What Is “Imperative Self Analysis”?

Have you ever wondered just what is your life’s purpose? Did you know that you have an emotional menu of 5-7 emotions that you repeat daily unless you are experiencing an unusual event ? Open the PDF below and check a couple of times during a two week period the 5-7 emotions that you almost experience daily. Make sure you check the emotions rather than the behaviors. This can really be a real eye opener into your inter world. Notice that these 5-7 emotions have a pattern. 

Emotional States Menu PDF

We are each unique because of our emotional palette. Our emotions drive our behaviors and impact our health in both positive and negative ways. Your emotions are the window into the core of your personality. Your life is the sum of what you focus on. Your Imperative Self controls what you will focus on. If you want to change your emotional palette read on..

Over thirty-five years ago Leslie Cameron – Bandler  (now Lebeau) the co-author of the best selling book “The Emotional Hostage” was curious why different people experiencing the same events experienced completely different emotions. She also was curious as to why therapy didn’t work for some people, no matter how competent the therapist. To find out how this was happening she formed a workgroup that created a new therapy model in 1988 called the “Imperative Self Model”. It is also known as “Imperative Self Analysis” or (ISA).

The Imperative Self is the only therapy model that we have that represents us in a way we are like no other person on the planet. The ISA eliminates the need of  “piecemeal” long term therapy on the emotions on your emotional palette.  The ISA actually allows us to find the needle in the haystack in one session to make changes that will most positively affect your emotional life.

Leslie and her workgroup found that people experience 5-7 of the same emotions almost  everyday, unless something unusual is happening. Through their work on emotions, they eventually discovered that the heart of personality consists of three elements: Primary Obsessions, A Filter, and  a Virtual Question/or Statement.

They found that people usually have 5 to 10 Primary Obsessions. These Primary Obsessions are the highly held driving forces in our lives. We are driven by an almost insatiable hunger for experiences of acceptance, freedom, power, security, peace, etc.We are all OC !

Our Primary Obsessions were made before the age of eight years old and in during highly charged emotional moments. We spend most of our lives fixated on our Primary Obsessions!

These Primary Obsessions create your emotions and thus drive your behaviors. These emotions are caused by us either fulfilling or failing to fulfill these obsessions. I have found that collapsing the obsessional track (healing the memory or memories that created the IS Map) will cause your habitual negative emotions to become a thing of the past. Then you can rewrite your mission in life or just enjoy “peace”.

This question you are always asking yourself is called the “Virtual Question”.  This means all other questions or statements are filtered through the Virtual Question first . Only about twenty percent of my clients have a Virtual Statement. A more detailed description is this link: Your-most-important-question/. 

The Filter is usually the information we sort for to achieve fulfilling the first Obsession in our hierarchy of  Obsessions. This Filter determines what we respond to and therefore greatly influences what types of experiences we will accumulate over a lifetime.

I believe ISA is one of the most eloquent therapeutic models in existence. It is the only therapy model I know of that works on the person’s whole personality, rather than piecemeal work that sometimes is drawn out over years of therapy.

What is a well-formed Imperative Self ?

1. The Primary Obsessions are worth fulfilling and feasible to fulfill;

2. Self-concept is positive and secure (evidence is initiated maintained by self):

3. The Virtual Question/statement and Filter provide opportunities to fulfill the obsessions;

4. Well-being is sustained and the IS allows one to thrive.

So if the Imperative Self model is the best thing since sliced bread, why is this model after over thirty years not the premier psychotherapy practiced in the world? I believe there are many reasons:

1. The ISA training was expensive and took over 24 days (6 x 4 Fridays – Mondays) with additional travel days for those that had to travel from out of town.

2. The taught interventions of the 1980s to change the IS were ineffective. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that “Clean Language” interventions and other new interventions that now allowed changes to more easily take place. Unfortunately, as far as I know, I am the only person using “Clean Language” interventions to change the IS.

3. It is nearly impossible to market to both therapists and clients a therapy model that can change one’s major personality traits in a positive way in just a few sessions. Most believe therapy is suppose to take a long time. See Comments Below

4.  A successful ISA and the collapsing of the Primary Obsessions with a few follow ups sessions usually means the end of therapy for most of my clients. Their negative habitual emotions are what motivated the client to seek therapy in the first place. I do not have long term therapy clients!

Before I will accept you as a client, you need to fill out the Emotional States Menu in this PDF: Phase 1 & 2 . Then we can have a free joint interview over the phone or on Zoom to determine if we are a fit.

