Internal Representations in NLP is the content of our thinking or the confirmation of information which includes Pictures, Sounds, Feelings, Tastes, Smells, and Self Talk.
In NLP, we conclude that the world is a series of perceptions: That we have to delete, distort and generalise all the information coming into us, then form an idea of what that data means.
We do that via the human communication model which turns all outside information into our own individual perception of life. The pictures sounds and feelings (plus self-talk) VAGOK, are our way of perceiving life, BUT it isn’t life at all – its a perception of life.
The internal representation is simply the best we can do with the measuring equipment we have. Concluding that external life is way too massive and undetectable for our systems to cope with, so we are left with an internal representation.
Plato says we live in a world of illusions. These internal representations are one reason why he would say that.
As an NLP Practitioner, understanding how internal representations work is one of the key pillars of successful work with clients. When you elicit the internal representation from a client, you can then use NLP techniques to change the internal representation in order to cause a different behaviour or state.
An example of this would be working with the ‘like to dislike’ technique. During this technique you elicit the internal representations for both the food that they like and dislike and throughout the technique, the internal representation will change, therefore causing a different response.
Once you understand how to change internal representations, you can change your own. If you wanted to be more motivated about going to the gym, you could find your internal representation and change the submodalities to cause a different effect to the system.
Also see submodalities.