NLP Reframing - what is reframing and how do you use it?
- Chris Harrison
- 5th February 2011 - Updated 19th July 2012
NLP Reframing was one of the first NLP techniques developed, and while Richard Bandler has stated that he doesn't use it anymore, it is a commonly used and still a quite useful NLP technique.
Reframing is also unusual in that it can be performed as an entirely spoken piece of NLP with no submodalities or hypnotic language.
The concept of reframing is simple and relies on the metaphor that different ‘parts’ of our minds battle to control our actions.
With reframing you are training the part of our mind that causes a behavior you do not like to ‘change its evil ways’ and respond in a more appropriate manner.
The steps for NLP reframing are as follows:
- Identify the unwanted behavior
- Initiate communication with the 'part' of the client that is causing the behavior
- Ask the 'part' to identify what the positive outcome of the behavior is (remember every behavior is designed to have a positive outcome)
- Ask the 'part' to find several other ways to achieve the same outcome
- Gain the 'parts' agreement to try out the other behaviors to find a more useful behavior
An example NLP reframing session could go something like this:
Now I know that you have a part of you that causes a behavior you want to change?
Yes, I want to stop getting angry when my children leave their toys out - actually the practitioner doesn't really need to know what this unwanted behavior is - that's one of the strengths of NLP.
Ok, now close your eyes and go deep inside and I want you to find the part of your unconscious that controls this behavior. Have you found it?
Ok, and I want that part of you to identify the positive intentions behind that behavior. And when you are unconsciously or consciously aware of that intention please give me a signal - depending upon the clients previous NLP and hypnosis experiences this could be a nod or a finger signal.
Good, now I'd like that part of you to come up with three new ways to achieve the same result with a different behavior, and when you have those please give me a signal.
Good, now I'd like that part of your mind to think about times when this behavior will occur in the future. Is that ok?
And I'd like you to make a change so that the next time the behavior is due to occur, you try out one of the three new behaviors. Can you do that now?
Now I want you to then decide if you are happy with this new behavior and if so make any further changes to enable you to use this new behavior in the future whenever appropriate. And if the behavior isn't what you want then I want you to try one of the other behaviors until you find the new behavior that is most useful for you.
NLP Reframing is often performed in a trance, sometimes using finger signals to communicate with the 'unconscious'. In fact due to the type of communication used it's one of those NLP exercises that you can start off with the client completely conscious and just allow the process to take the client into a quite deep trance state.
Once the process is complete, but before the client opens their eyes, there is a good opportunity to provide a general 'post trance' session with any post hypnotic suggestions that may be appropriate for the client.
Richard Bandler jokes that he stopped using the reframe because when you ask 'is that part of you willing to communicate', who is answering?
NLP Reframing does unfortunately have an air of 'possession' about it.