Analyst Essay Topic – The Three Sensory Systems


By Debbie Fitzgerald


Analyst Essay Topic – The Three Sensory Systems


Reverse Speech has been an evolving and developing phenomenon over the years. The endless hours of research have uncovered many discoveries and theories. It has also shown to inter-relate with other discoveries, theories and references, for example – Carl Yung’s work of the human mind just to name one. Other modalities have shown to have been extremely beneficial to Reverse Speech as a whole. One such modality is Neuro Linguistic Programming – NLP.

The definition of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) as stated by Wikipedia:

is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s.

This comprehensive model NLP was developed for understanding human thought, communication and behaviour.

NLP is an incredible combination of skills, techniques and patterns that Grinder and Bandler collected from various fields such as psychology, linguistics, neurology, communications theory, cybernetics and systems theory.

The brain internally codes our perceptions of all our life experiences, organises and processes these life experiences in the world with pictures, sounds, words and feelings.

When we speak we’re using language to describe these experiences. Our language is encoded with our perceptions of these experiences both consciously and unconsciously.

NLP suggests and teaches that language is more than simply communication via the consciously spoken word.

  • with the spoken word (7%) which includes common experience, key words and predicates.
  • with tonality (38%) which includes tempo, tone and volume.
  • with physiology (55%) which includes gestures, posture, breathing, facial expressions and mirroring.

NLP also includes representational systems or sensory systems. This is the way in which humans receive and process information. When we interact with the world and with those around us we are processing information using one of these three channels.

  1. Visual (see)
  2. Auditory (hear)
  3. Kinesthetic (feel)

The sensory system that is being used when a person is processing information can be determined by certain factors. We all process information differently and most people primarily process using one channel.

These factors include 1. Words used or Predicates. 2. Eye movements. 3. Tonality of the voice. 4. Breathing patterns. 5. Gestures and body positioning.

  1. Words or predicates used

    The three different language styles or language patterns used. An example of this is when three different people are all examining a menu at a restaurant. One person will say “the steak looks good to me.” The next person will say “I like the sound of that steak.” The third person will say “the steak feels pretty good to me.”

    All three people are looking at the menu but each one is processing the information differently depending on which sensory system they are using. Number one is visual as they are using the predicate looks, the second person is auditory by using the predicate sound and the third person is processing using the kinaesthetic channel by using the predicate feels.

    To detect the primary sensory system a person is using take note of the person’s language – how they construct sentences, and how they use predicates. The following are predicates (verbs, adverbs and adjectives) associated with specific sensory systems.

    • Visual –
      I see that as a huge hurdle
      I am trying to focus more on this issue
      I can observe this from a distance
      I can’t seem to look past that flaw of mine
    • Auditory –
      I can only scream when I’m backed in to corner
      I really resonate with that person
      That signal is loud and clear
      The message appears to be wrong
    • Kinesthetic –
      He has such a grip on that subject
      That’s a lot of pressure
      That exam was pretty rough
      I am burning up over his decision
  2. Eye movements
    • Visual-
      looking up and to our left we are remembering a image or scene that has happened to us.
      looking up and to the right we are trying to create a scene in our mind. This eye mode can be an indicator someone is lying as they are trying to create or make up a story.
    • Auditory –
      looking up to the left we are remembering a sound.
      looking to the right we are constructing a sound.
    • Kinesthetic –
      looking down and to their right we are into our feelings.
      looking down and to our left we are talking to ourselves.
  3. Tonality of the voice
    • Visual –
      voice is high pitched and swift. Talking quickly indicates excitement.
    • Auditory –
      voice is in the mid-range and talking with an even-tempo
    • Kinesthetic –
      voice is low and there are pauses in speech. Talking bit by bit.
  4. Breathing patterns
    • Visual –
      breathing is elevated, high in the chest, thin and rapid.
    • Auditory –
      breathing is even and in the diaphragm or mid chested.
    • Kinesthetic –
      breathing is low in the stomach, profound, measured with silences.
  5. Gestures and body positioning
    • Visual –
      hands are up, movements are speedy, sudden and sharp, which includes pointing.
      head is high
    • Auditory –
      hands move from side to side, gestures are in balance.
      shoulders are square.
    • Kinesthetic –
      hands are down shoulders are slouched which suggests a person who is depressed.

