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Markova stacks and relationships

Summary: How the 6 natural patterns of human intelligence discovered by Dawna Markova affect communication in relationships.

We tend to communicate most easily with those who share our Markova stack and process information the same way we do. Yet those with different stackings may interest and stimulate us more. The greater the mismatch in Markova stacks, the more good communication skills help a relationship, especially when difficulties emerge.

Markova's book tells how to utilize the 6 sensory patterns to improve communication and relationships. Highly recommended.
Short review & purchase info

Two people with the same Markova stack (such as VAK/VAK) will likely communicate well. A matched-stack romance can easily lose its sizzle because the partners think so much alike, yet remain too comfortable to motivate change.

When only conscious modalities match (AVK/AKV), people may harmonize well on the surface, sharing activities and beliefs, but lack resonance on a deep level. When only unconscious modalities match (VAK/AVK), they may touch each other in a very deep, sacred way — but if the unconscious connection doesn't work, they may find they have nothing in common.

Subconscious modality matches (VAK/KAV) have particular challenges and gifts, because the most conscious aspect of each person is continually entrancing the least conscious aspect of the other. When no modalities match (AKV/KVA), people can stimulate each other at every level, but keeping connected and harmonious takes extra sensitivity and lots of translation.

Ironically, a person's least conscious modality may prove most important to communication, because they filter and defend it least. Minimize your movements in the visual field of an "eye shy," visually sensitive client while they do processing. Give an auditorily sensitive client silence to process without interrupting with words they can't tune out. Anchor a kinesthetically sensitive client on a public place like their hand

In her book The Open Mind: Exploring the 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence, 1  Dawna Markova details how to facilitate communication and relate better with people using each of the 6 sensory patterns. A very useful chapter explores how to enhance relationships.

We strongly recommend the book for those in the helping and communication professions. For anyone interested in improving their relationships with friends and family, Markova's methods can work wonders.

— Jan "yon" Saeger and W. Keppel
© 2004, some rights reserved
posted July 2004
Creative Commons License


  1. From Dawna Markova. (1996) The Open Mind: Exploring the 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence. Berkeley, California: Conari Press. ISBN: 1-57324-064-8. Out of print; buy used on Amazon. Jump back

Jan Saeger and W. Keppel are NLP Master Practitioners, NLP Health Practitioners, and NLP developers.


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