The Map is not the Territory

Perhaps the most common of all of the NLP presuppositions and often the most mis-understood. At its simplest this comes down to what people believe isn’t necessarily what is real, and our experience of reality is unique to us and no-one else.

The wording of this presupposition is based upon the metaphor of the traveller who flies to New York and buys a map, unfortunately due to a printing error the map is of Chicago (although it say’s it is New York). The traveller tries to find their way around the City but nothing seems to be where it is supposed to be; they try to be smarter to no avail, they put their head down and try to think deeply but they are still lost. No matter what they do they never seem to make any headway.

The moral of this story (and the main concept of the presupposition) is that the representation of your experience (the map) is not the real world and the two can be very different.

As an NLP practitioner you must take on board the fact that no matter what your version of reality is (and it is just your map) you must accept your clients representation (their map) is a true representation of their reality.

The change patterns within NLP are designed to change a persons representational map.

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