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The Matrix Model

The 7 Matrices of Neuro-Semantics and the Construction
of Meaning
by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.
Reviewed by Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D.

Morpheus: You know that something is wrong The mind, body, and emotions work as a system of
with the world. You can’t explain it, but you embedded, interacting frames. The frames within the
feel it, like a splinter in your mind, driving you Matrix are belief structures that govern reality constructs.
mad. The six essential frames are Self, Power,Time, Other,World,
and Intention.The seventh is Meaning; the frame that drives
Neo: The Matrix?
and organizes the other six. Making meaning relies on the
Morpheus: Yes, the Matrix. The world has been processes of perceiving, representing, classifying, making as-
pulled over your eyes to blind you from the sociations, evaluating, and framing experience.
Neo: What truth? The frames of the Matrix are layered around each
other and figuratively “flash on and off as they are acti-
Morpheus: That you were born into slavery, into vated.” Within the system are feedback and feed–for-
a prison you cannot see or smell… a prison of ward loops and “leverage points for transformation.” The
the mind… Unfortunately, no one can tell you frames do not form a hierarchy, but a holarchy in which
what the Matrix is; you have to see it for every part of the whole contains the whole. Hall puts forth
yourself. Take the Blue Pill, and you will wake that the Seven Matrices Model
up in your bed and believe whatever you want
to believe. Take the Red Pill and… I’ll show you …provides the newest model in Neuro-Semantics that
how deep the Rabbit Hole goes. unites all the component pieces, distinctions, patterns and
models in Neuro-Linguistics in the past 25 years. It pro-
vides a framework for how to use NLP and Neuro-Seman-
I n the sci–fi movie, The Matrix, Neo, the hero, takes the
Red Pill, and discovers that his life is only a computer–
generated dream—the Matrix. Reading Hall’s Matrix
tics effectively as a coach, manager, therapist, or communi-
cator. It also integrates the four meta-domains of NLP;
Model is like taking the Red Pill. His purpose is to reveal Language (the Meta–Model) Perception andThinking Pat-
that we create and live our so–called “reality” through terns (Meta–Programs), the Psycho–Logics of States and
“the symbolic world of ideas, language, beliefs, etc.” To Levels (Meta–States), and the Cinematic Features that we
master the Matrix is to take control of one’s mind. sense on the theater of our mind (sub–modalities or Meta-
Modalities). (pp. 24 – 25)
Hall’s Matrix is a model of the mind, composed of frames
of meaning, understandings, values, rules, and beliefs.The We are born into a Matrix that is determined to a
Matrix shapes our working model of the world. Living in large extent by culture.We have no choice about living in
the Matrix is akin to living in a movie that we continu- a Matrix, but, once enlightened, we can choose which
ously edit, direct, and produce—only we don’t know it. Matrix we live in, and change our frames at will.

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A Neuro–Semantic The way to “enter” the Matrix (your • The energy and information in
Framework own or another’s) is through commu- the Matrix creates a“movie” that
nication that begins with rapport, plays in the mind, with sub–mo-
safety, respect, and acknowledgment. dalities as the embedded code.
Hall gives the following as the basic
Here are some additional principals • Within the Matrix, resistance is
principles of his neuro–semantic
to keep in mind: a response to perceived danger.
• We create meaning by reflex- • Symptoms offer communica-
• The mind–body–emotions sys- tion about the Matrix.
ive meta–stating; classifying, la-
tem operates from and con-
beling, and evaluating, and asso-
structs frames of mind, mean-
ciating to emotions. Hall gives pointers for working
ing, and reference.
• The frames within the Matrix with a problematic Matrix. He ad-
• The system is a Matrix of em- vises readers to examine feedback
are self–organizing and operate
bedded frames of meaning.
simultaneously. and feed–forward loops, account for
These frames are solidified
• Whatever we focus on be- multiple variables, map self–organiz-
through culture, language, and
comes an “attractor frame” that ing patterns within the“neuro–seman-
can seem so “real” that we iden- tic network of structural patterning,”
• The frames are activated by and “identify emergent properties of
tify with it.
events and information.
• Our response at any moment the layering of the holarchies.” The
• Our neuro–semantic structures main message here is to think systemi-
is a function of our meaning–
are systemic, interactive, and dy-
making style. cally about the Matrix of the mind.
• The Matrix is revealed in lan-
guage and is dialog–activated.
• The Matrix operates from mul-
tiple intelligences, such as prob-
lem solving and reasoning, per-
sonal and relational intelligence,
and philosophical intelligence
(meaning, value and signifi-

