Nominalisations happen whenever a person describes a process (Verb) as a thing (Noun). Usually, a thing that cannot be picked up. You will hear NLP’ers talk about nominalisations is nouns that you can’t put in a wheelbarrow.

You will begin to come to new understandings of this as you learn more about NLP.

The word understandings here is a ‘thing’ you will have. So, therefore, an item which is not tangible. ‘Understandings’ is a nominalisation. A summary of an action, into an item.

Nominalisations are stuck in time. Much of NLP is about uncovering and discovering the real meaning or intention behind the communication. Whenever a person describes something using a nominalisation, it seems very factual and stable. As a person working with an individual who is using nominalisations and feels trapped. You can begin to help them realise that the nominalisation is apparent and could become a process which is a verb.

I can’t say this enough; nouns are fixed and definite. Verbs are actions and allow for change.

As cliche as it might sound, the only thing constant is change. So helping a person realise and understand that their descriptions of themselves or an event in nouns can feel far more freeing when they are changed into verbs. Action items

An identifying statement of “I have anxiety.”  Allows that person to own anxiety as a thing. Of course, nothing that they are unable to touch, locate, remove or forget to take to work one day. It can become a thing that people aren’t able to get past.

But when a person identifies with anxiety as a process, then the possibility of changing it is far easier to notice. “I’m feeling anxious.”

Some examples of nominalisations

I have a belief (Noun) to, I’m believing (Verb)
My relationship needs some work (Double noun in this one)
We’re working on the way we both relate to each other.
I have depression. “How do you depress yourself?”
Your behaviour is terrible Could change too. You’re behaving terribly

When you begin to notice nominalisations in communication you can become a master influencer and negotiator.