Reframing – NLP terms

In previous articles in this blog, we have seen that the Map is not the Territory, and that when we think about a cat sitting on a mat, the cat and mat will be different for each and every person.

What we understand of the world we exist in, our experiences, are influenced by our beliefs, culture, values, likes and dislikes and our previous experiences. The context or content of our understanding.

If I say the word “holiday“, you will bring back a memory, see a picture in the mind of a previous holiday, maybe of a Caribbean exotic holiday, a skiing holiday, a family holiday is Blackpool (well known holiday resort in the UK). But, if you have never been to the Caribbean, skiing or to Blackpool, you would not have even thought of them, you will create your own holiday.

Even if you had been to the holidays above, would you have had the same experiences as me? Would you have seen the same things? Even if we had done the same things at the same time, we would have had different understandings, different memories. See previous blogs on George Miller and how the mind deletes, distorts and generalises.

It is said :-      The meaning of an experience is dependent upon the context.

By reframing we can change the way we see, understand or perceive an event or belief, and thus change the outcome, meaning or understanding.

If the meaning or understanding changes, the response that we give will change too, as in the articles on CBT and HCBT as with NLP, they seek to change the way the client understands the now, the situation.

A reframe can be in the form of a joke. My wife is a martial artist in cooking, one chop and you are dead. It makes the listener rethink, put another meaning on what is believed or initially thought.

If as a practitioner you can give a client who had only one belief, another alternative belief to consider, then the client has choice.

Perhaps the only way to get to the shops is to go by car, you know no other way, and if the car breaks down, how are you going to get to the shops? The only way you know is to travel by car.

If I show you a way to get to the shops by bus, now you have two ways.

If I show you a way by walking, now you have three ways.

If I show you a way ………

In other words, the more choices we have in the way we believe or think about something, the better we have in coping with that something or situation.

That yes, a client may think that the aircraft they are about to get on will crash, if we can give a stronger alternative belief that the aircraft is safe, and that they will enjoy the experience, that belief will take hold and they will fly.

We can do this by reframing, changing the context or content of the belief,  by changing the idea, belief  or frame of reference, by issuing another statement giving the original belief a new meaning, the outcome will change.


“I am told I am bad, I am a control freak.” Reframe, “You must be good at organising a diner party”

Belief change, “It is good to be a control freak sometimes.”

“Nobody loves me, nobody telephones me.” Reframe, “At least you get a good nights sleep, no phone calls at 2 in the morning.”

Belief change, “Poor, guy, he gets calls all through the night, and a poor nights sleep.”


See Context Reframing  and Content Reframing

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