Insiders Guide on Submodalities

At least once a week I will be introducing a new technique on how to change your mind by changing how you think; you will find them under change your mind. But for you to have success with them, you will need an insider guide on submodalities. 

What are submodalities?

Submodalities are the subsets of the five primary modalities we use in our everyday life which give an order to the life experiences we are having at any given moment.

The five basic senses are visual (seeing), emotional (feeling), auditory (hearing), olfactory (smell), and gustatory (taste). If you don’t fit into all types, you most definitely will find one that resonates with you the most.

All individuals have a preferred modality that they use to view their world. An example of this may be a visual person will use more descriptive words within their conversation, an emotion person will use more of the feeling words in their conversation, an auditory person will use words about what they heard, a gustatory person will describe what they taste, and an olfactory person will describe a smell. How they perceive their situation is individual to each person.

Below, we will go in-depth for a better understanding of each sense. 

Visual Visualization

Typically, the visual process represents people who go in the direction of their particular visual field. These are generally individuals who tend to be more in connection with their visual field. Whenever these individuals explain a specific situation to anyone who also may be visual, a picture is usually developed in their mind.

Later, whenever accessing this discussion or story, a visual person can see the story in their head. Visual hallucination is a visual impression that is triggered in an intentional state without any possible origin of external stimuli.

Most people who visualize see in color, but there are the rare few who may only see black and white. In visual mode, you might view a dazzling outlook of your future. With intentional visual visualization, you may make this dazzling future your very own.

The submodalities of a visual person may be, but not limited to:

  • Watching a movie in their mind
  • See a framed picture
  • Seeing colors
  • Brightness
  • Size of image
  • Could be exteriorized or interiorized
  • Where the picture is located – up or down, left or right
  • How far the picture is from self
  • Which angle the image is
  • Clear or Fuzzy

Emotional Visualization

These people are individuals who relate everything to their feelings. Emotional people are also individuals who are more vulnerable to emotion, or perhaps feeling the outcomes during visualization. They can genuinely sense what it will be like to have their visualizations manifest.

When emotions are brought into play, one can also recall or re-experience personal emotional involvement. Emotional visualization induces neural activity in the central nervous system, which can affect the physiological response one may have to internal stimuli.

Vivid emotional visualization is many times related to how we feel and how we respond to those feelings.

The stronger the visualization, the more concrete it becomes in mind, which can lead to visualization being achieved in real life. Many athletes make use of emotional visualization to train muscles to retain memory. 

When emotions are attached to a specific goal or accomplishment, the desire to achieve it becomes stronger, which propels the emotional person forward.

The submodalities of an emotional person may be, but not limited to:

  • Hot or cold
  • What type of texture – could be smooth or rough
  • Shaking or quivering
  • Squeezing or Tension
  • Heavy or light
  • Where the feeling is located
  • Pulsating
  • Off and on 

Auditory Visualization

Auditory visualization defines how one hears or experiences sounds, while no noise is taking place. For instance, many people get a song stuck in their brain, which then is on constant replay.

This person would then be known as experiencing auditory visualization. Auditory-visual individuals often talk to themselves; by verbalizing their intent, it becomes more concrete and achievable for them.

It also allows them to make connections with what they have verbally visualized to apply to their daily life.  To create an intentional auditory visualization would be to record the self-achieving the desired goal and then listening to it with focused intent. 

Auditory people are usually encouraged to develop internal dialogues, which can lead to a visualization being achieved.

The submodalities of an auditory person may be, but not limited to:

  • Loud or quiet
  • Soft or rasping
  • Frequency – high or low pitch
  • Source of sound
  • Timbre (characteristic sound, such as a voice like Mickey Mouse)
  • Movement of the source
  • Duration
  • Tempo

Olfactory Visualization

Olfactory visualization has to do with the sense of smell. Often, people with this type of heightened awareness may comment, “I know what success smells like.” These types of visual people will rely on their sense of smell to create a visualization that works for them. Individuals who visualize this way would need, in advance, to create a unique smell of having achieved their goals.

This could be done in the form of having to recall being in a place of success (could be business you may have visited in the past, a person’s home who you relate to success), and then associating the smells they smelled. Most places have a unique distinction of smell and people who visualize this way then use the distinction to create their great outcomes.

The submodalities of an olfactory person may be, but not limited to:

  • Burnt 
  • Chemical / Medicinal
  • Earthy
  • Floral
  • Fruity / Citrus
  • Nutty
  • Rancid / Rotten
  • Rubber-like

Gustatory Visualization

Gustatory visualization refers to imagery related to the sense of taste. People who experience gustatory visualization refer to words, descriptions, or pictures in their brain that makes them think of the taste. These types of individuals will refer to a taste of success. They can taste how it feels to achieve their goals.

