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Using Reframing as a Counseling Skill.

Using Reframing as a Counseling Skill:
What is reframing? It is a specific counselling micro-skill used by helpers to more-or-less offer people alternative ways of viewing things (problems/issues). It is basically putting a different (more positive yet realistic) perspective on things that are concerning, worrying or problematic for people.
An example would be that a counsellor might hear somebody with an anxiety disorder (let’s say Generalised Anxiety Disorder [GAD]) say something like:

“I just seem to feel so anxious ALL the time! It’s getting worse. My head seems to spin around all the time too. It’s all too much. I just can’t cope any longer. And to make things worse, my husband seems to be becoming even more demanding……..and everybody else! He doesn’t do enough and I’m sick of it!”
A re-frame could be something such as:

“I hear what you are saying and it actually sounds to me like you are very important to him, as if he may feel like he needs you. And it also sounds like others rely on you too. Perhaps they see you as someone who is very helpful and valuable to them”.
It is important NOT to dismiss the person’s feelings, thoughts or problems. You can validate these things or let the person you know that you have heard them without dismissing these problems at all. Re-framing is NOT ignoring others’ problems but offering a different point of view about how things may otherwise be. In the above example, a counsellor would certainly not ignore this lady’s problems with here disorder nor anything else such as feelings of frustration, annoyance, anxiety or whatever else but try to offer her a different view-point without disagreeing. It is like seeing things from a different angle.
Reframing can be useful not only in general with anybody who may benefit from being able to look at things from a different angle, but also with people experiencing mental health challenges such as depression. Reframing (used effectively and sincerely) may instigate a ‘change of direction’ in one’s thinking.  
Of course, we can use ‘tools’ like this and it may have positive effects on the person, but a person will interpret information in their unique way, and when a person has depression they may see things very subjectively and more-or-less find it difficult to dispute alternate thinking/beliefs which may transpire from using re-framing effectively. Counselors/counsellors may be generally very good at using useful counseling/counselling micro-skills such as this, but they have also generally had more practice. Any person can learn and use skills such as re-framing.
Another example could be if someone tells you about how she seems to be feeling overwhelmed by her workload as she seems to get more responsibilities that her co-workers. She might say “I’m just tired of it, why don’t the other workers be given more responsibility?” A simple reframe could be something like “it seems like perhaps your boss thinks you are responsible and someone he can count on”.
It may be useful for some people, maybe not for others, but you can give it a go. Remember to be sincere with your responses.
All the best, and thanks for visiting my blog,



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Thanks again :-)


Originally posted 2010-12-25 12:20:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


mental health worker. i am interested in peer support, recovery of mental health, psychotherapy, psychology and mental health in general. i live in australia.

2 Responses to Using Reframing as a Counseling Skill.

  1. Thanks very interesting blog!

  2. […] method tries to address minor psychological concerns and make use of counseling techniques. This is possible since those subjected under this method are still in control of their mind. For […]

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