NLP Practitioner

Representational Systems

Written by Lee Avery

We experience the world through our senses and we store this experience into our memories. Our internal representation of the world is based upon the sensory input that we receive as we move through our lives. Within NLP we classify the 5 senses into VAKog or Visual (sight), Auditory (sound), Kinesthetic (touch), olefactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) with the first three (VAK) being of primary importance as they are the most easily manipulated of the representations and the strongest used by individuals to understand their environment.


sight-iconVisual – To See

As long as we are sighted, from the moment we awake to the moment we go to sleep we are bombarded with visual stimuli. Colours, shapes, movements, size and perspective are all parts of the visual palette that makes up our internal representations of the world. When we dream more often than not the dreams will be picture driven movies created by our minds.

sound-iconAuditory – To Hear

Our experience is full of sound and much of the time we pay little attention to them. Unless we concentrate we are unlikely to consciously notice the sounds that they are projected into our minds, however every sound impacts us in ways which shape the very fabric of our personality. From the loudest bang to the quietest whisper each sound has its own personal meaning.


touch-iconKinesthetic – To Touch

The feeling of lying in front of a warm fire, the cold rain falling on the face, the touch of a loved one. Our skin is the largest organ in the body and it has millions of sensors all passing information back to the brain where it is interpreted and stored. Our kinesthetic representations can be some of the strongest as they are a direct stimulus, they travel through no medium of air.


smell-iconOlfactory – To Smell

One of our weaker senses and within the animal kingdom our olfactory sense is weak and feeble, and yet for us the impact of smell on recalling a memory can be incredibly intense. A single momentary smell of something vaguely familiar can fire off a cascade of memories putting us into an intensely heightened emotional state.


mouth-iconGustatory – To Taste

Our tongue offers just 5 different variations in Salt, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami and yet these five combine to make subtle and delicate distinctions in our minds. As a baby we put objects in our mouths to taste and understand them but our representation of the world through our tongue is limited and within the confines of NLP is paid little attention.



About the author

Lee Avery

Professional Therapist, Clinical Hypnosis & NLP Trainer with over 25 years of experience in training new professionals and treating clients. He specialises in Trauma related Psychological health issues. After years of running training classes Lee has decided to publish his training materials online to further the accessibility of NLP and Hypnosis. He is an advocate for Clinical Hypnosis Excellence and is constantly looking to improve the professional standing of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy within the medical community.

He also runs Achieving Greatness a software development company producing mobile apps for the mental health community.

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