The Meta Model Distortions

Nominalizations – Recipe for Misunderstanding

Nominalizations are processes (verbs) we turn into nouns. Doing this sends deceptive messages to our brains. For example, a “decision” is actually the process of deciding; a relationship is the process of relating to someone. By changing the process into a fixed static thing, we can feel it is unchanging and limit our choices for action.

These words create lots of misunderstanding. When we are talking about loyalty to someone, our experiences about ideas of loyalty will be very different, but we think we are talking about the same thing.


  • relationship
  • decision
  • communication
  • leadership
  • motivation
  • stress
  • addiction

Recovery Questions

Questions are to uncover the underlying process.

  • The problem is my relationship – how are you relating?
  • The decision is final – What are you deciding? How have you gone about deciding?
  • Our communication is not going well – How are you communicating?
  • His leadership skills leave a lot to be desired – Who is he leading to do what?
  • My motivation isn’t what it used to be – What do you want to motivate yourself to do?
  • I have a lot of stress in my job – What is pressuring you? How are you stressing?
  • This addiction is causing me trouble – What is the process – how are you addicting, what is the strategy?
  • I have obsessive compulsive disorder – How are you disordering?

This pattern is one of the most important problem solving strategies in the Meta model. Nominalizing and therefore making things into a static unchanging thing causes many difficulties.

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