talk to people, we communicate, using words, gestures, body movements, eye movements, tonality, it is how we understand each other, pass on information and gather information. It is  a whole body experience. We use language to express our thoughts and our experiences.

We have seen in the articles “NLP Now – The Map is Not the Territory” understanding George Miller’s 7 +/- 2 model of acquiring information, and “NLP Now – Surface Structure Deep Structure“, that the human mind will delete, distort and generalise information, as we absorb or take information in, and as we communicate our thoughts and experiences to others.

meta milton model iceberg effect

Meta, Milton model iceberg effect

It was Richard Bandler’s and John Grinder’s, the co-founders of NLP, observations and learnings from Milton H Erickson, Virginia Satir et al, that helped them understand language, the rules we use, the linguistics and transformational grammar, that the Meta Model came, and resulted in the 1975 book “The Structure of Magic“.

The Meta Model (click to understand the structure of the Meta Model) gives us the structure to notice what is missing from our own or other peoples understanding of the world, and the questions that will help us or them retrieve this missing information.

When we see something (V – visual), there are billions of pieces of information bombarding us at any one time. Reading this article, there are the words on the screen or on the paper if you have printed the article. How about the words you have already read, the words yet to be read, the area around the article, the walls of the room, the floor the ceiling, the colours, all the items on the table, these are still being absorbed into your brain, although you are not consciously aware of them all.

You delete these from your awareness.

As you are reading this article, there are sounds (A- auditory) that are there, perhaps sounds of cars, traffic, the sound of the fridge in the kitchen, the sounds of the clock. Many of these sounds are deleted from our awareness, although being absorbed into our inner mind.

There are smells, (O – olfactory), in the room or space you are occupying,maybe the polish someone use to clean, maybe the smell of the next meal cooking. You are not aware of these until they are mentioned.

The taste (G – gustatory) in your mouth, until I mentioned this, perhaps you were not aware of them.

How about your feet on the floor, (K – kinesthetic). Until I mentioned the feelings, one would assume that there would be no conscious knowledge of the. The hair on your head. Are you now aware of the hair?

We delete a lot of information or details as we acquire data, although at a non conscious level, this information is absorbed, our conscious world is depleted of this information.

It is the work of the NLP Practitioner to help the client to enrich their world with this missing information, to go to the deep structure, to chunk down to acquire knowledge and understanding, should it be needed and appropriate.

When a person or client communicates information, they (and we) will also delete information. for example:-

“Colin read a book”

there is a lot of missing information, which Colin, where did he read the book, what book did he read, how fast did he read, did he PhotoRead the book?

Again, it is the work of the NLP Practitioner to acquire or retrieve this information so that we or the client  has a better understanding of what is being said.

When the client or we take this information, we have to go on a Transderivational Search, go into our past experiences to make sense, to get an understanding, of what has been said, and often we distort this original information to fit our world, our understanding.

Consider the next sentence.

“She hit me.”

What do you understand? You will have come-up with an understanding of what was meant by this statement.

That resultant understanding will probably become the truth as you understand it, we therefore generalise this belief as the truth, and it is not, as there is a lot of missing information, as to how hard she hit me, with what did she hit me, and where did she hit me.

By using the Meta Model, we can chunk down, go to the deep structure, retrieve missing information, to obtain a full picture, a full understanding.

Articles investigating the language patterns used in the Meta Model. Click here.

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