You’ve been framed!

Hi welcome back.

This week I want to talk about reframing. No I’m not going to talk about my art (I will if you want to) or my photography. No, reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning. The essential idea behind reframing is that a person’s point-of-view depends on the frame it is viewed in. When the frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behavior often change along with it.

Another way to understand the concept of reframing is to imagine looking through the frame of a camera lens. The picture seen through the lens can be changed to a view that is closer or further away. By slightly changing what is seen in the camera, the picture is both viewed and experienced differently.

What is an example of reframing? Here’s an example of positive reframing that I really love. A woman was new to a large company and was trying very hard to make a good impression on her coworkers. One day, responding to a widely sent email, she accidentally attached a personal document about her financial difficulties instead of the intended form. Realising the mistake, she quickly sent out a new email with the message “…Well at least it wasn’t a love letter ;)” Her coworkers got a kick out of her response, and an event that could have caused her to look unprofessional actually improved her coworkers’ opinions of her. Positive reframing does not change the situation, but it can certainly reduce damage and put things into a healthier perspective.

mike-marquez-mvF75Luydls-unsplash

I reframed something that helps me everyday. Due to my illnesses I have a stack of tablets to take each morning, Now when I first started taking the tablets it was a constant reminder as to how ill I really was. Then I had a eureka moment. Now each morning I take my tablets as I always do but now just as I’m about to take them I say to myself or sometimes out loud. “Today is going to be a good day.” By reframing I am reminding myself that I’m alive and well (As long as I continue to take the tablets).

reframing can be used in therapy or just in everyday life. Do you have a teenager at home? You know the ones who think they know everything.

Teenagers often think their outlook is the only way to see a problem. If a friend didn’t call back they must be mad. Or, if a teen fails a test it must mean their stupid.

Ask questions like, “Is there another way to look at this situation?” or, “What are three other possible reasons this could have happened?” Help your teen see that there are likely dozens of potential reasons a problem exists.

For example, the friend might not be returning her text messages because their busy or because they got their phone taken away. Pointing out alternatives to your teen’s insistence that their friend is angry can help them see things from another view.

You might also help them reframe the situation by saying, “Your friend may need to cool down before they talk to you because they like you a lot and doesn’t want to say something mean out of anger.”

Validate your teen’s feelings by saying, “I know you are nervous that they haven’t called you back. I know when I feel nervous I always imagine the worst case scenarios but often, those things I imagine aren’t even true.”

You also might help your teen stay mentally strong by asking, “What would you say to a friend who had this problem?” Your teen is likely to speak to others in a kinder and more compassionate way than they talk to themselves.

The goal should be to help your teen develop healthy self-talk. Eventually, they’ll learn how to coach themselves as they begin to recognise there are many ways to view the same situation.

jon-tyson-XzUMBNmQro0-unsplash

The 3 things I always do when reframing
1) I don’t argue
Delivering reframes isn’t about ‘putting them right’. Direct advice giving seldom works because people need to feel: competent, persuaded not bamboozled – even with the best of intentions. It is much more effective to present reframes as innocent questions, observations, misunderstandings or even truisms.

Yes, I see a lot of clients for vomiting phobia, is an undeniable truism – but also subtly reframes the vomit phobic’s conviction that they are ‘the only one’ who feels like this.

2) I remember that reframes are more than just ‘cognitive’
You might be forgiven for thinking that a ‘cognitive reframe’ only works on the level of thinking. But it’s actually easier, by far, to change our feelings in order to change our thoughts than the other way round (as an aside, this is why I use hypnosis with my clients).

A reframe needs to be felt. It needs to have an emotional impact beyond its appeal to the ‘thinking mind’. This is because the new frame needs to be more emotionally compelling than the old one if it is to be accepted. We do need to calm our clients, of course, but we also need to know how to sometimes raise their emotional pitch in order to embed a new more productive way of seeing.

By discovering what’s important to my client, I find out what raises their ’emotional temperature’ and then utilise what motivates them to help them view things differently.

For example, a businessman and landlord who needed to stop cigarettes choking the life out of him was given the following analogy:

Imagine a tenant whom you had to pay to live in your house. Imagine that you paid them to be there while they soiled your furniture, wrecked your carpets, damaged the walls and roof… Would you call that a good deal for you?

After this reframe the man said he just couldn’t continue smoking. This reframe worked for him because of the nature of his own business, and as a businessman the importance to him of ‘good deals’. He could no longer think of smoking in any other terms than ‘a terrible deal’ for him.

3) I open the ‘attention gates’ before I deliver a reframe
I shouldn’t really be doing this, but I’m about to tell you something very few people have ever heard before…

Ok, that’s a bit over the top – but hopefully I’ve made my point and got your attention!

Because I need to ensure that my client is in the right state of mind to be receptive to a new, more therapeutic take on things.