The submodalities of a gustatory person may be, but not limited to:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Salty
  • Bitter
  • Yucky
  • Gross 
  • Bad taste

Below is a little snippet of a story I have written for you, in the end, you will need to decide which you resonate with most.

As I head out of my home, I notice the bright white snow on the ground. The snow is deep and stamped into it are some footprints. I can feel chills traveling up my body from the cold icy air. I continue walking toward the woods. The snow lessens off, and eventually, a path covered with brown leaves appears.

The brown leaves on the ground have soft a crunch to them as I walk on them. The fog and mist are rolling in, which causes a gentle dripping of moisture onto my face. As I look up, I notice the trees are still slightly covered in snow, and then I hear two birds singing a song. As I continue to look up, the sun shines brightly through the trees which temporarily blinds me. I quickly look down, but still enjoy the song of the two birds.

I continue my stroll down an uneven path now covered with pebbles. The path leads me down to a river, which is running at a quick pace. As I stand at the edge of the river, I can hear the sound of the water as it hits the jagged rocks with a slush like sound, yet still keeps flowing. The smell of winter causes me to pause for a moment, to realize summer is still a long ways away. I bend down to pick up a pebble; as I touch it, it feels smooth yet cold as ice.

I gently drop it back down, the clink of it dropping back into the other pebbles causes a gentle ring in my ears. I walk over to a tree; run my hands over the roughness of it. I walk over to the spring of water, which is now looking so refreshing. I use both hands to make a temporary bowl to sweep up some water, bring it to my mouth, and drink.

The water tastes like sweet cream as it goes smoothly down my throat. I continue my walk; I know the next corner will bring me to the waterfall going down the mountainside, as I turn the corner…

  1. I can see the waterfall rushing down the mountainside
  2. I can feel the excitement as the water rushes down the mountainside
  3. I can hear the waterfall rushing down the mountainside
  4. I can smell the refreshing scent of water as it rushes down the mountainside
  5. I can taste the sweet breeze of the waterfall rushing down the mountainside

Just a reminder, there are people who may possess all of these senses when creating their submodality experience, others will only have one which is enhanced. It’s okay to have one or combine all five at the same time to revivify or create a new experience of what is you are to overcome or change

Tip: Use these submodalities to listen to how others speak. Converse back to them with their frame of language; you will become the person who understands them the most.

I use this way of framing with my family/clients; it works well to resolve issues as well as understand which modality they are coming from. By using their submodalities on them, it makes it easier to move forward with an engaged rapport which leads to quick healing.

Now that you have an insiders guide on submodalities, any techniques I share will be more natural for you to follow. Check out Changing Your Mind Techniques which may help you change your mind.

Please let me in the comments below which one of modalities you resonate with most. 

If you find this article helpful, please share it so others can gain benefits as well.

34 thoughts on “Insiders Guide on Submodalities”

  1. Hi Jagi, 

    This was a really interesting read. Having read the different types of preferences to the 5 senses I’d say i probably fit into the visual department, though I also have a keen sense of smell. The visualising techniques however made me stop and think about myself and I have tried to incorporate all the senses when visualising and it seem to work to a certain extent.

     Do you think the manifestations that are created can be stronger if we not only incorporate our strongest sense but align all the others into a complete experience using all the senses?

    Great article and very thought provoking


    1. Due to the dominant modality that each of us holds, that is the modality which will create the best manifestation. All our life experiences are the way we view our world. Using another modality which isn’t as strong to create a manifestation may not hold, because our mind will always return the way we perceive our world. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi Jagi,

    I found your article amazing. 

    I like the explication you describe about the physical sense the people talk trough. 

    When I was younger, I did a little bit of martial arts and one of the test we had to do is to answer some formal question and from your answer, they were able to see what is your dominant side. 

    At that period of my life I was 90% Kinesist, that mean I have to do something to understand and it’s true because when I wanted to explain something, I had to do the thing and then the person was able to understand. I was 3% visual and 7% auditive.

    Since I read your article, I will try to be more aware when someone is talking, to see in which dominant submodalitie that person is at that time 🙂

    Thank you


    1. Kinesthetics will always associate to their feelings. The kinesiology is all about muscles and how they feel.Thank you for your comment.

  3. Over the years i have come to realize that i am a visual person, my greatest motivation comes from things i see around me , my environment and the people i have around especially the things i see them do. sometimes i tend to just copy what others are doing of which i think is not so good. Are there any controls or limits to being visual 

    Further clarification or insight would be most appreciated thanks.

