How to Develop VAK Flexibility

vak-visualThere are .mp3 files included at the end of this post to help you develop VAK flexibility.

Note: The iNLP Center did not develop this method, although we named it VAK Synergy for iNLP Center students. It’s a classic NLP and VAK modality exercise. I don’t remember where I learned it, but feel like Steve and Connirae Andreas would be a good guess.

The VAK Synergy exercise helps you develop internal VAK flexibility. If one or more of the VAK modalities are challenging for you to consciously experience, this could be a worthwhile exercise.

For example, if it’s difficult for you to:

• See pictures in your mind’s eye
• Remember or imagine sounds: music, conversations, environmental sounds, etc….
• Be aware feelings or emotions in your body

Description of VAK Synergy

A common question during NLP practitioner training has to do with developing VAK flexibility. How do we learn to use all the VAK modalities when one or more of them is challenging to access? For example, some NLP students find it difficult to visualize in their mind’s eye. They don’t see inner pictures. Others have a hard time remembering or imagining sounds. Still others are less aware of feelings in their body.

It’s important to note that this is merely a matter of conscious awareness. NLP maintains that we all do all three of the VAK modalities naturally. So, if you’re not aware of your feelings, you are still capable of feeling and do have emotions. The issue is that you are not consciously aware of them when they are happening. And the same principle applies to the visual and auditory modalities. It’s all a matter of where we tend to direct conscious attention.

Over time, we develop habits and may not be used to accessing a full range of VAK experience. To become more VAK flexible, we need to develop the skill and practice patiently until we’ve expanded our consciousness enough to encompass all of the VAK experience we have.

VAK Enhancement Exercise

This is a mini-meditation that begins where you are most aware and leverages your natural abilities. The exercise is a simple formula involving an imaginary tree:) During the meditation, we’ll experience three elements of the imaginary tree: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Visual elements
Seeing the tree, leaves, trunk, height, breadth, surroundings, colors of leaves, color of the bark, texture (that you can see) of bark, etc…

Auditory elements
Sounds of wind blowing through leaves, branches rubbing together, chirping of birds in tree, what you might say to yourself about the tree, sound of rubbing your hand against the bark, other sounds in the environment, etc…

Kinesthetic elements
Feeling of bark texture (smooth, rough), temperature of bark, texture of a leaf, temperature of a leaf, feeling of leaf squished in hand, feeling of breeze against skin, temperature of surround air, feeling of ground beneath feet, feelings or emotions about tree on the inside, etc…

Process and .mp3 Guides

Begin with the VAK element that’s easiest for you to imagine, then move to the next easiest element and finish with the most difficult element to imagine. Then, repeat the cycle over and over. If visual is easy for you, begin there and move into auditory and kinesthetic. If auditory is easier for you, begin with that, then move to visual and kinesthetic. If kinesthetic is easier, start there and move to auditory, then visual.

Below are some audio guides to take you through the exercise. There are three guides, one for each VAK starting point. Feel free to listen to them all:)

Begins with Visual Modality

Begins with Auditory Modality

Begins with Kinesthetic Modality

Life Coaching Directory & Software with Life Coach Hub

If you are looking for a life coach or if you are a coach in search of tools for running your practice, an incredibly useful resource is Life Coach Hub. The site is a committed to “helping more and more people reach their goals” and offers a coaching directory, advice, and coaching software.

Life Coach Hub for the Coaches

Life Coach Hub has software specifically designed to help life coaches market themselves. Coaches are essentially running their own businesses in addition to helping people improve their circumstances. Having a company comes with its own challenges, such as building a brand, retaining clients, and making a profit.

The software provides a business administration suite that includes the ability for you to:

  • be listed in Life Coach Hub’s coach directory
  • publish articles
  • create a coaching specific website
  • run online and group coaching
  • have automated coaching forms and packages
  • publish coaching courses
  • have your own e-commerce coaching shop
  • run your calendar and billing
  • benefit from lead generation

When you set up your website, it comes with a customizable shop through which you can process secure payments. Users can discover you on Life Coach Hub and browse your courses, workshops and events, as well as your print, audio and visual materials.

And if you are proactive about writing articles for Life Coach Hub, that’s just one more way for people to find out about you. For example, your specialty might be motivational coaching. If people like a post you wrote on that topic, they can click on your name to see your profile, courses, certifications, and reviews.

Life Coach Hub also has a detailed and extensive webpage that explains coaching strategies based on feedback from practicing coaches. And just as there is a resource page for people who are looking for coaching, there is a resource page with articles full of advice for the coaches themselves.

“We are all so busy as coaches, but how often do we take the time to invest in what will truly bring us ongoing profit, less work and less stress?” said Andrea Taylor, Coaching Support Director at Life Coach Hub. “We urge our clients and prospects to invest in their success with coaching, but do we invest in our own success? We like to think of Life Coach Hub as a coach, for coaches.”

