7-4 Chapter Summary, Reframing, Metaphor, Bonus Activities

Chapter Summary

Reframing is one of the most important models in NLP. It’s a subtle and powerful way to open people’s minds – including yours – to new possibilities and opportunities. It’s a way to free ourselves and others from the chains of the past, the limits imposed on us.

The notion has become common in politics that whoever frames a discussion controls the context of that discussion. Framing sets the boundaries and the options. Reframing is the way to open those closed boundaries and explore new options and consider new possibilities.

Here’s the video introduction from our Portable Practitoner Program.

Introduction to Reframing s6-d3-c1

Finding An Agreement Frame s6-d4-c2


The use of metaphor or story in NLP goes back to the earliest days and the study of Milton Erickson, MD one of the first and most effective medical hypnotherapists.

Telling a story is perhaps the easiest way to slip in some new ideas, and possibilities and to influence choices and outcomes. Here’s the basic introduction and example from the “Portable Practitioner” using one simple example of a metaphor. 

Introducing Metaphors s7-d3-c1

Life Metaphors Exercise

Demonstration of Life Metaphors Exercise s7-d3-c3

Review of Life Metaphors Exercise s7-d3-c4

Chapter 7: Key Ideas

  • Moving someone from resisting to listening to considering depends more on what you get them to tell you than the other way around.
  • Stepping back or “zooming out” gives someone psychological air and space to exhale when they appear to be tense or feeling pushed.
  • Asking, “What has to be going on in that person’s world for this to be true for them?” is a way to stand in someone else’s shoes and get a sense of their internal experience.
  • To speak someone else’s language, it’s helpful to adapt to and mirror their preferences,  their preferred representational channel and meta-programs, and their orientation to time.
  • Beliefs are mostly out of a person’s awareness and are stated as fact. Because these ideas shape the person’s view of the world, they are often dearly held and can become a source of conflict, or of close agreement and rapport.
  • When someone is stuck or seems like they’re struggling with a limiting belief, reframing is a simple, subtle, and effective way to suggest a more positive perspective.
  • Unpacking a belief to understand how it’s expressed (pictures, sounds, etc.) and the associated positive intention increases the possibility of loosening the belief so it can be updated.
  • When asked a question, the human mind can’t help but create an answer. Asking questions that open up possibilities engages more of the listener’s brain – which, in turn, changes their blood chemistry and their mood.
  • Metaphors and stories are powerful and fun ways to shift someone’s attention and attitude. Sharing anecdotes or tales often works well because the listener instinctively relates to the protagonist and can’t help but try on the situation and the solution as they listen.
  • Because we all live our lives in metaphor, someone’s appearance, their toys, and their environment (in addition to their language) provide a glimpse into their unique map of the world.
  • Inner conflicts that have been reduced to a condensed report like, “I’m really disconnected” are too generalized and abstract to work with. Finding a specific, (ideally recent) experience can provide enough sensory information to “try on” the other person’s reality.
  • If we establish sufficient rapport, most people will respond well to us. They will accept our efforts to mirror non-verbals, match predicates and meta-program language, loosen and reframe beliefs, and generally make life more interesting and fun for both of us.
  • Our efforts to help some one shift may not always be welcome or appreciated. Sometimes this is because we may have misread the extent of our rapport (and the permission that gives us) or we were inappropriately inserting ourselves.
  • Other times our efforts are unaccepted because some people are so self-focused they’re kind of toxic. Reducing the amount of contact with such individuals or maintaining clear boundaries can protect our energy and enable us to focus on what’s most important in our worlds.

Bonus Activities

  • One day, focus on identifying common metaphors that are used in every day conversation.
  • To find examples of metaphor, go to www.nlpco.com and root through the blog articles. Most of these are personal stories, and the stories are metaphors, because there’s usually a point to them. I’m not very heroic. I’m just a guy who’s lived a long time and kept his eyes open.
  • On another day, tune into the stories people tell about themselves or others. Notice whom you identified with in the story and how hearing the lesson in the story shifted your thoughts.
  • Direct your attention one day to listening for limiting beliefs; then, when appropriate play with questions and reframes to loosen things up and shift someone’s attention in a more positive direction.
  • Some other day, concentrate on adapting your language to people’s preferred channels of processing.
  • Notice which your meta-programs you use most often and how these might be undermining the ease and effectiveness of interactions you have with people who’s meta-programs are different.
  • As you move through your day, notice things that ruffle your feathers or make your hair stand up. When you have some private time, unpack that experience so you can identify specifically how you create that experience and what positive intention may be working on your behalf.
  • Read Just Listen by Mark Goulston.


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