    1. There are no controls to being visual. Your mind will show you exactly what it wants to show you, but you can get your mind to show you what you want to see. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Jagi,

    Learning something new daily is one thing I encourage everyone to do in their lives.  Thanks to finding this particular article I have just learned something new about myself and others that I was unaware of.  I like the fact that we can have more than one of these Submodalities within us, after reading this I find that mine are the Visual, Emotional, and Auditory.  This now makes me more aware of others and how they can understand what I am saying or feeling.  They will not always see or hear things the way I do.

    Thank you so much for sharing such insight into how people are able to conceive things or how we ourselves conceive things.


    1. I love that you recognize that not everyone will always see or hear things the way we do. Once we understand this, it can make conversations a whole lot easier. As well when someone is expressing an opinion we can almost see how they perceive the situation to come to the conclusion that they’ve come to. Thank you for your comment.

  5. I just love your site, so much to learn. I read this article this morning and have been paying close attention to my co-workers all day to see if I can understand them better by what modality they seem to portray. It’s been so interesting!

    Several of them who I don’t know that well have really opened up to me today simply because I have used similar language when speaking to them and they seem to be immediately more at easy with me. It’s really quite an eye opener how well this works.

    I am quite a visual person so it was easier for me to work with those who were more like me, and took a bit more effort for the others. 

    I was just wondering if there are those who have a touch modality? I know some of my friends are what I call touchy feely – they need to hug you and touch things all the time.

    Anyhoo thanks for another great read today has been so much fun!     

    1. Great that you are able to take this article and applied to your life right away. Pretty amazing!

      Yes, it can be an eye-opener when we respond to another in their representation of the world. Yes the touch Is in the feeling modality. Thank you for your comment.

  6. This made me laugh as I recalled lines from movies where they say things like “I can almost taste it!” to describe approaching success. Now I am going to be paying very close attention to how I frame my own discussions to see what my go-to is, as well as listen for what others run with so I can try that trick of reframing my conversation to match their sub-mode and see what happens. 

    1. Glad that you enjoyed this article. When I started out in the counselling field, I was constantly listening to how others speak. It was a really interesting time, the excitement I would feel at understanding that dawned on me that I was actually getting what they were saying was pretty amazing. Thank you for your comment.

  7. Very informative post about self revelation. I think I am definitely a visual visualization. I tend to memorize things by taking a picture of the surrounding in my mind. Always been that way. Even when I study for the exam or have to memorize my presentation to my boss I take the picture of the content and express it. I even incorporate picture when I explain something new to a person as well. Can’t wait to see more of your post on how can we train ourselves. Is there any traits that is better than the other? 

    1. Yes, I heard many who create images in their mind. My son has a photogenic memory which he uses for exams for school. All traits are very important in our daily living, the only thing is one will always be dominant. I wouldn’t say there is a trait that’s better than the others. Because each trait creates our unique way of living. It’s just the way we are born. Thank you for your comment

  8. I believe i code my experiences using the visual Submodality,I tend to  covey my thoughts in images , i always have a picture in my mind. The more we  understand how  submodalities work  the better  we can begin to understand ourselves and others better.

    Can submodalities affect how we deal with painful circumstances in our lives?I am trying to imagine someone who is experiencing everything in a visual way having to work through something traumatic, that can be pretty intense.

    1. Your right the more we can understand our modalities a closer it brings us to understanding how the submodalities convey to us what we are experiencing. This definitely will make us understand ourselves a lot better. 

      Yes, our submodalities can definitely affect painful circumstances in our lives. A person who has a visual modality, sometimes will want to close their eyes so they can’t see the traumatic happenings going on in front of them. It can be pretty intense as you say to work through it, but healing can definitely take place.Thank you for your comment.

  9. Thanks for a most interesting article.  It had never occurred to me that what I’d always considered the senses can also be described as modalities.  Being the skeptic that I am, I decided to ask my constant friend Google.  True enough, I found it!   A medical definition of Modality is “One of the main avenues of Sensation (as vision)…”.  And that was good enough for me.  Examining your article further, I started to realize that I tend towards the visual partof things, because I like the idea of allowing others to see the same picture I see when describing a problem.  This approach helped me tremendously in my previous line of work (Technical Analyst), so it all made sense to me.  Of course, that does not mean that the other four senses (modalities) played a lesser part in my life, but the visual approach has always served me well.

    Thanks again for your article.

    1. Visual approach especially where hands-on work is involved is a great modality to help. Glad that Your friend Google was able to back me up on this. Thank you for your comment.

