What is Your Problem Frame?

What is Your Problem Frame?


Everything we see, hear, smell, taste and feel is taken in by our senses through a particular frame. Your frame, which changes regularly, creates a different perception of the situation.


A client of mine how had a booked a relationship coaching session, was explaining to me how her husband really annoyed her; the way he walked annoyed her, the tone of his voice, the clothes he wore annoyed her, how he smiled at children’s cartoons when he thought no one was looking, it all annoyed her.


I asked her to imagine being her younger self, the younger her which fell in love with this man. As she was in a trance she could easily associate with this memory. I asked what she liked about this man, what made her originally fall in love. She said the way he walked, the tone of his voice, the clothes he wore, how he smiled at children’s cartoons when he thought no one was looking, she found it all adoring.


The same stimulus can have different meanings depending on your frame. You have probably encountered this yourself in different situations. One day you desire a particular food and another day the thought of the same food makes you feel ill, out shopping you are free with your spending, but a couple of months later you are more frugal, even though you have the same amount of spendable income. When you look in the mirror your reflection looks thin then a couple of days later you take another look and all you see is a chubby reflection, even though you haven’t lost or gained any additional weight.



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Emotional Frame of Reference.


Your current state affects the choice of frame you unconsciously adopt, the frame you adopt creates an emotional response. This cycle of frame and emotion can be interrupted and changed, easily.



When we access a new stimulus (smell, visual, auditory, taste, kinesthetic) our brain will quickly teach us how to react by sending an emotional response to our body; fear, happiness, anger, shock, fight or flight, etc. This system allows us to react automatically which in some situations can be live saving.


Our subconscious chooses the best emotional response depending on our memories. If we have been in a similar situation before we will access this memory and the associate emotional response so we act in a similar way to the previous experience. .


We remember the details of an event or memory as well as the emotional response, and these two factors; details and emotions are stored in different parts of our brain. If we haven’t been in this current situation before your brain, to help you to react quickly will guess at current situations by relating this situation with the best suited past memory. The famous metaphor of this is when an ex-service person hears a car back firing and re-lives the emotional experience of being at war.





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Picking Your Best Frame


You can see how patterns and habits are easily formed subconsciously allowing you to get on with your day, rather than having to concentrate on every new stimulus. Habits are great, especially with everyday task such as getting dressed, driving to work and feeding the cat, as these are task that no longer need your full attention.


You will also find, if you conscious think about your habits that you will do task in certain orders; you will get dressed in the same order (socks first, etc) drive to work following the same route without thinking about it and feed your two cats by filling the same bowl, the bowl on the left or right, up first each time. Even at work, on training courses people will sit in the same seat after break even when they have been told to sit somewhere different. Habits can form really quickly.


You can also pick up bad habits or allow stimuluses’ to trigger negative emotions and reactions when you want a different response. This 5 step process will allow you to break your habit, choose a new positive emotional frame , which will create a different outcome and response.


For this example we will use road rage. Imagine being cut up by another driver. Most people in this situation will automaticity feel angry, with some even uncharacteristically shouting and swearing at the other driver. To change your response:



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Step 1. Become aware of the stimulus that causes the emotional response (the driver cutting you up)


Step 2. Imagine in slow motion the stimulus and notice how the emotional response increase from nothing to full – to make this easy use a scale of 1-10, with 1 representing no emotional response and 10 the emotional peak.


Step 3. In slow motion, frame by frame imagine the stimulus playing out (the car getting nearer and nearer, pulling in front of you) Repeat this even slower, and check at each frame what number on the scale you are. You now know when you reach your emotional peak.


Step 4. Pick the frame that creates the peak and freeze this frame. Imagine while looking at this frame that you can move your emotions up and down the scale, start with the peak of the negative emotional and slowly move the emotions down the scale so the emotions weaken, and move it back up and back down again.


Keep looking at the stilled image as you change your emotions, giving you the control you want.


Step 5. Choose where on the scale you want to feel. Now take this feeling and make it stronger and stronger, and take it with you while you imagine seeing the stimulus, as if you were there now, if your emotions increase use the scale to bring them down again. Do this over and over again until you only access the emotion you desire when you think of the stimulus.


Because your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between real or imagined events, the unconscious mind will use your positive associated state as a trigger for the stimulus. When you next see the stimulus in real life your mind will search for a frame of reference which will be image and feeling you stored in step 5.

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


DIDSBURY: 4 Birley Park, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2TL

MANCHESTER: The Triangle, 37 Exchange Square, Manchester M4 3TR

E-MAIL: chrisdelaney7@gmail.com for more information


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Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching in Didsbury is easily located for people living in and around Stockport, Manchester, Tameside, Chorlton and Didsbury, as we are just off the M60

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