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Time Line Therapy® Explained [All Info & Examples]

Time Line Therapy® Explained [All Info & Examples]

Time Line Therapy® works so well, but many people don’t know it yet. That is why in this article you will find information and explanations about  timeline therapy as Tad James discovered it, so that you can start working with timelines.

Preliminary note: TLT VS NLP timelines

It is important to know that within NLP timelines were already used before Tad James came up with Time Line Therapy®. Think of the change personal history technique. In addition, within NLP you can safely work with a kinesthetic timeline, which you place on the floor by means of cards, for example. With Time Line Therapy® you work strictly with a timeline that you make a visualization of in your mind.

Time Line Therapy® does not appear in many courses because it would not be pure NLP. This article uses the official form of timeline therapy, as published in the book: Time Line Therapy and the basis of Personality by Tad James.

Is someone ‘in time’ or is someone ‘through time’?

nlp timeline therapy

Ask the following question and then analyze the answer:

Take a memory from the past and one from the future. In which direction do you experience the past and the future?

People who are through time:

  • The timeline moves from left to right or right to left, in front of the person, in full view. In any case, there is no piece of the timeline behind the person.
  • These people are in constant contact with the past and the future. They are aware of the timeline.
  • Dissociated . These people look at themselves in memory.
  • The now is ahead of them (as is the entire timeline: no part goes through the person).
  • Hours determine the amount of money that is earned.
  • Want to get their money’s worth by using up the time of a shift.
  • They are orderly, tidy, do not like chaos, as evidenced by their linear sense of time where memories are stored in a logical order.
  • They are constantly in touch with the times: they are on time or know they are late.
  • Can’t cope with, “Later you’ll look back on it and laugh about it.” Because for these people, the memories are always in front of them, or at least in their field of vision and therefore not behind them.
  • Bundle their memories into one gestalt. “I can think of beautiful and negative memories. But not specific ones.” To find a specific one, you can say, “If the timeline goes from left to right, flip back through your memories like the pages of a book.

People who are in time:

  • The timeline moves from back to front or front to back. Part of the timeline is behind the person, so that piece is not visible.
  • Part of the timeline passes through the person. For example, the person is in the now.
  • May be late for appointments. Lose themselves in time.
  • Can experience easily associated memories.
  • Can be in the here-and-now more easily, with the past behind them and the future in front of them. The past and future are not constantly right in front of them.

This is how you find out whether someone is through or in time:

  • Where does the now lie for you and in which direction does the past and the future lie for you?
  • Stop and remember a memory of the past. Now (!), From what direction did the memory come?
  • Now, think of something that’s going to happen in the future. Now, from what direction did that memory come to you?
  • control: For example, if the answer was on the left, “If you look in that direction, do you see all the memories of the past?”

The core of timeline therapy: drawing lessons (to let go of past emotions)

nlp timeline therapy

While there are several basic techniques, most techniques (such as letting go of past emotions and limiting decisions) come down to retaining the lessons you can learn from the first significant emotional event that triggered it. As long as you remember this, TLT will be easy for you.

A probably superfluous remark: feeling ‘negative’ emotions is in itself good, and at the same time it is the case that holding on to them (past emotions) is not desirable for several reasons.

It was just an event and you can learn from it.

When looking for lessons to learn, it is recommended to pay attention to the following:

  • Lessons you learn from an event are never negative, they are formulated positively;
  • they are not about the past, but about the future;
  • and they are never about others, they are about yourself.

In addition to learning lessons, past dissociation is an effective part of TLT. This happens in position 3. “Float higher and further back, so that the emotion loosens … now.”

In addition, there are other mechanisms that come into effect with TLT …

The power of timelines: why does TLT work even more?

Why does timeline therapy work so well? That’s because it makes smart use of the following powers:

  1. The Psychological Reframing: Leslie Cameron-Bandler and Alfred Korzybski contributed to the discovery that emotions take time to express their meaning. So a switch in the time perspective reframes the emotion, making it disappear.  Shame and guilt, in particular, are completely related to time. From a technical point of view this is a context reframing (rethinking).
  2. A specific TLT technique called “Restrictive Decisions” reframes the problem into choice : “Where were you when you chose to do {problem}?”
  3. The Metaphysical Illusion : Based on metaphysical thinking, there is only one real emotion on the planet: Love. All negative emotions are derivatives of fear and are illusions. So a switch in the time perspective shows that the emotion is an illusion, and it disappears.
  4. Quantum Physics (Non-Mirror Image Reverse): Position 3 of the exercises is the Non-Mirror Image Reverse of the way emotion is held in the ‘now’. This position acts like an ” antimatter, ” and the neurological boundaries of the emotion in the body are erased: they disappear.
  5. The power of the fact that our thoughts are so incredibly fast . Later is still now. You influence the future with TLT: when we put a future goal in the timeline, we change it now.
  6. The power of the subconscious mind . Time Line Therapy® is therefore also done quickly : just a little faster than the conscious brain can keep up with, so that you can bypass that and get started with the subconscious. You also avoid the conscious brain by not talking about it (much) during the technique.
  7. The power of the root cause of a gestalt. A gestalt is a series of memories attached to an unresolved emotion. This works like a chain with beads. If you cut it at the first reminder, the ‘root cause’, all other beads will also fall out.

The exact steps of the Time Line Therapy® techniques

While NLP is in the public domain as a result of lawsuits, Time Line Therapy® is not.

After consultation with Adriana James, I decided not to write anything about the step-by-step plans of the techniques themselves. I only have the right to use Time Line Therapy® in personal coaching and to write about it in an informative way.

You can learn the official steps at one of the official TLT trainers at home and abroad.

Closing Thoughts and the Timeline Therapy Book (Tip)

timeline therapy

This was the comprehensive article on Time Line Therapy®. After you have done a TLT session, it is nice to do another ‘cleanup’ with the technique ‘integrating parts.’

In any case, make sure to read Tad James’ official book: Time Line Therapy and the Basics of Personality. This is an important book that also places Time Line Therapy® in the light of values ​​and metaprograms.

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!


  1. Janet

    what a nice clear article.

  2. Sonal

    Your English is perfect and thanks for writing such an informative write-up. It’s like a refresher for anyone who has learned Timeline therapy. Good job!

  3. Mika Archie

    This was such a great article. It left me wanting more!!!!! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Anonymous

    Hey maybe because your not English speaker you can give a great simple explanation of TLT mate cheers