When you sign up to join Life Coach Hub, you will receive a 14-day free trial on any plan without giving up your credit card information. There are also add-ons for upgrading your marketing to get in front of more prospective clients’ eyes, and also options for low cost client leads.

Life Coach Hub for the Coaching Clients

If you are someone who is searching for a life coach, there are numerous areas of life for which you can receive guidance. General categories include health and fitness, career, relationships, and purpose. However, Life Coach Hub enables you to search for coaches who help with even more specific concerns.

For example, the top coaches that appear on the “Find a Coach” page offer assistance for areas such as self-confidence, self-employment and time management, separation and divorce, and NLP training.

There is also an entire section of the site dedicated to outlining the history of life coaching and its structure and philosophy. It explains how life coaching differs from professional counseling and provides other info to help you figure out if coaching is a good fit for you.

Then you can choose which coach you are interested in through factors such as each coach’s:

  • credentials
  • client reviews
  • hours
  • price range
  • location
  • format (online, private, etc.)

The articles Life Coach Hub provides on various topics are an additional, useful way of deciding on a coach. Of course, whether or not you are actually ready to pay for a coach, you can still go to the website and get plenty of free and helpful information. But as mentioned earlier, the coaches themselves write these posts.

Perhaps you’re interested in a coach you’ve found through the Find a Coach page and you discover that person has written an article on the site. Before actually purchasing a coaching session, you can learn more about his or her point of view by reading the post. On the other hand, you might peruse the articles first till you find one that’s especially helpful to you. Then you can evaluate if you want to hire the coach who wrote it.

“Coaching is something that really does work,” says Andrea Taylor from Life Coach Hub. “We’ve seen it time and time again, where people with ongoing issues in a particular area, such as weight, relationships or career, finally decide to take a fraction of what they have been spending on diet supplements or ‘shopping therapy’ and instead invest in a coach. For the first time they actually see real results and are floored.”

Most coaches on the site offer a free consultation to find out if the coach would be a good fit for you. If you’re unsure who to choose, you can submit a coaching request to receive no-obligation emails from several coaches who feel confident they can help you in your issue.

Plenty of Useful Resources

We could all use direction at some point in our lives to help us through difficult situations or even just to improve ourselves.

You can also sign up for the Life Coach Hub newsletter and get 20% off of store purchases and life coach services, while coaches can get free tools for their organizations. But even if you’re not interested in purchasing any products, you can still access plenty of helpful advice on any area of life in which you might need guidance.

We’ve received a 50% discount code for iNLP Center student’s from the owner of Life Coach Hub.  You can find the promo code in our weekly student newsletter.

V-K Dissociation: NLP to Heal Traumatic Memories

Warning: This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be interpreted as self-help advice. Do not attempt to address trauma on your own. You should seek healing with the help of a qualified practitioner.

Many times we like to remember things as vividly as possible.

If your favorite memory is camping with your family when you were twelve, you’re going to want to remember every single aspect of that experience.

The smell of campfire in the air, and eggs and bacon at breakfast. The warmth of the fire on your skin against the cool outside temperatures in the evening. The sound of birds chirping as you opened your eyes first thing in the morning.

In NLP, this is known as being in an associated state. You’re remembering events through your own eyes, as if you’re there again, immersed in the scene and reliving the event.

Remembering positive events in this manner is a great way to recapture and relive positive feelings in the here and now.

Sometimes remembering in an associated way is not a good thing.

According to an article titled Why We Remember Traumatic Events Better published by Live Science:

In a study of rats, emotionally arousing events triggered activity in the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain known to be involved in emotional learning and memory. The interaction then triggers production of a protein called Arc in neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in processing long-term memory.

It seems the brain may be wired to remember trauma, which would make sense from a self-protective point of view. If you didn’t remember the bad things that happen, how would you know what to avoid in the future?

The problem is, when you’re continually traumatized emotionally by bad memories, it makes life very difficult on far too many levels.

Is it possible to both remember what happened in the past for self-protecting purposes, avoid similar situations in the future, and NOT be re-traumatized on a regular basis?

Remember, if you experience something traumatic, and vividly remember that experience in an associated state, it’s going to rekindle the painful feelings appropriately associated with the negative event.

What’s the solution?

A way to ‘disassociate’ yourself when in this type of situation is to change how you’re recalling the traumatic memory.

Rather than seeing it through your own eyes, and recalling the sounds and smells, try imagining it as if you’re watching yourself in a black and white movie. Perhaps this is even a silent movie, and you’re just an observer who is watching the actors play out a scene. Get creative in how to detach yourself from the events that play out.

