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Mapping Across Explanation (e.g. Like to Dislike)

Mapping Across Explanation (e.g. Like to Dislike)

Here we will give you all the steps of the mapping across technique. With mapping across you do not change the content of a subjective experience (representation), but you change the structure (submodalities) while keeping the content. Think of it as a big switch trick! Read along…

With mapping across you work with submodalities in a targeted manner

With mapping across you are not just tinkering with a subjective experience – ie representation or visualization – but you are going to tinker in a very focused way so that you transfer properties from one representation to another representation.

For example, you can use this technique as ‘like to dislike’ if, for example, you want to leave ice cream in the future, because it is unhealthy. You can swap the location, the perspective and the other more obvious submodalities (VAKOG) with that of something you don’t like at all. This is how ice cream from “Yeaaah!” to “Yuk!”. This is just one of many uses of mapping across.

Finding the driver with a contrast analysis (important when mapping across!)


You use a contrast analysis to analyze the submodalities of two different representations. You do this by simply asking the submodalities of two representations. You need this, for example, for the ‘mapping across’ technique.

So you are going to map out the differences. You often do this by actually writing down schematically what the visual, auditory and kinesthetic submodalities of the two representations are. The goal is to find out which submodalities in one representation are different from the submodalities in the other representation.

In the ‘mapping across’ technique , you can then use that contrast analysis by ‘mapping the differences across’ one by one in order to trace the potential drivers thanks to the contrast analysis. Drivers are the submodalities that actually have an effect on a specific person: the difference that makes the difference.

When you change the driver submodality, it often happens that other submodalities also change . In that sense, the driver ‘carries’ the others.

In any case, you know for sure that you have got hold of a driver if, for example, you change the distance – for example: the distance of the ice cream representation changes into the distance of the vomit representation – after which the client suddenly also feels the feeling of the vomit representation feels and hear the sounds of the vomit representation.

Distance is almost always a driver because it immediately causes a change in sound and feelings. After all, sound and feelings always take place from a location.

It can also happen that someone only has one driver per experience that can be adjusted with submodalities. You can only find out which ones they are by activating them one by one and asking / calibrating what happens then.

  1. Make two columns on a sheet of paper. In the top row you write at one column: ‘experience A’ (often this is the desired experience), and in the other column: ‘experience B’ (often this is the undesired experience). We are going to follow these instructions with ‘desired experience’ and ‘unwanted experience’.
  2. Question: “What is a positive experience of yours?” Also ask, “What are the feelings associated with this?” Write the stated moods in the top row so that you can echo them more easily, making it easier to guide the client into the experience.
  3. Discover together what the submodalities of this experience are, using the submodalities list. Write them down in the left column. Requesting submodalities must be done quickly. Just a little faster than the conscious can keep up.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for an unwanted experience.
  5. Always mark when there is a difference between the submodality of the unwanted experience and the submodality of the positive experience.
  6. We now only continue to work with the submodalities that differ. We can forget the rest because they are the same anyway. Go through them one by one. Always have the client change the submodality of the unwanted experience to the submodality of the desired experience. Always ask / calibrate: “What is the effect? “Do you want to keep it that way or put it back?” When the client wants to keep the change because it makes a positive difference, there is definitely a driver . A second way to find out the driver is to calibrate  (this is even the preferred way).

A one-part map across

  1. Question the submodalities of representation A.
  2. Break State (pattern interruption) .
  3. Question the submodalities of representation B.
  4. Do a pattern break.
  5. Do a contrast analysis: note any submodalities that are different between the two representations.
  6. Map across: the client brings to mind representation A and changes the submodalities that are different from B (the structure!) One by one into the submodalities of B, based on the contrast analysis. The content of A has been given the structure of B!
    – Extra tip: You can also ‘click’ the distance submodality to the new distance, with the sound of a sturdy padlock.
    – Extra tip: Also use milton language to guide this process: “You can easily allow your narrow focus to widen until you have a panoramic field of view …”
  7. Test your work and future pace . “How is it different when you put yourself in that context?” “When’s the next time you’re in that context? What’s different now? How much better does it feel now?”

A two-part map across

For this we will work with beliefs, but it can also be done with other things, such as motivations or values.

