Learn the NLP Meta Model: Nominalisations. Part 10/12


The NLP Meta Model has three categories. Distortions, generalisations and deletions. And using the acrostic MLCCP UM NUS to help us memorise it we get:

1. Mind Reading
2. Lost Performative
3. Cause and Effect
4. Complex Equivalence
5. Presuppositions

6. Universal Quantifiers
7. Modal Operators

8. Nominalisations
9. Unspecified Verbs
10. Simple Deletions

So far we have covered Mind Reads, Lost Performatives, Cause and Effect, Complex Equivalence, Presuppositions, Universal Quantifiers and Modal Operators. In this session we look at Nominalisations.

Nominalisations are process words (verbs) which have been frozen in time to make them a static thing (nouns). For example in the sentence, the investigation failed to find any evidence to support the claims. The noun investigation is derived from the verb to investigate. Verbs suggest a movement whereas nouns just ‘sit there’.

The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (544 BC), is quoted as saying that, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” But when you think about it, how can you even step in the same river once, for the simple reason that a river (noun) is actually in a process of rivering (verb). Using the same line of thinking, a tree is actually a ‘treeing’. Even a road is in process, and given time will decay. Most nearly everything in existence is in a process. People are born, they live and they die. Each moment brings new experiences and new memories, and every time that you think back on the past your memory of it changes in some way. Likewise the future is not caste in stone – the possibilities are ever changing. Life should be lived like a fresh breeze, constantly in a state of flux, ever moving and ever refreshing itself. Nominalisations on the other hand may cause a state of stagnation.

For example, in the film, The Stoning of Soraya M. we hear that “Justice demands that the woman be put to death”. “Justice”, is a nominalisation. Can you touch justice? Can you kick it, can you hold it, can you put it on a table? How can you challenge justice? You can challenge the people who are enforcing their version of justice but you can’t challenge justice.

President George Bush declared a “War on terror” but how can you fight with a nominalisation? You can fight with specific people who engage in activities that terrify other people but how do you fight with terror? By not clearly defining ‘terror’ the government can do what ever it likes in the name of fighting terror.

Some people make statements like, “The scripture says…”, or, “This is the word of God.” But both scripture and God are nominalisations. What is a scripture and who is God?

To induce trance we use nominalisations and to bring people out of trance we ask questions that uncover the process. Believe it or not the most influential politicians and priests are masters of hypnotism, and that is whether they acknowledge it or not!

To denominalise a nominalisation ask questions that uncover the process like, “How specifically? How do you do the process of ‘x’? What do you mean by that word?”

Example 1
So we start with the example, “Justice demands that the woman be stoned to death.”
We challenge the nominalisation justice by asking, “What is just about a system that allows men to brutally murder women?”
And the answer that we get could be, “These are the rules that guide our thoughts and actions given to us by ‘x’ hundreds of years ago. We are just following the tradition.”

*** There are 12 NLP Meta Model videos in this series. Make sure you watch all of them.


You can find Abby Eagle at http://www.abbyeagle.com
NLP Hypnotherapy and Meditation
Gold Coast, Australia

Recommended Reading

  1. NLP Coaching Benefits  (If you need a professional NLP coach, check out MichaelJemery.com for his course)

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