Patterns for Adventuring in "Time"
NLP and General-Semantics on "Time"

Bobby G. Bodenhamer, D.Min. and L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

Adventures with Time Lines (1998). These two questions could change your life: "Do you ever wish you could go back in time and do something over again, this time doing it the right way?" "Do you ever have the sense that the future could become brighter?" If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you now have opportunity to re-create the past, present and/or future for which you have always dreamed. The authors have received the following results from clients utilizing the knowledge within this book: freedom from panic and anxiety attacks; overcoming self-sabotage; ending grief, anger and depression; removing guilt; overcoming eating disorders; healing wounds from sexual, emotional and physical abuse; increased income; addition of joy in living; getting the most out of life; putting time on your side and much more. "It's never too late to have a happy childhood and a worthwhile future." Start now enjoying the benefits of this new work. About this work our publisher says, "A wonderful book from two of the most exciting authors on the NLP scene today which adds a totally new dimension to the concept of Timelines." In the Foreword, Tad James, Ph.D. says, "A provocative & compelling new work about Timelines, NLP, and General Semantics. They have based their new work on my original theories, introducing us to their own cutting edge analysis of 'time'." Preface by Wyatt Woodsmall, Ph.D. (Paperback, 281 pages - $25.00 plus $3.00 S&H). Published by Meta-Publications, Capitola, CA.

  Note: Please add $5.00 shipping for the first book and $2.00 per book thereafter. For out of US orders, please email bobbybodenhamer@yahoo.com to find out the shipping costs.


Tad James, Ph.D.

"We are at the beginning of a new era of understanding." When I first wrote those words ten years ago, I was introducing my own work in Time Line TherapyTM. I was correct in saying that we were at the beginning of such an era. However, after using, refining and adding to the original concepts, I now realize that at that time I could neither fathom nor appreciate the sheer power of this revolutionary technology.

Throughout history, humankind has been aware of the passage of time. Aristotle was the first to mention the "stream of time" in his book PHYSICS IV. William James spoke of the linear memory storage as early as 1890. In the decades to follow, the concept all but faded into obscurity. It was finally revived in the late 1970's by the developers of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). In my own research and experience, I applied a therapeutic process to this concept of an internal storage system. The result was a collection of techniques called Time Line TherapyTM which produced long-lasting transformation very quickly. These techniques have since become the method of choice to make fast, effective, long-term changes in behavior.

Readers of this book will most likely be familiar with the concepts and tenets of NLP. For those of you who are not, I recommend that you consult one of the excellent texts cited in the references at the end of this book. As for Time Line TherapyTM, allow me to offer a general explanation. Your personal "time-line" is how you unconsciously store your memories and how you unconsciously know the difference between a memory from the past and a projection of the future. It has been established that behavioral change takes place at an unconscious level and release the effects of past negative experiences and change "inappropriate" programming in minutes. This is deep, lasting change, documented by a decade of research and experience.

Now, we owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Bobby Bodenhamer and Dr. Michael Hall for ADVENTURES WITH TIME LINES, their provocative, compelling new work about time lines, NLP and general semantics. They have based their new work on my original theories, introducing us to their own cutting-edge analysis of "time"--a logical level model of time that integrates their concepts and mine with that of some of the finest semanticists, scientists and psychologists of this century. I am honored that in ADVENTURES WITH TIME LINES, my work has found a place among the likes of William James, Alfred Korzybski, Edward T. Hall and Paul Ricoeur. Both Bobby and Michael are highly skilled, infinitely capable trainers of NLP and Time-Line TherapyTM. Each is an author in his own right. I admire both of these men for their integrity, their dedication, and the painstaking, conscientious research which has resulted in this excellent book. I am proud to be the one to introduce you their fine accomplishment, and, to paraphrase my own words of so long ago, we are still at the beginning of a new era of understanding. We are only now starting to understand the vastness of what we have yet to learn. I invite you to read this book, and join us on our exciting journey.

Everett W. "Tad" James, M.S., Ph.D.
Irvine, California
July, 1997


Wyatt Woodsmall, Ph.D.

Time-Lining: Patterns for Adventures in "Time" fills a serious void in the literature on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It is the first book on time lines in nearly a decade. Much good work has been done since Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality first appeared in 1988. I am excited that Bobby Bodenhamer and Michael Hall have taken up the challenge to move time lines forward another decade.