  1. Identify a limiting belief in a context where you want more choice. Write down the submodalities of this.
  2. Identify an old belief that is no longer true to you or that you are now doubting. Write down the submodalities of ‘I once believed this’ (for example, I still own my child’s bike now).
  3. Map across: change the submodalities of the limiting belief into the submodalities of “I once believed this.” (By the way, this happens as you enter the representation of the limiting belief: gradually the submodalities of this change …)
  4. Do the same with a new belief that you would like to have as a new choice, and the representation of a belief that you believe in with absolute certainty (the sun rises tomorrow).


  • You can also choose to first query all submodalities of the limiting belief, ‘once believed’, the new desired belief and certainty, and only then do the mapping across for everything at once. You could also use a different order.
  • The article on beliefs explains the horseshoe model, in which you do not immediately bring the new belief to certainty, but in which you also build in an intermediate step: open to believe. You can also do that here with mapping across.

Mapping Across for Like to dislike: an example, step by step

Mapping across is explained above for working with beliefs. Let’s also look at an example of how we can use it for working with ‘like to dislike’: something you love and something you don’t like. For this we use a one-part mapping across.

Below, we will look at an excellent example from David Shephard:

  1. For example, a client who wants to get rid of her chocolate addiction finds her mother’s soup very dirty.
  2. “Thinking about how much you love chocolate chip cookies, do you have an idea?” Request and reinforce all submodalities. Before you get to the auditory system, ask, are there any sounds that matter? Before going to the kinesthetic system, ask, are there any feelings that are important? Note: request the submodalities quickly. Just a bit faster than what the conscious brain can keep up with.
  3. Then the same is done with the dirty soup. For example, the client has to gag when she sees her mother’s soup in front of her, from which she sees steaming ‘blub blub’ coming out. This gets worse when the coach imaginatively brings the location (often an important submodality) of the dirty soup image closer and reinforces the submodalities.
  4. Then the coach only needs to get some chocolate (a real bar or an imaginary one) and give it all the submodalities of the soup, including the steaming ‘blub blub’. This is the “switch trick.” If you don’t have the object at hand, use the ‘like’ image from step 2. For example, place the image exactly in the same place where the image of the dirty soup was. Secure it there. ‘You know the noise tupperware makes when it closes? Use that sound, or the sound of a heavy lock being activated, to fix the image. ‘
  5. This brings the coach closer and closer, while he echoes (back tracks) the submodalities mentioned by the client, ie literally renders them again. The coach also reinforces these submodalities somewhat. Calibrate whether the client is indeed gagging or recoiling from the chocolate.
  6. If this is successful, you will of course go future pacing it. “It’s the middle of the night, you are very hungry, you wake up and you see chocolate in the drawer. What are you doing?” During the future pace, the coach can still insist whether the client really does not want a chocolate chip with tea.

‘Freestyle’ with Mapping Across: for example combining it with the Swish technique

mapping across like to dislike

You can also use it for motivation by taking an event that involves pleasure, desire and / or security. For example certainty: take an event that you are sure will happen. For example, that you go to bed tonight or go to work tomorrow. Take the submodalities of that and do a mapping across with the submodalities of a task that you are looking up to.

Of course you don’t just have to use a map across for motivation. Mapping across is just one of the many techniques that work with submodalities. You can also freestyle with submodalities.

In fact, the following freestyle example is kind of a Swish:  think of something you’re motivated for. For example, watching a series as a reward for a task. Reinforce the submodalities to make them attractive. Think of a task that you should do and that you are looking for motivation and fun for. Place the image of what you enjoy doing behind the image of the mandatory task. Time for mischief! Tear a hole through the image so that the fun image behind it can be seen. Enjoy the feeling as you stare at the task. Close the hole. Repeat a few times, and test at the end.

Another example of a creative mapping across: noughts and crosses

Let’s see how to visualize like to dislike in a different way:

  1. Imagine that 9 boxes have been drawn for you, such as the game of noughts and crosses
  2. Imagine there is {a soft drink} for you. Which of those boxes is it in?
  3. What do you think is very dirty but is very healthy? Put it in another cage.
  4. Imagine that what you think is dirty shifts to the same pen of the soda.
  5. Imagine it taking over the color, taste, and smell of the soda.

