META coaching

If you know NLP, then you have heard about George Miller’s famous paper. It was published in 1956 and, in part, launched the Cognitive Psychology Movement. Now that’s a really influential paper! “The Magic Number 7+/- 2” also played a big role in the formative ideas of NLP as it identified how many ‘things’ we can hold in consciousness at a time. Even today 7+/-2 still maintains a near magical role in psychology.

If that’s a magic number, what we want to zoom-in on here, and highlight, is a magic word, the magical word of-meta. And no, not Facebook’s new name! In NLP the word meta goes back way, way before that! we’re rather referring to the word which Bateson introduced as a way to model and understand cultures, schizophrenia, learning, and much more. And because Bateson introduced the word and used it so prolifically, the early NLP community did so also.

Now unknown to most NLP people

Before they invented the name “NLP” in 1976, in the years from 1972 to 1976, the pre-NLP people were called “the Meta People.” Frank Pucelik then established “The Meta Institute” in 1978 in San Diego and later in Oklahoma. Even today, Frank has “Meta International” as a NLP Association in Ukraine, Russia, and other former Soviet countries.
But while they claimed the name, the early NLP people didn’t give much attention to meta as a concept. While they used the name to name lots of things- meta-position, meta-level, meta-tactics, meta-representational system (language), etc., for the most part they looked down on meta.

How can we say that?

Because in the 1980 book, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, meta was pretty much reduced to a tiny little place in the Strategy Model, the little “m” after a representational step-a tiny superscript. This little meta didn’t seem to get any respect! In reading a strategy, it reads like an after-thought, and that’s all.

But little meta was given a great big boost when Michael Hall discovered a whole new domain of meta. The discovery of the Meta-States Model in 1994, meta was finally treated to the respect it deserved. It was then noted that big meta provided the doorway to Logical Levels, to one’s “Model of the World,” to the hidden and unconscious structures that govern all human “programming,” and much more. The big meta within Meta-States led to the re-modeling of all of the major models in NLP.

That’s what Bob Bodenhamer and Michael did in the late 1990s as we used big meta to take a fresh look at the Meta-Model, Sub-Modalities, Meta-Programs, Time-Lines, etc. Over those years, Michael kept attempting to map out the territory of meta. About 1998 Michael did that, along with Bob, and they came up with the four Meta-Domains of NLP. After that, in 2002 Michel constructed the Matrix Model with seven meta-dimensions.


At that same time, in Neuro-Semantics, we took big meta and designed the entire Meta-Coaching System from it. More recently (2022) Michael decided to return to the field of psychotherapy and again, using big meta, designed Meta-Therapy. Now in writing that book as well as the previous book, Thinking as a Modeler (2019), Michael found him self talking about the meta place. This came out of researching being, and Maslow’s B-values, in the Self-Actualization books. Then as he wrote, Inside Out and Inspiring the Heart (2022), and mentioning the meta place again and again, he got wondering:

• What is this meta place, really?

• What is in the meta place?

• Is it possible to describe the landscape of the meta place?

Meta is magical because it lies at the heart of being human.

It is the source of creativity and the place where all of your potentials emerge. It is the place where we do coaching and where we do therapy. And because of that, that’s where coaches and therapists take their clients-if they are skilled. Actually, everything really important to we humans occurs in the meta place. It is in the meta place that you will find the inner game and your “model of the world.”

Michael wrote an introductory chapter about the meta place in the new book, Meta-Therapy. Upon finishing that book, he kept thinking about the meta place and the more he thought, the more facets of meta opened up. “he could write a whole book on meta” he said to his wife, Geraldine. She looked at him in a way that said, “Do it!” So that’s what he’s now doing. On a recent day at the coffee shop, he shared a diagram of the meta place with her, and she got more excited about it than he did.”This puts everything in NLP and Neuro-Semantics in place and makes it make more sense.” And, hoping that others will have that same response, he’s still in pursuit of the meta place and describing its landscape. And why? Because meta is such a magic idea.

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