By Roye’ Fraser and Ann M. Gardner, Ph.D.
Note: This article is the 1st in a series of articles on an effective process for creating second-order change known as ‘Generative Imprinting’. The work on this process began in 1985 and is now fully described in the forthcoming book, ‘Stalking Reality’. 
In the last few years, NLP has evolved into a highly sophisticated technology. With this advanced technology, we can now create generative, lasting changes in our own lives and help clients change the direction of their lives.
A client may come to us seeking relief only from a specific, conscripted set of symptoms. However, if we, for example, help a client overcome a simple phobia, she may return some time later with complaints of insomnia or recurrent obsessive fears.
A client’s migraine headaches may be “cured,” but other physical problems may subsequently take their place. Another client may be able to stop smoking only to start again when he encounters a particularly stressful situation.
Thanks to Robert Dilts’ extensive work on belief systems , we know that the specific difficulties a person is experiencing often reflect broader belief or identity issues. Our goal then is to create lasting second-order change, that is, change that is pervasive across contexts and capabilities or behaviors. When we achieve second-order change, we do in fact, accomplish desired shifts in behavior while addressing issues at the belief and identity levels.
Generative Imprinting™ is founded on Richard Bandler’s innovative work with submodalities, time line, and the hypnotic language patterns of Milton Erickson. 
The term ‘Imprinting’ is drawn from Konrad Lorenz’s work on early experience. While Dilts focuses attention on unpleasant or traumatic past experiences that serve as negative imprints, the process we are describing presupposes the generative effects of positive early experiences, in particular those at the foundation of our highest values and most creative powers.
What Is The Generative Imprint?
The Generative Imprint is the iconic representation of an individual’s highest criteria and most creative state on a spiritual plane. The Generative Imprint reflects unconscious core Source experience. By eliciting the submodality distinctions of this internal representation, we enable a client to bring this Source experience into conscious awareness in such a way that it serves as a guidepost or beacon for aligning behavior with powerful positive beliefs that reflect the Source experience.
Accessing the Generative Imprint can – in fact – be thought of as a philosophical experience at the highest level. It is spiritual or metaphysical. The Generative Imprint is enigmatic and elusive, and at the same time, carries with it an enormous drive. What it all adds up to is a feeling; as Source is actualized, there is an internal proprioceptive sensation.
This resulting sensation serves as the INTENT which propels the individual to engage in behaviors that MOVE TOWARD outcomes aligned with the positive beliefs and values associated with the Generative Imprint.
Joseph Campbell described the process as “following your bliss”. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you; and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are – if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” 
A model known as the Function Model™  provides a framework for understanding how beliefs and intent are manifested in behavioral performance that is congruent with the ‘Core Source Experience’. The next article in this series describes the phases of the Function Mode in detail. Briefly – however – once the Generative Imprint serves as a catalyst for uncovering ‘Core Source Experience’ and the concomitant BELIEFS/INTENT, a compelling MOTIVATION forms.
Once there is ADDITIONAL DATA about linked internal representational experience and physiology, CONVICTION about the direction and path needed for manifesting intent is strengthened.
Finally, by refining DECISION strategies, the individual has a basis for making behavioral choices and acting to achieve ~atisfaction and fulfill intent (T.O.T.E.  /ACTION).
1. BELIEFS/INTENT > 2. MOTIVATION > 3. ADDITIONAL DATA > 4. CONVICTION > 5. DECISION > 6. T.O.T.E /ACTION
How Is The Generative Imprint Uncovered?
Uncovering the Generative Imprint is the glyph-like unfolding of petals which open to reveal the very mystery of what it means to be alive. You might even take the time now to consider what you hold most sacred – that intangible something, almost unimaginable, that is at the very center of your heart – at the very core of your being. You may already be sensing that even though it is something quite beyond words, you know as you feel it that this “something” means everything to you.
Another NLP practitioner calibrating your physiology and accessing cues can make a hypothesis about the modalities in which this core experience is lodged. Yet FORM remains elusive at this stage.
So we begin again by eliciting another potent resource state, a highly ‘Generalized Desired State’ (GDS) that will offer a pathway to the Generative Imprint: “Think of how you want to be for the rest of your life, the way of BEING that represents the way you have always dreamed you can be. And think·of the way you are now when you are at your best“.
By following the abbreviated steps outlined below, you will begin to access your own Generative Imprint:
- Elicit the submodalities associated with this GDS.
- Identify nominalizations and physiological correlates.
- Form five representations (one at a time) of yourself engaging in specific behaviors which reflect the GDS in relation to each of the primary behavioral filters (People, Places, Things, Information, and Activity).
- Anchor the associated internal experience of the GDS.
- Form a fully associated, amplified and intensified experience of the GDS. Again consider what you hold most sacred at the very core of your being.
- As a symbolic representation of this core experience begins to emerge, identify the submodalities that are most in your awareness.
- Choose a nominalization that relates to this experience.
- Anchor the kinesthetic state associated with this experience.
