Submodality Techniques

Association Dissociation Submodality

The association dissociation pattern is a powerful state controller. Imagine you decide to go on holidays, but need to save up first. What is more likely to get you to save money?


You imagine a big bright movie of your destination. It is in 3D so you feel like you could reach in and touch pieces of it. You can hear music and sounds – there is an inviting rhythm. It is as if you are actually there, seeing it out of your own eyes. Your inner voice says, “I really want to go there, I can’t wait!” Steven Spielberg would be jealous of your production skills.
On the other hand, a phobia is the result of getting stuck in an associated state. The NLP Phobia Treatment pattern involves changing this associated state into a dissociated observer state. Whenever we are overwhelmed by emotion, dissociating can be a powerful relief.


Think of your destination as a small black and white snapshot. If you are there, you might see yourself rather than seeing from your own eyes. Your inner voice says, “I guess it would be nice”

Using Association Dissociation

The association dissociation pattern is a very important submodality distinction. When you are associated you relive an experience, you have all the feelings. When you are dissociated, you observe yourself. The feelings you have are about the situation. This has nothing to do with the mental health category of “Dissociative Disorders”.

association-fireworksWhen to be Associated

When you are experiencing or remembering something pleasant, it is more fun to be associated. It is also a necessary part of learning a skill, particularly a physical activity such as a sport. It is a good way to be motivated to do an enjoyable activity.

When to be Dissociated

Dissociating from unpleasant memories or experiences is more useful. How do you motivate yourself to do an unpleasant or time-consuming task? See yourself doing the steps of the task and associate to the end result. Focus on the good feelings of having done the task.

How to Make Life Miserable

Many people do the exact opposite. They re-experience unpleasant memories and events in an associated way with all the yucky feelings. They remember pleasant events in an entirely disconnected way. Worse still be doing something fun while thinking about doing your tax return.

Futher Reading: Submodalities Going Meta by L. Michael Hall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts