Introduction to Timelines

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By John Plester

In NLP, time lines are used as a metaphor to code time.

Eliciting your Time Line

This is done by eliciting visual memories from the past and constructing visual images of the future noting their spatial positions and linking a line through them. The visual submodalities are key to this exercise, particularly distance and location.

There are different concepts of time in the world. The Anglo –European concept is very linear with events happening one after another, which leads us to placing an importance on order and time keeping. Alternatively, the Arabic concept of time is where everything happens at once, consequently time does not matter and living is in the moment.

Types of Time Lines

Timelines go in many different directions and the direction affects a person’s personality.

‘In Time’ – this is where the line goes through the person’s body so that part of the line is behind them. These people tend to experience memories associated. These people have difficulty learning from the past as it is behind them – they live in the now and don’t carry emotional baggage from the past. On the Myers –Briggs scale they are seen as the Perceiver. A perceiver lives for the enjoyment of the moment – they often make great lovers! Time is not important, they are always live in the present – in a constant state of association –they can recall and experience any memory or state they wish whenever they wish. They like to keep their options open at all times therefore closure isn’t important.

‘Through Time’ – this is where all of the line is in front of the person. These people experience memories dissociated. Because all the time line is in front of them they give time a high value and have difficulty wasting it. They will always want to get their money’s worth. They tend also to see things in the perspective of the whole. In the Myers –Briggs scale these people are Judgers – loving organisation and procedure , doing things step by step, always showing up for appointments on time and they like setting goals. These people like closure as they are constantly reminded of the past

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