Play regularly with the submodalities ‘distance’ and ‘location’

With the example above you mainly play with the submodality: location. Distance and location are one of the most powerful submodalities. You can apply them very quickly in all kinds of situations.

For example, if you want to make rapport with someone, you can put the submodality ‘location’ of the image you have of a stranger to the location of the image you have of a friend. The other person will then automatically feel like a friend to you.

In short: be creative in coming up with exercises

In short: be creative and simply design your own exercises and visualisations. For example based on the personal metaphors of the other person, which you can nicely ‘utilize’. If the person in question is a board game fanatic, use the above butter cheese and egg visualization. If it is a football fanatic, use a football field as a visualization.

As long as you keep the essence of a technique like mapping across, you can experiment as much as you want.

You can use Mapping Across for more things

You can also treat beliefs, emotions or physical problems with mapping across. Why would you want that? Your values  and goals can sometimes face obstacles, and it is useful if you can use a mapping across for that.

You may be haunted by your poor health when you want to be healthy. In that case, you can experience pleasant submodalities for pursuing a healthy lifestyle (strength, fitness, etc.), instead of the annoying submodalities that you have experienced so far because of your weak health (cough, cold, etc.). We often feel much worse than what is necessary for the actual severity of the ailment. We are human beings and we are guided by emotions. So we can do something about that.

What if we swap those ‘like submodalities’ and ‘dislike submodalities’ so that we can get through life without feeling so bad about our handicaps?

  1. “Think of a pleasant image.” Discover and describe all submodalities. Make this image look somewhat like the unwanted image, so let it be a similar situation and not something completely different. For example, the client sees himself laughing, he or she feels light and hears himself or herself whistling.
  2. “Notice the unwanted image of your current health.”
  3. Swap the submodalities of the images. “What happens when you see the version of yourself, who has a disease, with that smile on her face, have that light feeling, and hear her whistle?” These submodalities must be similar. exchange with wine, in terms of color and taste.
  4. As always, remember to test, future pace, and break states when you’re done with it all the time.

Other Use: Using Under-the-Radar Mapping Across

This is how Derren Brown used the Mapping Across without the client noticing.

He started with the weak belief that needs to be strengthened:
“Do you have a belief that it is helpful if you could believe it more strongly than you believe it at the moment?”
“That I can perform better at school, that I can finish all my homework.”
“That picture is not really certain yet, is that correct? When you look at it, it doesn’t feel solid and secure. ”
Derren uses his trembling right hand as the image on which to see it. At the same time he touches her left shoulder / arm.

Then he added a random belief that is absolutely certain,
“Where do you live?”
“I live in Vegas.”
“If you think about that, that you live in Vegas, you feel confident. You know you live in Vegas, that’s for sure and firm. You definitely live in Vegas. ”
Derren uses his stable left hand as an image on which to see it.
At the same time Derren touches her right shoulder / arm.

Finally, he performed the mapping across:
Derren now changes the location of the right hand and left shoulder to the other side: the side where the certainty is located. He takes his left hand to the right image and drags it to the other side. “That image that is uncertain and difficult to understand, if you move it here, the same image in which you can see yourself succeed, if you place it here (now it touches her other shoulder), if you look at it now, does it look more secure? How does it feel when you look at that image of success and certainty? ”

Mapping across has the same effect as the collapsing anchors technique: conveying a resource state of mind to a problem situation. That is the goal of most NLP techniques. And like most NLP techniques, you can just do this under the radar:

“How do you see the concerns about not doing the project?” Your boss stares into space. Watch where he is looking.

“Those are indeed objections to be taken seriously. And if you look at the benefits? Where are the benefits of this project?”

Ah they are there. “So we have to consider these (point to the location of the objections) important valid objections, otherwise we have no chance of success (point to the location of the benefits).”

Now pull the objections to the location of the benefits.

“See what I’m talking about?”

Perform a mapping across quickly

You want to make this an unconscious process , without interference from the conscious brain. Both requesting and changing the submodalities can therefore be nice and fast: ‘Move it there, put it in color, turn it back slightly, click it in place, and you’re done!

Now you can perform Mapping Across

During an NLP (Master) Practitioner Training , mapping across is discussed extensively.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!