  10. I definitely am more of an auditory visualizer.  I associate things with how they sound, and am disrupted or stressed out easily by noise.  Not loud music or anything, but the best way to get me rattled is to have loud cacophonic noise.

    But I love music, loud music is ok with me.  And I talk to myself all the time. Not only that, but I listen to myself as well. I’d love to be more of a visual submodal person, and I look forward to learning how.

    1. Great that you can talk your issues out.A great quality to have. As you said you are an auditory person, a phenomenal quality to have as great of submodalities. You can develop your visual submodality, but always your auditory will take prominent role in your life experience.Thank you for your comment.

  11. Hi Jagi your page and information is really helpful, I been thru your guide on Submodalities and I really love to have some images of examples of any category I think this can help your audience like me understand better each of the categories, and I’m 100% agreed on changing our core beliefs is everything we need to change our life . Thank you.

    1. Just by you mentioning images I can tell that you are a visual person. What type of images would you suggest I bring in here which will help your understanding more. Thank you for your comment.

  12. This is very interesting. I’ve never thought of it like that before. This is an eye opener and make me wonder which subset do I belong? I may be a little bit of everything? Is that even possible? I know for sure I am more on visual and emotion. And a little bit of the other three I guess.

    1. Yes you can be a little bit of everything, but most likely you will always have one modality which is favored. That is the modality that will impact your living experience the most. Thanks for your comment.

  13. thanks for the article.  A lot of interesting information, I have never given much though as to which one i most associate with,  If i had to choose i would say the visual modality really resonates with me the most.  Particularily, the seeing color submodality.  being able to visualize myself and my life in full color really makes it seem real and that much easier to plot a path through to the outcome that i was looking for.

    1. I noticed many people favor visualization. It’s easy to favor this as we can see the colors in our world. Everything we touch with our hands has a visual representation. Thank you for your comment.

  14. hello Jagi,

    I my trying to reconcile your submodalities model with the realities of what I see around me everyday and it is not an easy thing to do.  I see a lot of people around me trapped or locked into an emotional modality that appears to be holding them prisoner.  I can see the dangers of getting stuck in one without access to the others.

    Personally I shift from one modality to the next depending on a situation.  I have been using a meditation technique for years now that pushes me into the auditory submodality and recalls memories.  Interesting!


    1. I agree with you reconciling submodalities can be difficult if you are an emotional person. Due to the emotional experience you have when you see people stuck may make it feel like you’re empathizing with them. When we empathize with people it gets hard not to want to feel something to help the person get past it.

      Great that you can shift from one modality to the next. Meditation is awesome, I love it. Having dealt with cancer, I used to meditation quite a bit to get over the feeling of dying early.

      I will be sharing my experience in this website on how I was able to change my belief which I feel has extended my life beyond what I had ever thought. Thank you for your comment.

  15. Thanks for this great information. I know I am of the emotional class. I relate everything that happens around me to my emotions and I really do not really like it. Is there a way I can get out of that. I tend to really feel hurt when people do little things to me. 

    I am 26 years old but I still shed tears sometimes when I’m hurt and I feel ashamed of myself. Any help would really be appreciated.

    1. If you are an emotional person, everything you do or happens around you will have an emotional impact on you. We are the way we are, some modalities can be developed, but they would limit to how we would perceive the true experience without our dominant modality in play. 

      E.g. people who are visually limited will develop their hearing modality, but if they dream in colors, it diminishes their true experience. 

      I will be bringing in new techniques once a week, please check back often as I know there is a technique that can definitely help you. Thank you for your comment.

  16. Wow! First let me say that the name of your site intrigued and brought me in to read it. The information was fascinating and I learned something new. I think I am visual but can see other submodalities in me too.

    I see you mentioned that a person can have more than one, but do you think someone can have all five at once? Is there a certain personality type that leans to one or another of these? 

    1. Yes, a person can have five at once. As a matter fact I retain all five. Depends upon which memory is triggered for a sense to come into play.Many people who work with their hands are visual learners so they tend towards visualization. Other people who are counselors lean towards feelings.It really does depend upon a type personality one has which can have an effect on how they perceive a situation. Thank you for your comment.

  17. I personally fall under two of the modalities smell and feeling. I’m an emotional beast by nature and I notice I talk about emotional feelings in my conversations quite often and the smells of things create memories in my mind like the smell of fresh paint from when I was younger that’s connected to a certain memory.

    1. Yes, I’m an emotional person well. But the other four Senses are very strong to. Sometimes a smell will take me back to a time in my childhood other times the taste will remind me of what it felt like when I was visiting a certain place. Thank you for your comment.

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