Martin Messier

September 20, 2023

The emotional side of nominalizations

Here's your NLP joke of the day: 

Because it was tired of being objectified!

Why did the nominalization break up with the verb?

Keep reading to find out the answer...

The Meta Model is a coach's secret weapon when it comes to helping their clients regulate their emotions. And nominalizations are the big guns in this arsenal!

Now, if you're thinking, "What the heck is a nominalization?", I've got you covered. 

In NLP, a nominalization is a fancy word for an intangible noun, that sounds like it's a "thing" but it's really vaporware. 

You know, words like "happiness" and "confidence." 

The cool thing about nominalizations is that they let us talk about abstract concepts that are hard to define. 


They can also be troublemakers because they hide the juicy stuff that generates the experience.

So how can a coach use these bad boys to help their clients regulate their emotions? Well, first things first - we gotta get the client aware of what they're even saying. 

For example, if they say "I'm feeling anxiety," we can dig deeper. Good questions can help the client break down their emotional experience into bite-sized chunks, making it easier to manage.

But wait, there's more! 

We can also use nominalizations to uncover the underlying beliefs and values that are driving the emotional experience. If the client is feeling frustrated about their career, we can help the client identify the root of their emotional turmoil and start making changes.


But here's the one I personally like to go to...

We can use nominalizations to help the client generate new emotional states by asking leading questions. By doing this, we can help them shift their focus away from their current emotional state and begin to generate thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that will support a more desirable emotional state.

For example, let's say that one of my clients is feeling anxious about an upcoming presentation. I can ask the client questions that lead her to feel confident and calm instead of anxious. When I ask her how she feels as a result, she might describe feeling relaxed, in control, and focused.

Once my client has bridged into this new emotional state, I can help her tap into the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that would support that state, and then package them into a unique nominalization.

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