People often ask me what the most important learning or most important technique I have learned in Psychotherapy. I have a really, really good answer! The technique is called ‘Reframing’. The idea is that all meaning depends on your point of view.
Consider this: You are sitting at the stop lights and you see the opposite way the light turns red. Suddenly, you see an ambulance and then a Lamborghini run the red light. What you do think about each? You were probably thinking to yourself that the ambulance is saving someone’s live and the Lamborghini is a hoon driver in his fancy car. But what if I told you that the ambulance had actually been stolen and a group of kids were taking it for a joy ride and the Lamborghini was actually a man what his wife in the backseat about to be in active labour. It makes you think about the situation a little differently.
Or perhaps consider a piece of wood that was once part of a great forest, cut away in the prime of his health. Then, imagine that piece of wood in a fireplace, heating the whole family through the cold winters. Or consider that fiery piece of wood as part of the family Christmas tree. Christmas ruined because the family Christmas tree is on fire. Or perhaps zoom out and it is actually the set of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and there are fire crews standing by for the direct to call ‘CUT’ so they can come it and blow it out.
In both stories, I hope that you can see that it is easy to manipulate the meaning based upon the point of reference. When I first started, I knew other hypnotherapists and NLP Practitioners that were fantastic at reframes. I remember a story from one of my friend where he convinced a balding man that going bald was great thing. He stated that bald never goes out of fashion and calculated how he would save so much money on hairdressing that he could buy a motorcycle in a couple of years. It is very clever.
So to help me practice this technique I devised a game. The game comes from a book ‘Pollyanna’. It is called the glad game because it involves every time there is something bad, you have to say ‘this is good because…’ One would be surprised to find that everything can always have a positive perspective and by practising this technique repeatedly, it make you a much happier person. Every time someone would stump me in a session, I would write it in a little book. At one point, I Googled ‘shitty things that can happen to you’. Trust me, I got some ideas! So I challenge you to do the same. Think about how you are making meaning from your point of view and consider if there are any other points can be more helpful. And every time something not so good happens to you, consider the phrase ‘this is good because…’