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NLP Reframing

Changing behaviour by reframing your perception of an event

We are more likely to be limited by our map of the world than by reality. We set limits on what we can and can’t do based on the meaning we give to an event or situation. Reframing is an effective way of changing behaviour which involves changing the way an event is perceived and so changing its meaning. When the meaning changes, the response and behaviour change also.

Reframing enables people to gain a different perspective (frame) so that they can have more choices and be more resourceful. Reframes can involve content or context.

Content Reframing

The content or meaning of a situation is determined by what you choose to focus on.


  • What else could this mean?

  • In what way could this be positive or a resource?

  • Examples:

       I have had four interviews without success.

       Reframe: That means that you are getting more interview experience!

       I have got all these qualifications – and they are not accepted here.

       Reframe: That means that you have already proved that you can study and learn.

    Context Reframing

    Almost all behaviours are useful or appropriate in some context. Your job is to discover when it could be of value. Once your clients are in a more resourceful state, you can help them discover behaviours that may be more appropriate in other situations.


    When or where would this behaviour be useful or viewed as a resource?

    In what context would this behaviour have value?


       My boss is always checking up on me.

       Reframe: Could that mean that he is always supporting you?

       I am nervous with new people.

       Reframe: Does that mean that you are more sensitive to others?

    Concluding Thoughts

    When presenting a reframe to another person:

    • Make sure you have rapport and their permission to offer it.

    • Remember that they will have a different model of the world and your reframe might not work, so try another, and another. The objective is to introduce choices into a ‘stuck’ or unresourceful state.

    • The best you can do is to ask someone to consider your reframe and then he can choose whether or not it reframes their experience.

    • If you present the reframe in the form of a question or a metaphor (story), it will most likely be more fully considered by your client than if you present it as a statement of fact. 

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