One of the major techniques of NLP is something called reframing. Essentially it is a way to take any limiting belief or behavioral pattern and turn it around in such a way that the persone either has an “aha” moment or it causes the problem to disappear entirely.
The reason reframing can be so powerful is that few people are aware of how strongly language affects our experience of what we call “reality”. By changing the “frame” around a problem it doesn’t just give you a new perspective (although that’s certainly part of it), it can actually make a profound and observable neurological shift.
I had done a series on NLP reframing in my newsletter sometime last year and it was picked up on by a couple of guys in Ohio, Aaron Torres and Paul Binkley who have been learning NLP on their own and practicing it’s applications at the auto factory they work in.
I hadn’t heard from these guys for a while and was delighted to get an e-mail from Paul Binkley with another great story. So here it is in it’s entirely with Paul’s permission. Thank you Paul! I definitely look forward to doing an NLP Certification in Ohio soon!
Please note: I’ve added a few comments in red to give you a little insight into what Paul is doing outside of conscious awareness.
Long time no see. Thanks for the ongoing email and updates about your work.
I had an opportunity this week to help a coworker reframe a major life circumstance. and I thought you would like to hear about it, partly because it is a success story of mind over matter and because I had the presence of mind to offer it, in part, because of your invaluable contribution to my own perspectives on life, the universe, and everything.
A female coworker, 33yrs old apx., confided in me how angry she was that her mother, whom she asked to watch her dogs while she was away for the day, upset her greatly for about the millionth time over the same issue of playing favorites among her three daughters.
It seems that my coworker had left $30 for her mother to order her favorite pizza with everything on it while she watched the dogs at her (my coworkers) house.
Her mother, not wanting to spend the day alone, invited her favorite daughter over to her not so favorite daughters (my coworker) house, to keep her company.
This is where the problem begins.
The mother, desiring to bless her favorite daughter, gave the $30 to her favorite daughter instead of buying her favorite pizza for herself.
My coworker on hearing this, was outraged.
She went on to present to me all manor of evidences supporting her claim that her sister is her mothers favorite child ( they were many and convincing proofs). We often have major amounts of “evidence” for why a certain belief or perception is true. And then started telling how her sister (the favored) was totally dependent on their mother for everything and made no effort to have a life outside of her dependency on their mother, and how her mother was also equally her mothers ( my coworkers grandmother) favorite and just as insanely dependent on her to do everything for her.
She went on to explain how her mother does nothing for her own benefit to a point of serious health risk from obesity, attributing this to her dependency on her mother.
She nearly cried while confiding that her mother, during a day long visit on Christmas day, had not used the restroom all day and stank of urine.
When her mother got up to get something to eat, my coworker noticed a folded towel on her mothers chair, which she first mistook as an added padding then, on inspection, realized her mother had urinated on the folded towel.
The thought that her mother would employ such a method to circumvent needing to visit the restroom, grieved my coworker profoundly. I would like to mention that her mother is not reported to have any health condition relating to bladder control.
Harder to believe than the above:
Here’s the underlying Limiting Decision:
My coworker admits that her own sense of self worth, her practiced state of mind, is dominated by her interpretation that she is less of a person because she is not her mothers favorite.
Here’s what she’s not seeing about herself. This is currently outside of her conscious awareness:
My coworker is about the hardest working, self-sufficient, commonsense, take care of business person I work with (outside of Aaron Torres of course). She is nothing like her mother or her sister or her grandmother.
Here Paul is associating her into the problem in order to “light up the neurological net”:
I asked her to imagine what her life would be like she were her mother’s favorite. She couldn’t do it.
I suggested she(if she were the favorite) would be as pitifully helpless as her sister. How would she like that?
She convulsed with disgust at the thought. The fact that she convulsed with disgust at the thought is proof that she is indeed associated into that experience. When we say “associated” we mean that the person is looking through their own eyes in their internal representation of the situation. they are “in” it.
I told her that the next time her mother favors her sister over her she should thank God that she is not under the generational curse of being mothers favorite.
“I never thought of it that way” she said. Exactly!
I went on to thank God out loud ) quite loudly) right there on the spot that she was not her mothers favorite(note the embedded message). Paul is also using this person’s model of the world. If he was talking to an atheist or a new ager he might not thank God he might say it in a different way. For the Atheist he might say “Thank Goodness!” for the spiritual but not religious peron he might say “Thank the Universe.” It’s all about speaking the language of the person you’re working with
The grimace she had been wearing all day turned to a beaming smile. The great thing about NLP is using our sensory acuity skills we can actually look at another person and see the shift. In other words we can get immediate feedback as to whether something worked or not. Sometimes it’s a subtle color shift other times it’s pretty noticeable. If we get the shift great! if we don’t get the shift, “there’s no failure, there’s only feedback” and we simply try a different approach.
I reiterated the suggestion to say out loud to herself how thankful she is to not be the favorite, next time she recognizes the hideous manifestation of favoritism disease. Speaking the phrase out loud creates an auditory and physiological anchor so that the shift can be “locked in” to her neurology and made available for re-triggering the new insight whenever it’s reinforcement is needed. Also, labeling the old problem as “Favoritism disease” links the old thought pattern in a powerful way to a disease which locks in an “away from” strategy unconsciously.
She said she would.
special thanks to Paul Binkley for sharing this story! Any other examples out there of powerful reframes? ether leave a comment here or e-mail me directly with your own stories and experiences at mark [at] markshepard.com
Please “Digg” or “Stumble” or “Facebook” or “Twitter” this! Thanks!
p.s. to learn more about NLP and how you can use it to “reframe” your own “problems” into “opportunities” visit Modern Jedi NLP Training