Glossary: S

Systemic thinking

Thinking in terms of pattern recognition, recursive manifestation of patterns, relationship between parts of a system, relationship between systems, patterns at similar and different logical levels, and patterns between logical levels.


The sensory components within each of the modalities of the senses. Eg the sensory modality of visualisation is made up of components such as brightness, colour, hue, size and whether the image is framed of unframed etc. The auditory sensory modality has components such as stereo or mono, loudness, tempo and timbre quality etc.


Any sequence of representations that leads to an outcome. The sequence and organization of representations (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) which together comprise a thinking pattern. An effective strategy includes a representation of an outcome, employs feedback from the environment, and takes the minimum number of steps in a choreographed sequence to achieve the particular outcome of the strategy. Example of strategies explored in NLP include decision making, motivation, convincer, reality, learning and creativity strategies.

State Choice

In the NLP model referred to as state control. The act of choosing deliberately to construct and inhabit a particular state in a given context, with the intention of achieving one's chosen outcome in that context.


The set of specific values in a person's physiology, neurology and biochemistry that gives rise to their behavioural expression and their subjective experience of themselves and the world in any given moment. Some states recur in each culture with sufficient frequency to have acquired labels in the appropriate language. Examples include joy, depression, happiness, angst, and joie de vivre. Naming states implies a commonality of experience, which is not necessarily the case. Naming states does not describe the differences in individual subjective experience which actually exist within any particular named state: I.e. one person's generation and experience of elation, misery or anxiety will be different from someone else's and two people deliberately generating the same conditions within their bodies may call the resulting state by different names.

Simulation Programming

Mental rehearsal of a future course of action with reference to a specific and expected situation, using internal representational systems to programme in the desired behaviours, capabilities and perceptual filters so that you can achieve the desired outcome in that situation. Also known as 'future pacing'.

Sensory Cues

The indicators we have through observation, listening and touch, of a subjects ongoing experience. These cues indicate that mental processing is taking place; they do not identify the content being processed.

Sensory based Description

A description in terms of what one can see, hear and feel, either in the external world during an experience, or in the describer's internal experience.

Sensory Acuity

The ability to make refined distinctions in what one see hears and feels. During a face to face communication, practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming attend to changes or shifts in the other's skin colour, muscle tone, eye movements, breathing and posture, and to voice tonal patterns, rhythm and language used by the other. On the telephone, auditory information alone is available, and can be sufficient. This information is used to calibrate the other's internal state and cognitive processes. It is considered in the world of NLP that sensory acuity is a capability that can always be improved.

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