Amplyfying States through Language

The accessing of certain states through anchoring is well known ground on an NLP practitioner training.

Anchoring is the process of associating an internal response with some external trigger so that the response may be quickly, and sometimes covertly, re-accessed.

Anchoring can be

– visual (as with specific facial expressions),

– auditory (by using specific words and voice tone),

– and kinaesthetic (as when touching an arm or hand etc.)


Criteria for anchoring:

a) intensity or purity of experience;

b) timing; at peak of experience;

c) accuracy of replication of anchor.


Commands and suggestions such as:

– can you remember a time when  …

– or imagine a time …

– or have you ever felt …

… and just think of the time when you felt total pleasure.

Basically using this type of language structure we are seeking to get the person to associate with a full experience of that emotion.

If the practitioner accesses that emotion first then increases the likelihood the subject will too, particularly if the two are in rapport.

The degree of association will influence the full intensity experience by the person.

So commands like “imagine you are right back then now, right back in there experience seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, feeling how you felt” will increase the association further. This is the direct approach, I will return to an indirect approach in another article.

When we talk about amplifying a state, we are referring to increasing the intensity of the experience.

We can directly amplify the submodalities of the internal experience – eg. increase the size of the picture, up the volume of the sound.

We can amplify through our gestures playing with the internal qualities physically treating it as real.

We can use adverbs to our language, which can be very slick if combined with known content, just as descriptive as a novel building the image and full experience.

Likewise we can reduce the intensity just watch the unwanted memory fade in the background and become a distant forgotten wispy dream.


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