When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. 

The 4th perceptual position of NLP

4th Perceptual position group

What is the 4th perceptual position? Perceptual positions are an incredibly helpful tool for clients to understand certain situations, relationships, points of view, negotiation etc. It helps the client to understand themselves and others better, create insights and new behaviors. It is also an important tool of dissociation.

Traditionally NLP speaks of 3 perceptual positions

First position: Self, taking a look at a given situation standing in our own shoes. Being associated in to self, as we say in NLP. What are you feeling, hearing, seeing, thinking, saying to yourself?

Second position: Other, taking a look at a given situation standing in the other persons shoes. Being associated in to the other person. What is the other person feeling, hearing, seeing, thinking, saying to themselves?

Third position: Neutral or observer position. This is a dissociated position, looking at the given situation as an observer. Detached from feelings and emotions of either party.

The 4th perceptual position

I always like to operate with a 4th perceptual position, even though not traditionally NLP.

This is a position where the following can be considered:

Groups: family, neighborhood, church, community, political party, the company, the department etc. What are you observing if you step in to the position of the group? What do you learn from this position?

Higher power: god, the universe, any other higher energy or power.
What are you observing if you step in to the position of the higher power? What do you learn from this position?

Working with perceptual positions becomes ultimately more powerful keeping this 4th position in to account. It gives new learnings, better capabilities for understanding, negotiation, persuasion and change.

Also culturally there is a factor to be considered. In collectivist cultures the family is considered before the individua. For example Asians (collectivist culture), it becomes ultimately more powerful to work with them using a 4th perceptual position. As well as helping people form individualist countries (like North America or Western Europe) to understand Asians near and dear to them. I have experienced this both as a coach to expatriates, as well as culturally coming from a European-Indonesian background.

Coaching using perceptual positions

Life coaching using perceptual positions, can become much more powerful to look at a given person or situation from the position of the higher power. Looking at yourself through the eyes of the higher power, what does that mean? How would Jesus experience it? How would the Dalai Lama handle this given situation? How does your view of yourself change if you look at yourself from the stand point of the universe, interconnectedness and a collective consciousness between us all? Etc.

Think how you could build a custom even more powerful New Behavior Generator using this 4th perceptual position?

Share this article:

Sign up for our bi-weekly email & receive the best of the best from this website.


Guided Visualizations, E-books, Toolkits for Coaches & Much More


Reviews done by an expert NLP & Coach trainer.

Read more

All of our favorite book lists in personal development, NLP, Positive Psychology, Neuro-Science etc.

Read more

Looking for an NLP trained coach, consultant or professional?

Read more

Looking for the best products, services, and people to work with?

Read more


Free Audio Product

The Goal Mastery NLP Visualization

Prime your brain to reach goals and crush obstacles with this NLP visualization. We have included do-It-yourself instructions for coaches.

Yes, please!

Free E-Book

Unlocking Your Potential

Learn 7 simple NLP techniques top performers use. Change the way you think, feel, and take action. And help others achieve the same.

Yes, please!

Free Smartphone App


With 25K+ installs, this is the most downloaded NLP software on the internet. The best of Simply Global NLP in the palm of your hand.

Yes, please!