You are, no doubt, becoming aware of the impact of this compelling resource. We can only provide an inkling of its power through a brief article. The complete process also involves the use of hypnotic language patterns, building effective strategies at each phase of the Function Mode, and the use of the time line to create a compelling direction for weaving the Generative Imprint into everyday life and overcoming limiting behaviors and beliefs. The subsequent articles in this series will delineate the process for identifying and utilizing the Generative Imprint in more detail. And as you become familiar with the process, you will understand how it relates to the very genius of human creativity.
What Are The Applications For The Generative Imprint?
The Generative Imprint has applications in all aspects of therapeutic work, including health-related work. It also serves as a particularly effective foundation for seminars and groups which emphasize personal change. The process is also incorporated into all aspects of the NLP Certification trainings offered by NLP America, Inc. We use more conversational applications of the process in business contexts (for example in executive coaching and in seminars on topics such as Motivation and Stress Management). The following case description provides a more specific example of the process.
Background and Presenting Problem: C.M. is a 35-year old Chinese-American female who lives in New York City. She is a martial arts performer and trainer and a physical fitness coach. She and her husband had recently separated. She wanted help getting through the divorce and “to overcome anxieties about the future” and about being on her own. She spoke of her “fear of what is ahead.” She hoped that through NLP she could find a direction and the resources to fulfill her dreams. The features of her GDS and Generative Imprint are described below.
1. GENERALIZED DESIRED STATE (GDS)
- Visual – represented as a blue/red/and gold horizon, 5-6 feet straight out in front, somewhat hazy, but bright, broad panorama.
- Auditory – sound of breathing only.
- Kinesthetic – feeling of warmth and movement across the chest.
- Physiology – centered upright position, breathing in chest.
- Nominalization – “integrity.”
At Her Best
- Visual – color starting from left side. mid-chest, extending up and out at a 30 degree angle to a horizon about 1 1/2 feet away, wrapped all around her; vivid colors and brighter lighting.
- Auditory – “low growl“, an internal rhythmic drone – “vrrr“.
- Kinesthetic – warmth spreading from her feet, up through her legs with a tingling sensation and up and out from the middle of her chest.
- Physiology – repeated movement of right hand, palm out, toward the “horizon“; left hand repeatedly touching heart in a slow rhythm synchronized with her breathing.
- Nominalization – “compassion” and “purposeful groundedness.”
2. GENERATIVE IMPRINT™
- Visual – a female image – warrior/teacher; upper right quadrant, 60 degree elevation, 2 feet high, 2 1/2 feet away; bright light, predominantly the gold and red seen in the GDS representation.
- Auditory – very quiet except for slow rhythmic pulse of heart beat in chest.
- Kinesthetic – warmth circling shoulders, through the chest.
- Olfactory – “almost overpowering” Chinese herbal scent.
- Physiology – hand held with palm toward her just below the image, same distance as GDS; chest out, full breathing. centered torso; fluttering squinted eyes.
- Nominalization – “sword with edification and enlightenment – strength; a strong sense of my Chinese heritage“.
3. ACTIVATING DESIRED GENERATIVE IMPRINT
Once the state associated with the Generative Imprint was anchored, C.M. was asked to go back on her time line to times when she experienced this feeling, including the earliest memory she could access.
Then, firing the anchors for the GDS and the Generative Imprint in succession and weaving “compassion” and “centered groundedness” with “the sword of edification and enlightenment” and the “strength of [her] Chinese heritage“. She was asked to go to her future time line and, using the behavioral filter of ‘Activities’, mark out times when this way of being could serve her.
She then commented, “It’s almost as if I know there’s somewhere I have to go“. An important step since she stated at the beginning that through NLP she hoped she could find a direction.
The next stage in the process centered on building the new strategies she needed, particularly in regard to her work and relationships. The next article in this series which focuses on the Function Mode will outline this subsequent work.
Since development of the Generative Imprinting Process began 5 years ago, it has become ever more clear that accessing the highly creative resource state associated with the Generative Imprint is critical to the alignment ofself and to the evolutionary process.
This alignment enables the individual to reach and internal harmonic resonance so vital to balance no matter what the initial outcome may be. By chunking up from the Desired State to the largest chunk to arrive at GDS. It is then possible to create lasting change that is cross-contextualized by chunking laterally via the five behavioral filters.
By subsequently linking this process to ‘core values and beliefs’ and then integrating them with motivation, conviction, and decision-making, Source experience is manifested in behavior and the individual is centered and aligned.
1. Fraser, Roye’, Stalkillg RealiJy. Cup.”lino, CA: Mota Publications, in preparation, 1991.
2. Dilts, Robert, ‘Changing Belief Systems with NLP’, Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications, 1990.
3. Bandler, Richard (Edited by C. Andreas and S. Andreas), ‘Using Your Brain for a Change’, Moab, VI: Real People Press, 1985.
4. Campbell, Joseph & William Moyers, ‘The Power of Myth’. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1988, p. 91.
5. Dilts, Robert, et al, ‘Neuro-Linguistic Programming; Volume I, The Study of the structure of Subjective Experience’. Cupertino, CA, Meta Publications, 1980.