• Posted: October 2012
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Overlap is process for helping people access a representational system they under-use or have difficultly accessing.

1. Facilitate a process where the client accesses his/her primary representational system.*
2. Add in components of representations from the next preferred system
3. Add in components of representational system client is under using or having difficulty accessing.

Example on past experience

Ask client to tell you about a vivid pleasurable sensory experience. Here is an example of a beach scene going from kinaesthetic to visual.

Kinaesthetic:  Client closes eyes and relives the feelings, sand between toes, cool water, fresh sea air on face, warm sun on back

Add auditory: Hearing waves breaking, seagulls crying

Add visual: Seeing the clear sky, where the sea meets the horizon

Example on present experience

Kinaesthetic:  Hold an object in your hands, feeling all its unique qualities

Add auditory: As you feel the object, describe how it looks

Add visual: Close your eyes, and continue feeling the object, describing how it looks, create the mental image

*Preferred, primary or dominant representational system
In the early days of NLP it was a common view that a person had a preferred primary or dominant representational system that was indicated by the predicates they used most frequently. This style of thinking led to the over generalisation of representational systems. Even if some people are dominant in one system it is recommended that you continually calibrate as there will always be exceptions to the dominance.

Lead system
This refers to eye accessing patterns, e.g the representational system the person opens the mental file with. So a person could lead visually to access an auditory representation e.g I visually access the CD case to hear the song.

Synesthesia: In NLP, the synthesis of two or more representations e.g. picture with intense feelings. One could argue that all representations have a degree of synesthesia.

Note the term synesthesia in Neuroscience is used differently than in NLP.  In Neuroscience it refers to the involuntary overlapping of the senses e.g. colours having smells.

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