Using Reframes at the Beginning of a Session

Reframes can be used early on in a session to simply reinforce the fact that they have taken a step toward resolution as a way that gives them hope, a feeling of control, a feeling they are not alone – to add in just a chink of a more positive view and perhaps even some permission to begin the process of resolution.

Reframes are generally most helpful to the client when used toward the end of resolving a specific event and their intensity is three or below.  The intensity “rule” of 3 or below makes a lot of sense. When our intensity level is high we may not be able to “take in” a reframe. After all, a reframe is a shift in perspective, which is a cognitive function, that requires the prefrontal cortex to be “on line, ” a real challenge when one is upset.

At times this can be accomplished early in a session by using reframes that encourage, recognize and reinforce the clients’ willingness to work on their issues and the power they do have in their life.

21789048_sSome clients come with such a lack of self-acceptance that there is difficulty stating the acceptance part of the Setup. Variations of, “I deeply and completely accept myself” may bring up resistance when the client, in fact, does not accept themselves. So what are “facts” that the client can accept?

Even though I have all these problems and I’m not sure where to start, I recognize that I have the courage to begin the process of looking for solutions to these problems.

Even though I have so many negative feelings that they overwhelm me, I can at least give myself credit for taking the first step.

Even though I am very afraid to look at this event, I can take my time and realize I control how much and how fast to go.

Even though my life is a mess and I don’t even know where to begin, I can realize, maybe even appreciate, that I am sitting here with this EFT person and am willing to try something new to increase peace in my life.

Even though I may not even believe doing this is going to help me either, at least I’m willing to try to do something different. After all if you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you just keep getting what you’ve been getting.

Even though this has been bothering me my whole life and I’m not sure I can get over it, maybe, I can give myself permission to be OK with perhaps exploring it.

These reframes can be created from information the client gives you as to where they are or want to be in their life. These are simply statements of the obvious; you are not telling them what to do or even trying to change their perspective on themselves or their presenting problem. You are only stating the obvious. But, like in most reframes, an obvious that is being overlooked by the client.

These examples use the more general presenting problem, e.g. that their life is not going well or is overwhelming, and we are still working on establishing rapport and a place of safety. This is a variation on the “rules” for reframes, as you are not yet working on a specific event, and the presenting problem is certainly higher than a three.

Our client’s expectations and attitudes are an important part of any type of “therapy.” These statement of fact reframes can create a “chink” in the limiting beliefs such as: it’s hopeless, I have no power, I can’t do anything right, I have no value, etc.  The purpose of such reframes is to state a fact, a fact that even the client cannot contest or resist and create perhaps the baby step movement in their firmly held negative beliefs about themselves.

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Ann Adams