The subject of time is one that has intrigued man since he first began to reflect on his own experience. This reflection has varied from considerations of memory and temporality to the age old questions of time, life and eternity. NLP's contribution to the study of time has to do with the question of how we subjectively experience and code time. Adventures with Time Lines allows us to bring under conscious control the way an individual internally represents his experience of temporality including his memories of the past, experiences of the present, and expectations of the future. This involves first eliciting the critical submodalities of how a person represents his temporal experiences. Once these critical submodalities are elicited, time codes re-adjust these internal representations in order to bring about change. This change may be remedial or generative.

There has been some discussion in NLP surrounding the origins of the idea of a time line. The spatialization of time and the concept of time as a line are probably as old as mankind himself. They are deeply rooted in man's subjective experience of time (for reasons that will be made clear shortly). The idea of time lines in psychology was discussed in detail by the psychologist William James in the 1890's; and in philosophy, the idea goes back to the Greeks and was discussed in detail by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger in the 1920's and 1930's.

I have always been interested in the subject of "time." At Union Theological Seminary in the late 60's I had the opportunity to study "time" as understood by Paul Tillich, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sarte, Paul Ricoeur, and Alfred North Whitehead. After Union, I studied Philosophy at Columbia University for eight years. This gave me an opportunity to continue my study of time from a scientific, philosophical and semantic perspective.

The discussion of different experiences of time in NLP can probably be traced to Leslie Cameron-Bandler. She taught a workshop on Meta Programs and Belief Systems in Illinois in September, 1982. At this workshop she discussed the distinction between "in time" and "through time." Anne Linden and Frank Stass attended this workshop. In struggling to integrate Leslie's material into their own understanding, Anne and Frank began to explore their own experiences of time. Anne experienced time on a line and wondered how other people experienced it. Anne and Frank began to experiment in class to find out how other people experienced time. I learned about time lines from them in the fall of 1982. I also had the good fortune to attend a presentation on Time Lines by Steve and Connairae Andreas at the second NANLP Conference the following year. I was excited about the possibilities of time lines and took every opportunity that I could to explore them and to tell others about them.

In the fall of 1985 I began teaching an NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner Training in Honolulu, Hawaii. This class included Tad and Ardie James, Marvin Oka and Richard Diehl. I soon had everyone as excited as I was about time lines. Tad and Marvin began to experiment with time lines in therapy and in personal growth. This led to the collaboration between the James's and myself to develop the material on time lines that was published in Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. I have continued to develop and teach new ways of coding time up to the present.

It is very gratifying to me to see Michael Hall and Bobby Bodenhamer - who are two people who I have helped to train - become as excited as I am about time and time line patterns. It is even more gratifying to me that they have accepted my admonitions that "NLP does not end with John Grinder and Richard Bandler" or "time lines with Wyatt Woodsmall and Tad James" and that "It is up to all of us to further advance the field." They have done just that with this excellent book. The authors have both immersed themselves in NLP and time and also in general semantics and the latest developments in cognitive psychology and therapy. It is refreshing to find that the authors are not just cacooned in the field of NLP, and that they have extensively studied the origins of time and NLP in general semantics as well as other disciplines that bear on NLP and its applications in the real world.

It is also gratifying to see that the authors don't just quote Korzybski but actually use General Semantics. This book is written in E-Prime and uses other extensional devices that Korzybski used to promote and maintain sanity. NLP has drawn much from General Semantics and there is still much gold to mind there. Bodenhamer and Hall have been hard at work on this task and it has paid rich dividends in clarity and precision.

I have had the privilege of knowing both authors for several years and one thing that has impressed me about both of them is their integrity, their compassion, and their dedication to applying and expanding NLP into areas of the world where it has not traveled previously. This has not come easy. Both have made major sacrifices to pursue their interests in NLP.

Some people in the NLP community have informed me that they "were the first to develop and teach time lines." Any number of people in the NLP community could have simultaneously made the application of submodalities to time line. It is unfortunate that in the NLP community people are so isolated from the rest of the intellectual world and from what everyone else is doing, that they continually feel the need to reinvent the wheel and then claim that they created it in the first place. It is particularly gratifying to me that Bodenhamer and Hall do not fall into this trap. They are immersed in the intellectual world as well as in NLP. Further, instead of arguing about who invented the wheel in the first place they are focused on moving it on down the road into new and previously unexplored territory.

