Generalisations Deletions and Distortions

Generalisations Deletions and Distortions


We all use generalizations, deletions and distortions. It just one way our mind makes sense of the world quickly. But generalizations, deletions and distortions can become limiting beliefs which stop your clients from moving forward with your life.


You can challenge the client’s generalizations, deletions and distortions through meta-model questioning. The meta model ask for details and allows your clients to look at what is making them stuck from a new perspective – it challenges their limiting beliefs and lowers residence.


The key here is listening to the clients words rather then what the client is communicating. The words people use will tell you if the client is using generalizations, deletions or distortions (left hand column) you can then challenge these using the suggested phrases (right hand column) with practice you will be able to challenge the GDD using your own phrases.


You will also see that some GDD statements could fit into more then one heading.





Universal Qualifiers –

used when people feel stuck. They imply there is no exception to their experience. Listen for “always, never, every, all, everyone, no-one, everything, nothing”


I’m always depressed

Always? Even in the shower

You laughed earlier today, you didn’t seem depressed then.


Everyone hates me

Everyone? What about your New wife?





Model Operators –

something is require or not required to happen Listen for

“can, can’t, possible, impossible, should, shouldn’t, will, won’t, may, may not”

I cant get started in the morning

so, your trying to say that you have never be able to get started in the morning?

What would happen if you did get started?

What prevents you from getting started?




Simple Deletions –

information is left out


The other one is better.

Better than what?

I have learnt a lot

What specifically have you learnt?





Unspecified Verbs

(the doing part of the sentence)the lack of information allows others to fill the gap (mind reading) Ask who/how/what specifically

I can deal with it.


How specifically?

My friend hurt me


How did your friend hurt you?





turned a process into a verb Ask yourself – can I put in a box

There is no respect here.


Who is not respecting whom?

My relationship is in trouble

How is the way you are relating causing?






Cause — Effect

A caused B Listen for “if, then, makes, drive, compels”

My family makes me mad.


How do they make you mad?

Her refusal to listen really makes me sad.


How does her refusal make you sad?

I feel bad for making her cry.


What did you do that you believed made her cry?



Complex Equivalence

A means B Listen for “means, therefore, implies, must”


His e-mail was brief he must be angry

How does a short e-mail mean that he is angry?


The way he looks at me means he mistrust me


Does he ever look like that when he is trusting?



Mind Reading

claiming to know what the other person thinks

I know what makes him happy.


How do you know…?

He should know better.


How should he know not to do that?

I’m sorry to keep annoying you.


How do you know that you are annoying me?



Lost Performative

a value judgment is made without stating who has made the judgment

It’s right that people should know.


For whom is it true that people…?

Failure is a necessary part of the system.


Necessary for whom? Who says it is?

That is a stupid thing to say.


That is stupid according to whom?

Oh, it is not important anyway.


It is not important to whom?

It is not good to be strict.

Not good for whom?


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