NLP Education World

Understanding NLP Meta Model – Distortion, Generalization and Deletion

NLP Meta Model

NLP Meta & Milton Model

Understanding the NLP Meta Model

John Grinder and Richard Bandler created the NLP Meta Model, and it is a linguistic tool that was first published in 1975. It is essentially a number of questions that will enable you to determine some quality information.
One of the most important uses of the Meta Model is to understand what individuals really mean with their communications rather than your perception of what you believe they are saying. You can also use the Meta Model on your own thoughts to improve and achieve more in your life.

The idea behind the NLP Meta Model is that we don’t interact directly with the world but we use our sensory organs to ingest information and then apply three modeling processes which are “distortion”, “generalization” and “deletion” to create a map or internal representation.
Our maps consist of images, feelings, sounds, smells, and tastes. These maps exist in our minds and are not truly the real world. They are our representation of the world that we see internally. “The map is not the territory” was a famous phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski – the founder of General Semantics.

Meta Model ~ Distortions

The process of distortion enables you to create, manufacture, manipulate, and construct sensory information. With distortion, you bring information in through your senses and then you play around with it in your mind so that you create new understandings, ideas, and concepts.
Examples of distortion are different ways that an individual can think about the world such as spirituality, ideology, philosophy, religion, the creation of new inventions, having fantasies about a lover, the creation of fiction and the production of movies.
All of these things exist because of our ability to distort our reality. Using the power of distortion, it is possible for you to create and play with different thoughts and then produce a set of goals that will determine your future.

Meta Model ~ Generalizations

By using the process of generalization, you can pick out a specific element of your world model and then use this to provide a representation of a total category of experience. When you were a small child you learned that certain objects have handles enabling them to be held in the hands, opened, moved around and manipulated in other ways.
Examples of this are a cup, which has a handle, a bag that has a handle, a door that has a handle. Using your imagination you can extend this to key acting as a handle and knives and forks which help you to hold food and cut it. You can turn the water on and off by using a handle known as a tap and your TV is controlled by a remote control which is another handle.
When you use generalizations, there are advantages and disadvantages. As an example of a disadvantage, consider having a bad experience shopping. This does not mean that you will have bad experiences every time you shop but generalizations would suggest this.
You have to be careful of how generalizations are used. In some contexts, the use of certain words will be fine while in others it will not. If you generalize too much, then you will deprive yourself of some good opportunities.

Meta Model ~ Deletions

You will automatically use the process of deletion to provide selective attention. You may delete something consciously or unconsciously, but you need to make deletions as there is no way that you can process all of the information around you.
It is vital that you make the decision about what you want to focus on. When you do this, then you will automatically delete the other information possibilities. Think about trying to hear someone speak in a room full of people. You have to concentrate hard on what they are saying and delete all of the other conversations.
Deletions can be very helpful to you, but in other cases, they may limit your experiences. A classic example of this is where people delete all of the good things that others say about them and then concentrate on what they didn’t say or do. This can lead you to feel unloved because you deleted too much.


We hope that you were able to understand the NLP Meta Model and how distortion, generalization and deletion process works.

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