I need to know not only how to construct a reframe but also how to open the client’s ‘attention gates’ so that they can become receptive enough to actually take in and absorb the reframes I offer them. No matter how elegant your reframe, if the client blocks it out, it will be useless.

I use various prepping techniques with my client so that reframes will take hold: surprise
shock
humour
curiosity
hypnosis and
practical demonstration and instruction.
All these different techniques would get people’s full attention, loosen them up and get them into the right frame of mind for his reframes to take root. I then deliver a carefully crafted and individually targeted ‘new perspective’ that would completely alter the troubling and limiting ideas that were causing them unnecessary difficulty in life.

Of course, there are many ways to deliver reframes but when you keep these three principles in mind clients  tend to leave my practise with powerful new ways of seeing which transform how they live.

I will talk more about reframing next week. Give it a go, let me know how you get on.

Have a great week.

Jon XX

 

Our thoughts can ruin us, and friendships.

Ok so this week I upset a very good friend. They thought I was insinuating something where as actually I was concerned. However their thoughts and now mine have escalated the tension. It got me thinking about points of view and how you look can look at things and overthink them and then make 2 + 2 = 6.

point of view-2

Perspective is the way individuals see the world. It comes from their personal point of view and is shaped by life experiences, values, their current state of mind, the assumptions they bring into a situation, and a whole lot of other things. Reality can be different things. It can be difficult to step outside of your world and see things from someone else’s point of view, but it is beneficial! By looking at things from a different perspective, you can gain new insight into problems and improve your social interactions. Collect different types of experiences, such as by travelling, reading, and talking with people. Then, work on building empathy for other people. With persistence, seeing things from different points of view will become much easier for you!

Listen to other people carefully. Immersing yourself in someone else’s story or experiences while talking one-on-one is another great way to experience a different point of view. When you talk with other people, listen closely. Make sure to listen even if you don’t share their perspective and disagree with what they have to say.

  • Make eye contact and face the person while they are talking. (Not easy if texting I know)
  • Ask them questions if anything they say is unclear to you.
  • Let them know you are listening by rephrasing or echoing what they say now and then.

Respect people’s differences. Recognising that not everyone shares your beliefs and values may help you to see things differently. Whenever you interact with someone else, take a moment to remind yourself that they may not share your worldview, and that is okay. This may make it easier for you to gain new perspective from your interactions with them.

  • For example, you might have a coworker who performs a specific task different than you do. Their approach might be very different, but still effective.
  • Or, you might have a classmate whose family observes a different religion than your family, so their holiday celebrations might be nothing like your family’s celebrations.

 

Read or watch videos about other people’s experiences. Exposing yourself to other people’s personal experiences through books, articles, blogs, and videos may help you to gain insight into what it is like to be another person. Try reading or watching videos about people who are different from you to expose yourself to a totally new perspective.

  • For example, you can read biographies, watch documentaries, or read/watch interviews with people who are from different countries, ethnic backgrounds, religions, or political parties.

point of view-1

Learn the difference between empathy and sympathy. Although these words sound similar and their meanings are often confused, they are quite different. Sympathy means that you feel sorry for someone or pity them. Empathy means that you have put yourself into the other person’s situation and considered how they must feel.

  • For example, you might feel sympathy for a homeless person on the street because their situation seems unpleasant. However, if you feel empathy for this person, you would have imagined what it is like to sleep on the hard concrete, wear the same clothes each day, beg people for money to buy food, and worry about your safety day after day.

Think about how you would feel in another person’s situation. If you meet or hear about someone who has experienced a hardship, imagine how you would feel in that person’s situation as a way to build empathy for them and gain a new perspective. How might you feel if you had gone through a similar experience? Why might you feel that way? What might you do to cope with the experience?

Aim to treat others how you would like to be treated. Thinking about how you would want someone to talk to you or help you if you were in their situation may also help you to develop empathy and understand other people’s perspectives better. Imagine what someone could say or do to help you feel better if you were in that situation, then act accordingly.

  • This may be as simple as acknowledging someone’s pain and offering to help in any way you can. For example, if someone has just experienced the death of their family pet, then they might appreciate it if you said, “I’m so sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Imagine that someone said or did something mean-spirited to you. Considering the worst-case scenario may also help you to see someone else’s perspective. Think about what someone could say or do to really hurt you. Then, use this experience to help you understand the hurt feelings that someone else has experienced. This will help you to build empathy and expand your perspective.

  • For example, if someone called you an insulting name, how might you feel? What would your reaction be? Use these feelings to help you understand how someone who is different from you might feel and react if they were treated poorly.

So the bottom line I started it and then because of our state of minds we verbally assaulted each other and both said some hurtful things.

I apologised but the damage is done. I’m not washing my dirty linen in public. I’m telling you this because of two very different points of view I have possibly lost a good friend.

learn from my mistake. Think before you say or in this case text something, and if you still feel that you are in the right, stop and look at it from the other persons point of view. Could your intention be misconstrued.

Have a great week

NameXX