Introduction to Neuro-Semantics

At the beginning of the 90’s, Michael Hall, doctor in Psychology and Neuro-Liniguistics trainer, modeled the structure of ‘resilience’, or ‘culbuto’ attitude, whereby we are able to get through life’s travails, in order to move forward.
In the process, he identified that our mind does not operate in a linear A to Z fashion. Rather, it meanders, takes detours, goes in circles. Thus, each one of us creates his own ‘psycho-logic’, logical only to him (in the best of cases). This meandering can be helpful, or unhelpful: they can create vicious circles that block or diminish us, or virtuous circles that propel us higher, and farther forward.

From his experience, Hall extracted the Meta-States Model, which clarifies how we think, feel and act in relation to external events, or even vis-a-vis oneself.

Indeed, we do not simply think, feel or act in relation to the surrounding world – what Hall calls primary states, as they face externally – we think about what we think, what we feel, we have feelings about our feelings or our thoughts, and so on – what Hall calls meta-states, as they face inward.

Neuro-Semantics explores the way in which we create meaning for ourselves about everything and anything, and how we encode this meaning in our minds and bodies. It stems from Michael Hall, Bobby Bodenhamer (Doctor in Divinity), Denis Bridoux and others reworking Korsybski’s General Semantics from a Neuro-Linguistic angle, the end product of which was the merger of these two disciplines at the end of the 90’s.

The objective of Neuro-Semantics is to give the individual studying it an understanding – at the structural level – of how our mind operates, which will allow the individual to track the mind’s path as they think or feel something about another thing, thus allowing them to progress towards, and reach, self-actualisation.

Nous pouvons valider et améliorer encore plus ce que nous faisons. Si notre situation ne nous convient pas, on peut faire quelque chose, de telle sorte que le sens que l’on a attribué à la situation change et que l’on fonctionne mieux. En bref, c’est un instrument idéal pour développer son intelligence émotionnelle.

As the years went by, Neuro-Linguistics has elaborated a number of processes to give people the meansto change by solving their issues, or by finding even better solutions. However, we now know that the efficiency of a these processes depends on the manner in which our mind self-reflects, or references itself: it is our Neuro-Semantic ability to operate in the world and interact with it.

In a few words, to summarise the relationship between Neuro-Linguistics and Neuro-Semantics:

  • Neuro-Linguistics is about how we perceive things and represent them within ourselves in sensory-based terms (VAKOG), so we can work on them;
  • The Meta-States Model, presented above, is about how we think about how we perceive things and represent them within ourselves;
  • Neuro-Semantics is about the way we create conceptual and reference frames in our mind and the way in which this affects our thinking, our representations and our perceptions.

Neuro-Semantics therefore allows us to structure Neuro-Linguistics to make it even more efficient. It provides us the tools to change and update our perceptual maps to transform the meaning we give to what we experience, so that it, the meaning, becomes more useful/resourceful. It brings us even more flexibility and fluidity to address the things we wish to accomplish, in a way that respects the environment ( ecosystem..???) and people around us.


Definition: each individual translates the meaning and significance they create in their mind (personal semantic) into emotions and feelings in their body (their neurology) through states and meta-states, to create their Neuro-Semantic states.

Factors of Neuro-Semantics:

  • Emotions: when something means something to one, one feels it in one’s body. This significance is shaped into values, strong beliefs, understanding, etc.
  • Making meaning: Neuro-Semantics is a model framing the way we make meaning through evaluation, experiences, events, words, etc. It is a model on the way we live in this world, in a Meaning Matrix, which we build and that we inherit from others and from our culture.
  • The Meaning Matrix: Neuro-Semantics describes the frames of reference we use in one’s life and the frames of significance we build. This generates a Meaning Matrix in which we live and operate.
  • Semantic reactions: these are the reactions occurring, which indicate the structure of our (personal) semantic
  • Generative Neuro-Semantics: as we develop the emergence of new states, we have new experiences, which add up to more than the sum of the individual parts (creativity, happiness, synergy, etc.)
  • A systemic nature: the neuro-semantic structure of meta-states implies a different of thinking to the one one traditionally expects, whereby one goes from linear to non-linear thinking. Systemic thinking implies reflexivity, recurrence, and spiral thinking. This means going back and forth along the spirals shaping the frames of the Matrix.

The Neuro-Semantics Models:
Here are some of the models developed in Neuro-Semantics. There are many more:

  • The Meta-States Model which maps our reflexivity and describes how we place states upon states
  • The Mind Lines Model for reframing a conversation
  • The Frame Game Model which allows one to diagnose, understand and work with states and behaviours, as if these were ‘games’ conducted and shaped by ‘frames’ or other ‘rules’.
  • The Matrix Model which specifies and describes the 7 matrices as diagnostic and modeling tools.
  • The Axes of Change Model which maps the process of change and transformation.

Our Matrix of Frames

  • The Significance, Meaning Matrix: We evolve in an inner world made up of frames built around ideas, events, emotions, hopes, fears, passions etc. This significance and references matrix creates our ‘MEANING’ of reality and the objective structure of our experience.
  • The Matrix Model: we have several types of matrices: process matrices which create structures , content matrices which encompass key concepts and the semantic realities, and the states matrix, upon which the others rest. This include the 5+2+1 Matrices of our ‘mind-body-emotion’ system.
  • How to Master our Matrix: becoming aware of our Matrix enables us to detect it when active and thus, to master it.

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