The Matrix Model organizes the in-

formation, distinctions, and patterns
of human psychology and provides a
systemic way of thinking about sub-
jectivity. The processes within the
model are non–linear and simulta-
neous, with energy flowing in vari-
ous directions. The input is events
and information, the throughput is
internal processes, and the output is
behavior. Sometimes the system spins
out of control. Sometimes it reaches
homeostasis. Sometimes, to maintain
balance, it operates through self–ful-
filling prophecy.

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We relate to the world via neuro- the categories, classifications, associa- and Intention.For each matrix,Hall sug-
logical, representational, and concep- tions, evaluations, values, and beliefs gests NLP patterns for coaching and
tual maps that constitute a unique that create an internal neuro–seman- therapy, meta–programs to explore,
version of reality. Our subjective per- tic reality. Meaning is a fluid, dynamic, meta–model inquiries, and mind–lines
ceptions lead to states—mind–body ever-shifting process with an illusion (sleight of mouth patterns) to apply.
experiences of awarenesses made of of stability. We project meanings onto
thinking, emotion, and sensation. Our the world, and then think our mean- Self emerges from the first meta-
frames are “state dependent,” result- ings come from the world. Yet, ex- state; self–awareness. Self defines
ing from sensory–based representa- ternal events have meaning only as who we are, and all dimensions of
tions and language. We meta–state we make them meaningful. To con- self. Self involves facets of thought–
by interpreting and reflecting on our trol our meanings, we must ask and–feeling such as self–confidence
states. State management is the art whether they serve us, and if not, we and self–esteem, and sub–selves such
of awareness and control over states. must learn how to change meanings. as social self, cultural self, work self,
This is the focus of NLP and Neuro- etc. An exaggerated sense of self re-
Semantics. Working with the sults in feelings of entitlement and
strained relationships. A weak sense
Meaning, or “invented reality,” is Matrix of self results in co–dependency and
the core of the Matrix. To control neediness. A healthy Self Matrix as-
states is to control meanings. All The Matrix Model examines the role sumes one is worthy, valuable, and
other matrices emerge from the of meaning in each of the other six ma- lovable, in contrast to seeking expe-
Meaning Matrix. It is the source of trices: Self, Power, Time, Other, World, riences in the world to justify one’s
worth, value, and lovability.

Power is about having the re-

sources to handle challenges, solve
problems and take effective action. It
has to do with aptitudes, capabilities,
and mastery. “It’s the difference be-
tween learned helplessness and
learned optimism.” To strengthen a
weak Power Matrix calls for effec-
tive strategies for living.

Time involves frames about past,

present, and future, as well as the daily
sense of time. Time influences emo-
tions and performance and ties into
several Meta–Programs. We can
over–value or under–value the past,
present, or future. To strengthen the
Time Matrix is to develop a healthy
relationship with time.

Other governs what we believe,

understand, and expect of people and
relationships. The Other Matrix is
largely influenced by developmental

