The Importance of Reframing

The Importance of Reframing

It was a normal day when the phone rang, Michelle a mother of two, was baking a cake that she had planned  to serve as a desert for a family meal. She knew something was wrong by the callers tone “whats happen to joe?” she asked, panic showing in her voice. Joe was Michelle’s eldest son, he had only recently passed his driving test.


Michelle later found out that a car had run a red light and driven into the side of Joe’s car causing Joe’s car to tip on its side, smashing the windscreen and knocking Joe out cold. Joe had immediately been rushed to hospital, and due to the severity of his injuries had been operated on within an hour of being rushed into the hospitals emergency room.


Michelle had arrived just as the surgery had ended. The consultant came out to discuss the operation with Michelle “the operation went well, the odd of survival of this type of operation is 90%” Michelle breathed a shy of relief.


The frame the doctor used “90% survival rate”, created a strong positive emotion. But what if the doctor gave the same information framed differently “the operation went well, but the mortality rate for this operation is 10%” This new frame would have created a different emotional response.


Creating emotional Frames


The information you receive creates a frame of reference, this frame evokes a particular emotional response. The same information framed differently will produce a different emotional response. As a life coach and hypnotherpaist, clients come to be with limiting beliefs and negative frames, by reframing their maps of the world the client can create more choices and new perspectives.


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Our emotions drive us. Your emotional state filters the information we take in creating new emotional state. If you’re feeling angry, you will filter information through your “angry” state. As an example, you arrive at work on a Monday morning feeling angry. A colleague rushes over to you before you even have time to take your coat off and asks “where did you file that report?” The question, the anxiety of the colleague who is clearly in a rush and the expectation from the colleague is filtered though your “angry” state making you respond by snapping “don’t blame me if you cant find the report!!”


The same situation filtered through a “happy” state would create a different response “erm yes I filed it on Friday, did you check the cabinet labelled X?” The colleague sincerely thanks you as he runs off to check the cabinet he forgot to look in.


We are always looking for the meaning of things, if the colleague rushed over to me asking for the report…. he is Blaming me. But a change in state from angry to happy can change the frame and the meaning we perceive; if the colleague rushed over to me asking for the report he needs my help.


There are often many meaning to a single situation. By exploring these various perspectives, you can choose how you want to emotionally respond, helping to create in you new choices. This easy to learn skill can help you create control in many different situations. You can even check the perspective that you would take if you took on a new emotion “how would I reposed if I felt relaxed, happy or sad….?”



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Recently a client came to see me to increase his confidence and self esteem. Within minutes of arriving the client had told me how “everyone hates me” This was a strong belief that was limiting his life. Because he thought that everyone hated him, he wouldn’t attend social gatherings, he wouldn’t meet new people and he had stopped going out, “rather that, then going out only to be rejected.”


When he told me that everyone hated him (his frame of reference) I challenged this by asking “everyone?” He though for a few seconds “well, not everyone my family like me“who else?” I asked “my friends, but I’ve known them since school.” Following this line of thought I replied “so are you trying to say that people who get to know you, like you?” puzzled he answered “I suppose so, my family like me and my friends from childhood like me, so maybe its just strangers who don’t like me?”


Often by challenging a clients generalisation you break their frame of reference creating a new perspective. I went on “have you ever met a stranger who became a friend?”




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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


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Chris Delaney NLP Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Career Advisor is available for booking for One to One Private Sessions, Group Training Sessions and Public Speaking Events


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