In any case, it does not seem particularly relevant who first explicated time lines. A lot of people dabbled in this area, felt that it was unimportant and went on to other things. Tad James and myself were the first to elaborate and expand on these notions and develop them into a systematic therapeutic system. It is gratifying that Bodenhamer and Hall are now advancing this system even further and exploring and testing the limits of its application.

The nature of time has been debated by philosophers, psychologists, and mystics from the dawn of civilization. The common-sense understanding of time interprets it as something moving towards the future or as something in which events point in that direction. Contemporary philosophy views time as the general medium in which all events take place (or appear to take place) in succession. Thus, all specific and finite periods of time (whether past, present or future) merely constitute parts of the entire and single time.

The English word "time" is derived from the Latin tempus which comes from the Greek temno meaning "to cut off." The Greek terms for "time" are chronos and aion. William James viewed the past and the future as existing in the "specious present" which he said was not a knife-edge but a "saddleback" with a certain breadth of its own; i.e. a duration. Bergson defined time as qualitative change, involving an irreversible becoming. He held that reason "spatializes" time, and that intuition is therefore a more adequate means of apprehending time. Whitehead also thought of time under the category of becoming. He viewed it as the movement into novelty or the movement from potentiality to actuality of events which thereafter retain an "objective immortality."

Heidegger distinguishes between two ways of experiencing time depending on whether one is living authentically or inauthentically. Einstein in relation to Minkowski made time the fourth dimension of the space-time continuum with the whole stretched out into world-lines with further occurrences as fixed as those in the past. This view holds that both space and time are two systems of relations, which are distinct from a perceptual standpoint, but insuperably bound together in reality.

Most people who have not been semantically trained hold a conception of time which philosophers call "the myth of passage." This view thinks of time as a stream that flows or as a sea over which we advance. But if time flows past us or if we advance through time, then this would be a motion with respect to a hyper-time, for motion in space is motion with respect to time; and motion of time or in time could hardly be a motion in time with respect to time. If motion in space is measured in feet per second, at what speed is the flow of time? Seconds per what? Moreover, if passage is of the essence of time, it would also be part of the essence of hypertime which would lead to infinite regress.

The idea of time as passing is connected to the idea of events as changing from future to past. Most people who have not been semantically trained think of events as approaching them from the future, being momentarily caught in the spotlight of the present, and then receding into the past. But in normal contexts, it does not make sense to talk of events changing or remaining the same. Roughly speaking, events are happening to continuants (to things that change or stay the same). Thus, it is possible to talk of objects as changing or remaining the same. But is it intelligible to talk of change itself as changing?

According to the article on "Consciousness of Time" in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy the spatialization of time is a mistake. The article concludes: "The besetting sin of philosophers, scientists, and indeed, all who reflect about time is describing it as if it were a dimension of space. It is difficult to resist the temptation to do this because our temporal language is riddled with spatial metaphors. This is because temporal relations are formally analogous to spatial relations…If we picture the passing of time in terms of movement along a line, we are led to ask "What moves?" and we are disposed to answer, like Husserl, "Events keep moving into the past" and to forget that "move" is now being used metaphorically, that events cannot literally move or change…Things change, events happen…Those who spatialize time, conceiving of it as an order in which events occupy different places, are hypostatizing events. The temptation to hypostatize events is presumably the result, at least in part, of the linguistic fact that the terms, which can be said to stand in temporal relations like simultaneous with and earlier than, are event expressions. Those who ponder about time are forever using event expressions as their main nouns, and they frequently seem to forget what events are -- changes in three-dimensional things. What we perceive and sense are things changing. Time is a nonspatial order in which things change…Our consciousness of time's "flow" is our consciousness of things changing." The fact that the spatial notion of time is so persistent (in spite of it being a conceptual error to the philosophers) must mean that it is deeply rooted in man's experience of temporality.

How do people normally represent their experience of the passage of time (temporality)? How does one denominalize the experience of time? How does a person tell what events in his past happened before other events? If a person can arrange the major and minor events of his life chronologically in time, then he has to have some way to do this. How is it possible to remember events chronologically? These are the questions at the heart of Time-Lining.