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experiences and is closely tied to that reveals the content of ones Ma- those I learned about in college and
the Self Matrix. The Other Matrix trix. The Matrix Model can also lend graduate school.
determines dependence, indepen- itself as a diagnostic tool. Hall offers
dence, and inter–dependence in re- diagnostic guidelines that explore de- The Matrix Model is not an easy
lationships.The Other Matrix can be velopment, meaning, beliefs, reflexive read, and sometimes gets heavy with
strengthened through enhanced so- thinking, concepts, principles, attitudes, “systems” jargon. I confess that I will
cial, communication, and relationship emotional predispositions, intentions probably never be able to “identify
skills. and values, ego strength, and personal emergent properties of the layering
power. of the holarchies,” nor will I consider
World refers to everything out- it necessary to the successful prac-
side of self: people and places, as well Conclusion tice of NLP. Hall, himself, cautions
as institutions such as religion, poli- readers that more than one than one
tics, government, and society. The reading may be necessary to get a
Once more, L. Michael Hall, a dis-
World Matrix is about what is safe full grasp of the book’s complexity.
tinguished psychologist, author, and
and dangerous, good and bad, —our trainer, has expanded the knowledge
“world view.” Our Meta–Programs Lest you think that The Matrix Model
base on NLP by presenting a com-
determine how we relate to the is long on theory and short on appli-
prehensive, dynamic model of the
world and our “style” of being in the cation, remember that this book is
mind. He has put forth a theory of
world. Working with belief patterns, intended as a companion volume to
human psychology that far surpasses
strategies, and Meta–Programs is im- many of Hall’s other books such as
portant to strengthening this matrix.

Intention addresses goals, pur-

poses, reasons, motivation, and direc-
tion. It is about what we want to ac-
complish and why. Intention is closely
The Matrix Model
tied to Power. A well–developed In- The 7 Matrices of Neuro-Semantics and the
tention Matrix combines purpose Construction of Meaning
with wisdom and spirit to make goals
meaningful, while we still enjoy mo- by L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.
ment–to–moment experience; find- is now also available at the
ing joy in the journey as well as in
the destination.
Anchor Point Store
“Mind” is a fluid process that spi-
rals upward through layers of mean-
ing and association. Hall likens the To order visit our web site:
mind to a whirlwind, an electromag-
netic image, or a kaleidoscope.Think-
ing is not linear, as the strategy model
portrays, but looping, recycling, dart- call 800-544-6480 or 801-534-1022
ing here and there in “systemic net- fax 801-532-2113
works of multiple processes.”
Hall provides interview questions
that can guide practitioners in devel-
oping a “Neuro–Semantic Profile”

January, 2003 45 - Anchor Point


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The Matrix Model does several fering, they are also the source of
things for NLP. It creates a scholarly joy, inspiration, awe, and bliss! The
blending of NLP and Neuro–Seman- challenge in life lies in constructing Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D., is a Licensed
tics into a coherent model of Mind. It meanings that bring positive states on Professional Counselor with a solo
provides a paradigm for the environ- a consistent basis. The question be- practice in Springfield,Virginia. She is a
ment within which NLP interventions manager with an international consulting
hind all of Hall’s work is not whether corporation, and a free-lance writer.
take place. It is an intriguing theory our meanings are true or false, right She is a certified NLP Trainer and an
of NLP and cognitive psychology, in or wrong, but whether they serve us Associate Trainer with the American
general. It emphasizes that thoughts so that we live resourcefully. Hypnosis Training Academy, and the
are not “things” but fluid, recursive, Mid-Lantic Institute of NLP, as well as
multi–dimensional and holographic Executive Director for the National Board
To purchaseThe Matrix Model, and of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.
processes. other books by Dr. L. Michael Hall visit, or contact:
One of the major tenets of The
Matrix Model is this: everything you
think is true about the world and all
your understandings are “made up.”
The 7-day Training that makes a difference
Your beliefs are only constructs of for anyone struggling in school…
your mind. That fact brings up a num-
ber of philosophical issues. For ex-
ample, if we experience states of pain
“Rediscover the Joy of
and distress, an option is to change
our meanings. Yet meanings are hard Learning”
to change, because they seem self–
evidently real and true, otherwise Don A. Blackerby, Ph.D.
why would we spend so much effort
and energy upholding them? Most of March 30-April 5, 2003
us would much prefer that the world
change to suit our meanings, rather
than give up our values and princi- Anchor Point Institute
pals that form those meanings. Salt Lake City, Utah
The freedom to change meaning
poses a dilemma. After all, we may To register or for more information:
suffer, but consider it worthwhile, if
we believe it is for a higher cause. call 800-544-6480 or 801-534-1022
Then we can value our unhappiness fax 801-532-2113
and suffering. Or we may believe that
our suffering is “justified” as a valid e-mail
response some hideous circum-
stances. In that case, we’d have to look

46 - Anchor Point January, 2003