By focusing on the “how” of the memory, rather than the “why”, we are getting to the source of the problem, which is the fact that your brain is programmed to recall it in a painful way. We’re simply flipping the switch.

This is also a healthy preventive approach to suppressing this memory in an unhealthy and potentially detrimental way (such a drinking or drugs), which many people do because they don’t know how to deal with the memory’s presence in their daily lives.

Why We Remember Traumatic Events Better. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Metaphoric Interventions

Our concept of existence is metaphorical in nature. We can only comprehend life, objects, and ourselves by association, which is the broad meaning of a metaphor – to understand one thing in terms of another.

The metaphor we choose or inherit, which is often deeply unconscious, holds enormous power over how we feel, think, behave, and interact with others.

My metaphor for years was “life is a struggle”, which made life very scary and not much fun.

Recently, while going through several of the NLP strategies, I a new metaphor popped into mind – life is an experiment.  What a difference that makes for me. This new metaphor takes the pressure off and allows me to try things I may not have been willing to try previously. I didn’t have to do something perfectly, it doesn’t have to turn out right – I am experimenting.
It seems to fit in with the NLP principle – there is no failure only feedback.

Metaphoric Interventions is included in the Personal Development Program course  – Life Metaphors.

Reframing vs. Justfication, then using the 6-Step Reframe

I’ve noticed that many students have challenges identifying reframes. In module 11, they learn what reframing is and how to use it in regards to the Six-Step Reframe. Reframing is one of my favorite techniques as I’ve always been one to reframe naturally.

As I see it, reframing is basically making lemonade from lemons. It’s the basic tendency of an optimist.

I have found however, that some students have a hard time understanding the concept. It seems that they confuse reframing with justifying. Interestingly, it seems to be students from cultures outside of America. It makes me wonder if the whole, “Lemonade out of Lemons” thing is an American concept. Possibly it is called something else in others countries. I would love to hear feedback regarding this in the comments below.

So let’s talk about reframing vs. justification.

They start out about the same way- Here is my problem and here is how I can see it so it’s no longer a problem.

Let’s take the statement: “I demand too much from others.”

Now let’s apply a justification: “When I demand too much from others it helps them be their best.”

Now for the reframe: “…”

There isn’t one because the premise is wrong to begin with. The behavior of demanding too much from others is not a good thing. It actually causes problems for others.

Now, in regards to the Six-Step Reframe, my positive intention in demanding to much from others is to help them be their best. But is my demanding too much of them actually encouraging them to be their best or is it just stressing them out?

In the Six-Step Reframe, the next question one would ask is, “Is there another way you can achieve encouraging others to do their best that doesn’t involved stressing them out?”

The answer, “Yes, I could encourage and praise them instead.”

Now let’s look at an example of a proper reframe situation.

The statement: “I wasn’t being careful and I lost my cell phone.”

The reframe: “Now I’ll be less distracted when spending time with my kids.”

Yes, the situation sucks. We all know how bad it is when we lose our cell phone. But, we can’t change the fact that we lost our cell phone so we might as well find a positive that can come from it. Additionally, when we can reframe it, we can be less angry, sad or hopeless about the situation.

So how do you know when you are trying to reframe or justify? Reframe = good; Justify = bad.

When we justify we are generally trying to make an excuse for our bad behavior. If I can find a way to justify, i.e. make a bad behavior acceptable I don’t have to change it.

We we reframe we are taking a bad situation and finding a use from it.

One is a behavior, one is a situation.

When you start a reframe with a bad behavior, the only direction to go is into the Six-Step Reframe. When you go into Six-Step Reframe, you are led right into the your psychological attachments.

Your initial statement is your complaint of your bad behavior. Your positive intention is your goal.

So let’s look at how that relates to a psychological attachment:

We will take the original statement, “I demand too much of others.”

Positive intention,”When I demand too much from others it helps them be their best.”

Question, ” Why is this a problem?”

Answer, “Because it makes people angry at me and not want to come around me.”

Question, “And you don’t like that?”

Answer, “No, I want people to want to be around me.”

Question, “Then why do you it?”

I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of responses to that from I just always have to I have no idea to I can’t help it.

So, you can see that this person’s positive intention is their goal. They truly want to help people. But what they get is rejection. So their behavior, even though they have justified that is acceptable, is actually only helping to seek rejection.

Our psychological attachments are often disguised by good intentions.

Now when we can apply the Six-Step Reframe to the behavior, we can see that if they found a different way to achieve the result the desire, they would be receiving acceptance instead. Let’s look at that scenario.

Question, “When you want to help others be their best what do you do?”

Answer,”I encourage them and tell them how great they are doing.”

Question, “How do others react to you?”

Answer, “It makes them feel good and want to be around me more.”

Question, “How does that make you feel?”

Answer, “Accepted.”