Vol. 35 – September 4, 2005

Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns

Reverse Meta Model
In NLP the “meta model” is Bandler and Grinder’s name for the wellformedness conditions of the surface structure of the English language*. (*See their book “The Structure of Magic.”) In Hypnosis we sometimes chose to deliberately violate these wellformedness conditions (“reversing the meta model”) in order to be purposefully and artfully vague.

Pattern 35. Nominalizations

Nominalizations are verbs changed into nouns. In other words, a process changed linguistically into a thing. Like saying “a relationship,” instead of the “act of relating to another person.” The word ending “tion” is common for nominilizations. (If you’re not sure about a particular word, use the wheelbarrow test. eg: Can you put a relationship into a wheelbarrow?)

People often turn their problems into things. As an example, they may speak of “their depression.” They are speaking as if depression was a thing rather than the act of acting depressed. Note also the ownership implied in the language, “my” depression.

Dave Dobson once gave the example of a client seeking assistance for “their depression.” His response to them was, “what are you acting depressed about?” which effectively turns their nominalization back into a verb. Remember the rule, “The client must never be vague, the hypnotist — always.”

So then, how do we artfully and purposefully use nominalizations? Notice all the ones in the following example:

“…and you can feel that feeling of trance deepen as you drift down and allow your unconscious to find exactly the right resources to create the perfect solution for you.”

Now go out there and practice with people. And have fun.
See you next week.