Identifying Framesof Reference

Given that we process information through various frames, the problem in finding these frames rests in that most of them lie outside conscious awareness. Once we put our thoughts in "reality" boxes, and say 'Yes" to them, we live out of these frames, and get used to them as our models of reality. They then filter our very perspective. They function as our sense of "reality." Comprising our beliefs, learnings, and decisions, these frames also establish our identity.

To identify a frame-of-reference we need to step back and go meta to our processing. From there we can then ask some questions to reflect on our thinking itself.

"What perspective governs this processing?"

"What assumptions and presuppositions drive this?"

"From whose eyes do I see this?"

"What has to exist as true for this to make sense?"

"What thoughts and ideas do I assume as real?"

While the frames we adopt and utilize extend as far as human understanding, valuing, and believing, common frames-of-reference include the following.

Comparison frame: "She does this so much better and quicker than I do!"

Self-esteem frame: "I would feel like a nobody if I got fired from this job."

Self-identify frame: "I'm not that kind of person."

Historical frame: "That's the way I have always been."

Relational frame: "I'm a mother first and foremost." Success/failure frame: "Could I even succeed if I tried to write a book?"

Masculinity/ femininity frame: "I won't say that, it wouldn't seem manly."

Right/wrong frame: 'You shouldn't talk that way; it's wrong." Emotional/intellectual frame: "He's a guy who lives out of his head."

Pleasure/pain frame: "Will this be fun?"

Relevance frame: "How is this relevant to what I'm doing?"


Kinds of Reframing

Since "changed meanings lead to new responses," when we change the meaning of something, we alter the way that we respond to it.

In content reframing, we operate inside the formula box and simply shift the frame from one frame-of-referenceto another. "It doesn't mean this, it means this other thing." We can discover more useful meanings if we ask such questions as:

"How can I view this event as valuable?" "What positive intent did that person have?"

Nelson Zink has suggested a most useful process for developing reframing flexibility when he said, "Try giving every event at least three different meanings and see how this changes your world."

In context reframing,we move outside of the formula box. From here we can explore the context that surrounds the box, the contexts of contexts, and what shifts of contexts would make a great difference.

"In what context would this behavior or response function usefully?'

"Where would I want to produce this response?"

From Meta-Modelto "Sleight of Mouth" Patterns

While the Meta-Model provides overt and explicit understanding of how we create our mental maps using language, Mind-Lines provide a model for conversational reframing. Here we do things covertly!

To do this we start with two Meta-Model distinctions: complex equivalences (CEq) and cause-effect (C-E). These linguistic distinctions deal with meanings that relate to cause, association, identity, intention, etc. In them we will find the heart and center of most neuro-semantic magic.

In reframing also we always make a distinction between behavior (or result) and intention. We distinguish what a person does (the behavior, EB) and what a person seeks to achieve by those actions (the person's internal representations, I.R., intentions, and meanings). Again, this encodes the inside and the outside worlds. So, this step-by-step process goes:

Step 1. Notice these Meta-Model distinctions in the conversation as you interact with people. Listen for causation beliefs (C-E) by paying attention to causative words ("because, if, when, in order to, so that" and all present tense verbs). Listen for meaning beliefs (CEq) by paying attention to equation words ("equals, is, equates to, is," etc.) and universal quantifiers (all, always, never). As you listen, constantly inquire about specifics (i.e., see, hear, feel behaviors) and what the person thinks, believes, or means about such.

Step 2. Create an EB = IS equation. Either do this on paper or in your head (which you will find easy enough after you get some practice writing it on paper). Formulate how the statement links up two sets of representations—some external behavior and some internal state (thought, understanding, state, emotion, etc.). The formal structure of this equation will show up as:

"She's angry or upset with me because she didn't smile at me as she usually does."

Now representational^ test the statement by noticing the see, hear, feel referents. In other words, video-think about the statement. If you had a video-camera in hand, what would flash across the screen of that camera in terms of sights, sounds, and sensations?

Use this as an empirical test for the EB in the statements. By representationally testing we track directly over from only the words offered to some sensory-based representation on the inner theater of our mind.

After you do that, identify the meaning (or IS) that the external behavior stands for (or equates to, or causes, etc.) in the mental map. This gives us enough to create the formula.

"Didn't Smile = Angry or Upset with me"

Suppose someone says, "You made me forget the answer when you asked in that tone of voice." What do you have in terms of the formula? What equation do you hear in that statement? How about: "Yourtone of voice = my inability to remember."

Suppose someone says to you, "I can't believe that you're late again." Here we have a see, hear, feel EB of "late," but we have no meaning. So we meta-modelto get more specifics. "Really? What does that mean to you?" "It means you don't care about me." Now we have a meaning and can generate an EB=IS formula: "Being late = not caring."

Step 3. Playfully frame anew and then reframe again the statement. Once we get the belief to this stage and form, the time has come for us to use the "Sleight of Mouth™/ Mind-Line patterns. And with that, the fun (and magic) begins! From here, we can play around with 20 shifts for conversationally reframing.

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