NLP Metaphors – 1 of best techniques to use stories

NLP Metaphors

NLP Metaphors are stories, symbolism, or analogies that make the unconscious change by making the subject relate to the stories.

Haven’t you felt in the movie or book it is just like your life story, and you find your life solutions by watching those movies?

In NLP Metaphors, we deliberately bring up the stories with which the client will relate. Metaphors communicate indirectly.

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While the conscious mind is focused on listening to the story, the unconscious mind becomes open for suggestions, and that’s when NLP Metaphors makes changes.

Are there any types of NLP Metaphors?

Well, there are two types – simple metaphors and complex metaphors.

Simple metaphors are stories to help you focus on the unknown by relating what you already know. It has simple comparisons like as white as milk, as cool as ice.

Complex metaphors, on the other hand, have more layered stories with many levels of meaning. While the unconscious mind is busy finding meaning and relating to it, it is the best trance-like situation to plant a subject’s suggestions.

NLP Metaphors

Steps to create NLP Metaphors

Step 1

Ask questions to the client to know about the sequence of events or behavior in the situation, and it can be a conflict with a boss, spouse, it can be physical illness, not able to make decisions, and many more.

Your task is to identify the pattern of behavior and events.

Step 2

Now do a strategic analysis of step 1, find out any consistent representations are resulting in the particular behavior?

Step 3

Identify the desired outcome and new behavior expected by the client. NLP Metaphors is a story with a journey to the desired state from the present state.

Step 4

Set up Two Anchors, First for the resources that stop the client from having the desired state, and second, all resources the client already has to achieve the desired state.

Like we did in NLP Parts integration, we can set anchors in both hands and knees, whatever the client feels comfortable with.

Step 5

Find a logical and smooth story to tell, and it can be fictional or non-fictional.

The story must be easy to understand for the client, related to their experience, and all transitions should be smooth.

Sort out elements and required modalities and submodalities for the present and desired state. The elements can be people, place, time, objects, and activities.

Step 6

Choose an appropriate context for the story that will interest the listener.

Change the element of problem states with different resourceful elements; make sure not to change the meaning of them.

Plot the story in such a way that it starts with the problem state and takes to resolutions desired state.


Pace client’s issue by relating clients behavior with similarities in the story. This will keep the conscious mind busy and open up the unconscious mind for suggestions.

Step 7

Swift the referential indices from the client’s experience to reflect the character’s in the story.

Map over the nouns to establish the characters in the story.

The characters can be anything person, object, or anything else.

The key is that you are good to go so long as it keeps the relationships intact with the client.

Step 8

Establish the relationship between the client’s situations and behavior to that of characters’ situations and behaviors in the story.

Map overall verbs, assign behavioral traits and representational characteristics which are parallel to the client’s current situation.

Use the previously set up anchors to establish this relationship.

Step 9


Keep the story still ambiguous and relatable to the client, and access new resources and choices to the client.

To do this, you may need to reframe or re-access the story once more. This time look for forgotten or missed resources in the story.

Step 10

Use quotes, ambiguities, and any other language pattern to break up the conscious resistance if any.

Remember that conscious understanding does not contribute to this process; change is happening at the unconscious level.

Step 11

Provide resolutions to the story,


End the story in such a way that all sequences reach a conclusion.

It must help characters in the story to reach the desired outcome from conflict or chosen problem statement.

Step 12

Check for physiological changes in the client, like breathing, blinking of eyes, etc. This will tell you whether the NLP Metaphors had an impact on them or not.

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How do NLP Metaphors work?

We like to relate ourselves to the outer world.

The unconscious mind likes relationships and symbols. It is like having a dream where one thing takes you to another while you access the resources to the next event and situation.

The NLP Metaphors resonate with the unconscious mind and help to access resourceful states. Stories keep the conscious mind engaged and the unconscious mind relating to it.

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Where to use NLP Metaphors?

NLP Metaphors can be useful in many contexts, like when clients cannot access events with visualization, with hypnosis, to reduce the resistance to change.

I use NLP Metaphors to set up the stage, which helps me establish rapport with the client. In the later stage, it becomes easy to use other techniques with them.


Metaphors we live by