Six Step Reframing

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1.  Identify the behaviour or response to be changed.

This is usually, 'I want to do something, but something stops me.', or 'I don't want to do something, but I seem to end up doing it just the same.' When working with another, it isn't necessary to know what the behaviour actually is, they can keep it secret, if they like.

Acknowledge the good that the behaviour, or at the least the intention behind the behaviour has done for you in the past. Make clear you aren't going to get rid of it.

2. Establish communication with the part which is responsible for the behaviour

Go inside and ask the part if it is willing to communicate with you in consciousness? Notice the feelings inside of you. This is an unconscious response, so ask yourself: Can you reproduce that signal consciously?

If you can this it isn't it! Because if the response were conscious then it would be easy to turn it off. You could just decide not to do it. For example, when you hear that another has got the job you really longed for, and you want to be decent and congratulate them, but when you do so you feel that sense of discomfort. Can you turn that off? Can you help feeling that way even though you don't want to feel that way? That is the unconscious signal. Establish a communication system. Ask the part to increase the signal for 'Yes' and decrease it for 'No'. Get it to do this several times so you get a 'Yes' and a 'No' signal that are quite clear.

3. Separate the positive intention from the behaviour.

Thank the part for co-operating.

Ask, 'Will the part which is responsible for the behaviour let me know what it is trying to do?' You will get a clear intention which may be a surprise to your conscious mind. Think whether you want the part to do that.

If you get a 'No' signal, you can just assume a positive intention and continue. Or you could ask under what circumstances it would let you know.

Ask the part, 'If you were given ways to accomplish this intention, at least as well, if not better than the present, would you be willing to try them out?' If you get a 'No', your signals are scrambled - no part would turn down an offer like this!

4. Ask your creative part to generate new ways that will accomplish the same purpose.

Ask your creative part to generate as many solutions as it can - you do not need to know what these are consciously. Ask the part being negotiated with to select at least three of these for it to try. Ask it to give you a signal each time it has selected one. Take as long as you need on this part of the process.

Thank your creative part when you have finished.

5. Ask the part if it will agree to use the new choices over the next few weeks, rather than the old behaviour.

This is future rehearsing the new behaviour. There is no reason why the part should not agree to do this. If you get a 'No', then tell it it can still use the old behaviour - only use the new behaviour first. If you still get a 'No', then reframe the objecting part (By going back to step 1).

6. Ecological Check

Go inside and ask, 'Does any part of me object to the new choices?' If there are objections then check them out by asking the part to intensify the signal. If there are objections then you can reframe the part or ask it to get together with the creative part to find more solutions.

Ensure that there are no objecting parts, otherwise they may try to sabotage.


  1. Identify a problem
  2. Identify the part, and get different signals for 'Yes' and 'No'.
  3. Get the part's positive intention, and ask it 'If you were given ways of achieving this intention just as well or even better than now, would you be willing to try them out for a week or so?'
  4. Ask your creative part to generate many possible solutions (it does not have to find only good ones!) while the part in question gives a 'Yes' signal when there is a solution it thinks it might use. Get at least three.
  5. Ask the part if it will try these in the next few weeks.
  6. Check that there aren't any objecting parts.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 Ken Ward,
All Rights Reserved.