We base NLP reframing on the idea that all meaning depends on your point of view. To reframe something is to change its meaning by putting it in a different setting, context or frame. For instance, a nasty experience can seem funny when put in a long- term frame. It is one of the most useful NLP techniques.
The meaning of any event depends on how we frame it. When we change the frame we change the meaning and with it our responses and behaviors. For instance if someone goes to a party dressed as a skeleton the meaning is different depending on whether it is Halloween or a funeral. My response to someone slipping on a banana skin is different as an observer than as a victim.
Reframing is not new. Many fables and fairy tales include behaviors change their meaning when the frames changes. The different looking chick seems to be an ugly duckling. He has been comparing himself to all the other ducks, and now he is a beautiful swan.
Some Comedy Reframes from Richard Stockton
Humor and creativity
Reframing often appears in jokes. What seems to be one thing shifts and becomes something else. The set up takes you down a path and the punch line sends you somewhere else.
Reframing is part of creativity: it’s about taking an ordinary event or thing and putting it in a new frame that is useful or enjoyable. The inventor of Velcro noticed how difficult it was to get burrs out of his clothing. He decided this could be useful for attaching things together.
Context reframing – a different point of view
The basis of NLP reframing using context is the NLP Presuppositions that every behavior is useful in some situation. By thinking of a useful context, you can change your response to that behavior.
When you try to get a friend to think about things differently, see another point of view law or consider other factors, you are trying to reframe events to get a different response. Putting a positive spin on ideas in politics is a typical use of reframing.
Content reframing – positive intent and purpose
Another NLP presupposition is that all behavior has a positive intent. Finding the positive intention of a behavior is the other kind of NLP reframing. Do you believe that all behavior has a positive intent?
Generally, you do not intend to harm people with your words or your action, even if the effect is different. Where you or someone else did intend harm to another, there is still a positive intention for the self. That is to feel safe, powerful, in control, prevent the person doing something again, or as punishment.
In evolutionary terms, our brains don’t do anything without some underlying purpose. Our brain’s functioning is always of benefit overall to the survival of the species. We might feel it isn’t acting in our short-term personal interest sometimes, but there is always a purpose for our behavior and responses.
For example, finding that the positive intention of a teen’s rebellious action is to become an independent, capable adult can change the way both parent, and teen views that behavior.