NLP plays a very important role in assisting the Reverse speech analyst. By understanding the structure of language we can gain a greater understanding into a person’s mind and their behaviour. This is extremely helpful in the analysis of Reverse speech.

As an analyst observing all aspects of language when communicating with a client and paying particular attention to the entirety of the three sensory systems (visual, auditory and kinisethetc) this can enhance analyst skills significantly. It gives an understanding of where the client is at in accessing the subconscious mind.

When prompting a client incorporating NLP techniques can give extra tools to producing and maintaining lively, spontaneous conversation.

Being able to direct that conversation so that relevant facts can be uncovered, and topics discussed is important. What is said forwards will directly relate to what the reversals are saying. As an analyst, we want to obtain the most relevant clear reversals from our clients.

The way you communicate elicits a specific response.

Directing questions to discuss specific events in the client’s life will produce first level reversals in most cases. Extra information is revealed about the event being spoken off.

Leading the conversation to talk about emotional states and certain behaviours of the client will most likely produce reversals giving greater insight into the emotions and behaviours.

When developing rapport with clients matching sensory systems is an advantageous addition to the other rapport building methods. Thus being aware of the sensory systems and the specific predicates being used by the client can tell us what sensory system they are using. Altering the questions we ask can then match that of the client’s sensory channel.

Depending on what sensory channel they are using will determine the type of reversal we will receive.

Using these various sensory systems as an analyst, we can influence the types of reversals we obtain from a client by working within a specific sensory system.

Guiding the questions to access their visual channel, by encouraging clients to use visual terms tends to produce First and Second Level reversals. These reveal facts, events and give extra information. Use predicates such as see, big picture, focus, look when forming your questions.

Using feeling terminology to encourage clients to access their kinethetic channel will tend to produce Second and Third level reversals. This brings out emotional content and behavioural patterns of the client. A lot of people do have trouble expressing their feelings so maintaining a good rapport, exercising patience will help them. Use predicates such as feel, grab, handle, grasp when forming questions. It has been observed in many sessions that this difficulty in expression produces a large number of reversals.

Encouraging clients to respond via the auditory channel approach does tend to reduce the quantity of reversals, although it will produce First, Second and Third Level reversals. Use predicates such as hear, sounds, resonate, listen, call on when forming questions. It is sometimes better to start a session in auditory terms since this approach produces “across the board” reversals. Once rapport has been established with a client, we can then shift to other sensory channels as key issues begin to surface.

Another important tool that assists the Reverse Speech analyst greatly is the Meta-Model.

John Grinder and Richard Bandler developed the Meta Model by modelling two very successful therapists, Fritz Perls and Virginia Satir, who got extraordinary results from their clients by having them be more specific in what they expressed. 

Typically the NLP Meta Model is used to question the words that people use and to improve the quality of the conversation. But the Meta Model can also be used to analyse the structure of how someone thinks and then deliver information back to them in a form that matches their language structures, as a means to influence that person to some desired outcome, whether that desired outcome be theirs or of the person who is talking to them. At a deep level of thought, a speaker has complete knowledge of what he wishes to communicate to someone else. This is called the deep structure and operates at an unconscious level. To be competent in his verbal or written communication, the speaker unconsciously deletes, generalizes or distorts his inner thoughts based on his beliefs and values, memories, decisions (limiting), strategies, what he wants you to hear, etc. What is finally said, communicated through body language or written (surface structure) is only a small subset of the original thought and may be ambiguous or confusing and lead to miscommunication.

So the key to the Meta-Model is trying to deconstruct what a person is saying until we as analysts start getting into the deep structure. By asking just the right questions this will often get right to the heart of the matter. How easy it is to miscommunicate and how difficult a task our brain has interpreting deep-set emotions (deep structure) into verbal communication (surface structure).

The Meta-Model is an impressive tool for listening, accessing client’s psyche and uncovering what’s behind their problem behaviours, allows clear and unambiguous communication and helps to coach client’s into finding solutions which can be revealed in their reversals.

Having a good foundational knowledge and understanding of NLP, the Sensory Systems and the Meta-Model is a massive benefit to the Reverse Speech Analyst. It has been shown that really grasping these concepts assists in developing a stronger rapport with a client, understanding their language processing styles and being able to attain the best possible reversals from session work. After all, the aim is to help the client in the best possible way and by using these techniques a greater ratio of clear, pertinent reversals can be encouraged resulting in a favourable and beneficial healing outcome.