The Six-Step Reframing Pattern indirectly engages the unconscious mind. When there is a shadowy part of you that you just can't put your finger on, but you know is behind some of your inappropriate behaviors, wouldn't it be great if you could just enter into dialogue with that part? If it could just show us a sign, then we could begin to understand it's purpose, and from there negotiate a peace.
During this process, we might never know the name or put a face to this unconscious part of us, but that should not stop us from being able to communicate with it. Think of this part as a kind of "dark knight" within you, which though it communicates obliquely via shadows, is really on your side if you can just discover and satisfy its higher intent. This is not unlike Batman, who must ally with Commissioner Gordon and DA Harvey Dent in pursuit of public safety and justice, is it not?
1. Identify a behavior that is causing you trouble
- What behavior do you wish to change, which is subject to inner resistance?
- What compulsive thoughts or actions would you like to change, but can't because there is part of you that won't cooperate?
2. Establish communication with the part that triggers this behavior
- Go inside now and ask for that resistant part of you to reveal itself. Is there a feeling, a sound, a movement, a color or a sensation that let's you know "I'm listening"?
- Ask that part of you if it is willing to communicate with you, and try to discern a yes or no.
- If you get a no, it may be that it does not trust your intent, and so you must assure that part that you will respect its intent, and not abreact, whatever it is.
- If you get a yes, thank the part, and you are ready to proceed.
3. Discover the positive intent of that part
- Ask the part if it is willing to reveal its positive intent to conscious awareness. Trust that the answer will come, and be willing to wait for a yes or a no.
- If you get a yes, then probe the part further to learn if it trusts your conscious judgement.
- Do I allow this positive intent to be expressed?
- Is there a more useful behavior that expresses the same positive intent as well? If you get a no, then you have more trust-work to do here.
- Your part does not trust that solutions you have come up with will work as well.
4. Access creative resources
- Ask your creative center to come up with 3 alternatives to present back to that part. These must be 3 new ideas, different than what you have tried before.
- When you feel that these ideas will really work, then communicate them to this part.
5. Broker a deal and commit the part to the more resourceful behavior
- Will the part that ran the old behavior be willing to run one or more of these new behaviors instead?
- Will the part that ran the old behavior identify the triggers for the new behaviors? What are they?
6. Check for ecology
- Is there any part of you that disagrees with running the new behaviors when triggered?
- Are you fully congruent about this?
When to Use This Pattern:
There are parts of us that look out for us, but prefer to remain unnamed. They protect us, but in ways that are suboptimal. Try this whenever you struggle to name the part that manifests this behavior, but you want to seek its cooperation toward a better solution.
The Six-Step Reframing pattern is based on the metaphor of an unconscious "part". You must be very comfortable with this metaphor for this pattern to succeed. If you or the client feel awkward or confused about parts, then try something else.
Michael Hall, and others.