NLP & Reframing


NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) has some fascinating insights on how we humans operate.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, NLP has three broad insights into how our minds work.

The first of these is that we have mental filters, through which we experience our sensory world and construct our own unique world view.

The second is that the way we process and use language reflects our thought processes, beliefs and emotional make-up. And in turn, this gives us guidance on how langage can be used to influence these.

And thirdly, our most effective learning often comes from copying people who are good at what we want to learn, and modelling our own performance based on their actions, attitudes, thoughts, emotional state etc.

In this blog, I’d like to focus on one aspect of NLP processes called reframing.

This is a psychological technique for changing the context within which we experience something, or the content of that experience.

The context, or ‘frame’, will influence how we judge and hence react to a given event, experience or situation.

Many of our life experiences are ‘framed’ in some way. For instance, we may associate ice cream with being at the beach, or the smell of bonfires with autumn walks in the park.

In these examples, there is no problem it seems, they are all a part and parcel of normal living. But what if I associate the sound of a car horn with a bad accident? Then every time I hear a car horn, I may become anxious and want to get away from the place without realising why.

In the process, of reframing, we are aiming to get the situations which cause us irrational behavioural problems, such a panic attacks, undue stress and maybe even unexplained anger, re-categorised so they’re no longer an issue for us.

This can be done by seeing the event or experience in a bigger or richer context. This larger frame can be one of time, one of people involved, one of other similar experiences etc. The aim here is to desensitise the original limited framing.

And by shifting our awareness of a situation through reframing, we are in a position to make a wiser range of choices, and to be conscious of these alternative ways of reacting. Assuming we need to react at all.

What we can learn from this, is that many things in our lives are neither good nor bad, until we frame them. And only when we put them into a given context do they get labeled one way or the other.

Another type of NLP reframing, is to address the content rather than the context of a situation. The aim is to move to a broader, more positive and resourceful view, and let go of an obsessive negative reaction to certain situations or people.

A great recently released book on NLP is by Rintu Basu, a very effective NLP trainer:

Persuasion Skills Black Book: Practical NLP Language Patterns for Getting The Response You Want:

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