Does the IS elicitation always work? No. I have had mixed results with clients taking psychotherapeutic medications (benzodiazepines & barbiturates) and those that try to come across in a more positive light by not listing their true emotions. 

What to expect during and after the session:
I come to your ISA with a clean slate. I will ask you questions about each of your common emotions and look for a pattern that shines the light on your obsessions. If you don’t want to answer a question, just say, “pass” and I will honor your request with a different 

After we elicit your Imperative Self it will take less than 40 words on one piece of paper for you to understand yourself in ways you have never imagined and it takes less than three hours vs years of “talk therapy”. On one piece of paper you will see a “Map” that represents your map of the world (your IS Map) that you constructed before age eight. Just as not all maps are accurate. Your session will give you the opportunity to update yours. This is an example of an ISA:

This is Robin’s ISA May 28, 2021. See her comments below in the Comments Section and notice her before/after common emotions.

Robin’s ISA May 28, 2021

These 40 words or less are your words. If you want to change your self concept and thrive by changing your Imperative Self Map, much can be accomplished in the same 2-3 hour session. In addition, the changes will allow the negative emotions of your emotional palette to be just a memory (see Comments below).

If you have traumas in your past, I promise not to re-traumatize you. If you have a trauma this is what we do: we will get your resources before the trauma occurred, because if we build a strong foundation before the trauma, the trauma will be transformed (see the post below: “Back to the Future Part 1”). Most of the time clients are not even consciously aware (nor am I ) of the content of the traumatic event we are working on.

I couldn’t do therapy for over thirty-eight years if I had to listen to clients recounting their traumas. That would be unhealthy for me and the client. It is bad enough that people had to experience a traumatic event once. My philosophy has allowed me to have a Kleenex tissue free therapy environment for the past thirty-seven years.

In summation, the purpose of life is to collect as many good experiences as we can in the amount of time we are given on this earth. From my experiences of doing hundreds of ISAs, our Imperative Self Maps usually determines just how happy we will be in our lives.

My email address is: clint77090 at gmail.com

Read the Comments Section below:





  1. Bill (Age 65)

    I realize that my life will not be without ‘glitches’ here and there – whose isn’t? But it is true that when I look through the list of emotions I presented prior to the ISA session, I cannot find them in a chronic way – if at all.

    When people ask me about how I am now after the session with you, I find it extremely hard to articulate exactly in which way(s) I feel different – but there’s no doubt that in some way, it’s if I’ve been ‘born again’.

  2. James (Age 37)

    My Imperative Self Experience After 2 Years …

    When I met Clint in February 2020, I was in pursuit of a career in coaching. I had just finished an NLP Masters Practitioners program and was looking for a mentor to help take my skillset to the next level. I was obsessed with gaining knowledge and improving as a coach while putting in countless hours to build a coaching business. All this was in addition to my day job as a engineer and being a full-time family man.

    What resulted from the ISA was a complete surprise to me. I was able to map my results onto a consistent pattern of obsessions I had throughout most of my life. I realized that I was executing that pattering again with my pursuit to be a coach.

    The coaching endeavor was another catalyst for me to satisfy a value that was missing from my self-concept. I realized that the value I was seeking to fulfill didn’t need to be satisfied by my “efforts.” In fact, I was given it in abundance by the people who mean the most to me, my family. I only then needed to give it to myself to be entirely at peace.

    A part of me feared losing positive traits, such as determination and discipline because I assumed they resulted from my obsession. What did take place was a change in focus and priorities. I was devoting a lot of time to creating the coaching business to satisfy my obsession. As a result of this, I was spending less time with my family.

    Upon this realization, I felt complete and at peace. I paused my coaching pursuit, bought a camper, and began spending much more time with my family. More so, I felt relieved of the pressures I was putting on myself to perform.

    Nearly two years later, I can say with confidence the ISA was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In case you were wondering, I did not lose those traits, as mentioned earlier. What I did get rid of was the stress I put on myself to succeed so that I could satisfy the “missing value” I sought after in my obsessions.


    This epiphany did not happen overnight. I ruminated over my ISA experience and came to certain conclusions over time. Not every experience is a light switch; sometimes, change is like the dimmer illuminating the room. James

  3. Robin Updated in 2022

    These were my most common emotions I experienced from childhood until late May 2021. I am 32 years old. I did the ISA
    and 5 sessions with Clint for a total of 6 hours of therapy:


    These are my most common emotions I now experienced daily during the past fifteen months as of September 2022:


    It is pretty crazy to see the difference in now compared to May 2021! I’m so happy I no longer feel those things! Can’t thank you enough for being part of my healing journey!

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