The Meta Model recognizes when someone is not in touch with reality. These people will delete, distort, and generalize the information from reality and have a completely different reality in their mind.

The Metal Model uses the chunking down technique to help them recognize and get out of a disempowering situation. It recovers deep structure and goes down deep to find the real answers.

You can use this technique on yourself and others to answer questions such as:

  • How?
  • What would happen if…?
  • Who?
  • What specifically?

The Meta Model helps us remember that “the map is not the territory” which is a presupposition of NLP.  What this means is the world we view in our minds is not really reality. We have natural filters in our conscious minds that filter out a lot of things and what we perceive to be true is always false.

The Meta Model helps us to get back in touch with reality.

  • Numbers 1-5 are distortions,
  • 6 & 7 are generalizations,
  • 8-10 are deletions.

When you are in communication with yourself and others, we all have a tendency to add obstacles in our life that are actually not there. Once you remove them, your life will be a lot easier and will be able to move forward. Here are 10 Metal Model distortions:

1. Mind Reading

Here you are claiming to know someone else’s internal state by claiming such things as, “people don’t like me”. A great question to ask here is, “how do you know people don’t like you?” By asking this, it recovers the source of the information.

2. Lost Performance

This is when you value other people’s judgements where the person doing the judgement is left out. An example phrase is, “It’s bad to be inconsistent.” A great series of responding questions would be, “Who says its bad?…According to whom?…How do you know its bad?” This allows you to gather more information. It recovers the source of that belief.

3. Cause & Effect

People put the cause wrongly outside themselves and create internal emotions such as, “he makes me so angry.” A couple questions you could ask are, “how does what he is doing cause you to choose to feel angry?…How specifically?” These questions help you to recover the choice that you chose to feel this way.

4. Complex Equivalence

Sometimes we take two separate experiences and interpret them as being synonymous – “She’s always yelling at me, she does not like me.” A responding question here would be, “how does her yelling mean that she does not like you?…Have you ever yelled at someone you liked?” These two questions recover the complex equivalence and also give a counter example.

5. Presuppositions

People make choices all day, every day. When we make choices we may not even know it or why we even make them. You may find yourself saying, “If my friends knew how I much I suffered, they would not do that.” Ask these questions to help specify the choices, the verb and what they actually do. “How do you choose to suffer?…How are they (re)acting?…How do you know they do not know?” These will recover what internal representation they have and the complex equivalence.

6. Universal Quantifiers

These are generalizations people say which are universal, they include; all, every, never, everyone, no one, etc. You may say something like, “He never listens to me.” A great response would be, “Never?…What would happen if he did?” Doing so recovers counter examples, effects and outcomes.

7. Modal Operators

a. Modal Operators of Necessity: Should, shouldn’t, must, must not, have to, need to, it is necessary. You will say or here someone say something like, “I have to take care of him.” Three questions you could start with are, “What would happen if you didn’t?…What would happen if you did?…Or?” These questions will recover effects and outcomes.

b. Modal Operators of Possibility or Impossibility: Can/can’t, will, won’t, may/may not, possible/impossible. You will say or here someone say something like, “I can’t tell her the truth.” The two responding questions to recover the causes are, “What prevents you?…What would happen if you did?”

8. Nominalization’s

This is the process of words which have been frozen in time to make them nouns. For example, “There is no communication here.” You would ask, “Who’s not communicating what to whom?…How would you like to communicate?” Asking these questions recovers the deletion and Referential Index and turns it back into a process.

9. Unspecified Verbs

Gives a vague example of what happened. You would want more details when you here, “She rejected me.” You would ask, “How specifically?” This is to specify the verb, here it is rejection.

10. Simple Deletions

a. Simple Deletions: This leaves information out like, “I am uncomfortable.” To recover the deletion, ask, “About what/whom?”

b. Lack of Referential Index: This fails to specify a person or thing. “They don’t listen to me.” You would want to know more specifics, ask a question to recover the Referential Index like, “Who specifically doesn’t listen to you?”

c. Comparative Deletions: People compare themselves and others a lot. You will hear words like: good, better, best, worst, more, less, most, least, etc. “She’s a better person.” Some great responding questions to recover the comparative deletion are, “Better than whom?…Better than what?…Compared to whom/what?’

The Meta Model is great to getting into specifics with yourself and others.  By asking just one simple question you are able to bring down the walls that people build up in their minds.

What Meta Model pattern do you hear most often?


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