As was emphasized, the notion of time as being on a line has persisted throughout the history of mankind. The persistence of this idea is not just due to the fact that our temporal language is "riddled with spatial metaphors." This is to put the cart before the horse. It is "riddled with spatial metaphors", because the spatialization of time is part of the universal experience of mankind. It is one of the tasks of Time-Lining to un-code this experience.

Time-Lining is unique in several ways. First, it discusses time in the larger context of philosophy and General Semantics. Second, it provides an indepth discussion of time lines and their applications. And third, it expands on the field of time lines and makes a significant new contribution to the field. It is written by two people who have years of practice in applying these patterns to themselves and to others to produce successful results. Let us touch on each of these points briefly.

Adventure with Time Lines begins with an excellent discussion on the nature of time itself. The authors place time in the much greater context in which it has been explored in science, philosophy, semantics and religion. This provides an invaluable frame to understand its role in NLP. They then trace the origin and history of the development of time lines in NLP. NLP is a process of "de-nominalization," and the authors begin their study by de-nominalizing time itself.

Adventures with Time Lines presents an excellent training in both basic and advanced time line patterns. This book is not just theoretical. It is practical. These patterns work and can be used to bring about dramatic changes in oneself and in other people. They are presented with clarity and understanding. As with any powerful pattern, ecology is critically important and the authors stress it appropriately. They also avoid the trap that some people fall into of thinking that time lines alone are sufficient to do therapy. They are a very powerful set of tools, and they are but one set in the pallet of any successful change artist.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Adventures with Time Lines is the major contribution that it makes to the development and expansion of time lines. The authors challenge us to both understand and apply. Also they are continually giving us new avenues for further exploration and study. This is what makes this book so valuable. It is truly generative and will lead to the further development, explication and utilization of even more patterns as we strive to understand and apply its insights. This is perhaps its greatest contribution.

The subtitle of Adventures with Time Lines is Patterns for Adventuring in "Time." Bodenhamer and Hall provide us an opportunity to do just that. They make us familiar with the basic concepts and patterns and then launch us on our own journey in time. I urge you to take the voyage yourself. It may well be the most important trip that you ever take.

Wyatt L. Woodsmall, Ph.D.

Table of Contents

PART I: Getting Started

Introduction 4

Ch. 1: The Dimension of "Time" 10

PART II: Time-Line Patterns & Processes

Ch. 2: Time-Lines 19

Ch. 3: Time-lining Human Distresses 29

Ch. 4: Updating "Time" With Better Memories 41

Ch. 5: Time-lining Old Dated Emotions 50

Ch. 6: Trouble-shooting When Time-Lining 65

PART III: Adventuring in "Time"

Ch. 7: Time-Traveling the "Time" Zones 79

Ch. 8: Creating a Bright Future 89

Ch. 9: Moving Through Time With Grace & Power 99

Ch. 10: Time-Binding as a General-Semanticist 120

PART IV: "Time" In Logical Levels

Ch. 11: The Logical Levels in "Time" 132

Ch. 12: Re-Languaging "Time" 143

Ch. 13: Advance Time-Lining Patterns 150

Ch. 14: Linguistic Time-Lining 157

Glossary 170

Bibliography 173


Book Review of Time-Lining by Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D. first appearing in Anchor Point


Welcome to this exploration into the labyrinth of "time" (actually as you will discover "times" because there exist so many "times"). We began our journal along this line due to the influence of two geniuses, Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Through the technologies and methodologies of NLP, they taught us first how to adventure forth as "time" detectives.

Then with the publishing of Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall's classic book, Time-Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality (1988) we learned even more about exploring this Kantian category in our own "personalities" as well as those of others.

Together we have combined our individual materials. Dr. Bodenhamer wrote the basic text within Chapters 2-6 as part of his ongoing NLP training in Gastonia NC. You can find much of the original source of what follows in his Advance Communication Course, Levels I, II, & III. I (MH) then supplemented it with much of the materials that I wrote in the 1996 issues of Metamorphosis entitled, Adventures in "Time" (Chapters 1, 7-12). Then together we synergized our thoughts, via the marvels of email, to create this present work (chapters 13-14).

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