What is Reframing?


To understand reframing, let’s first look at the definition of framing. In psychological terms, framing is the act of defining an issue, thought, or experience in a way that influences how it is seen or perceived.



Reframing is a technique used by mental health professionals to help clients understand patterns of behaviors and thoughts in a different context. It’s a way of changing our point of view and giving new meaning to past experiences. The goal is to change those negative patterns of thought that keep us stuck.



Original Thought/BeliefReframed Thought/Belief
I don’t get paid what I deserve.I earn what I expect to get paid.



Why Reframing is Important?


As humans, we perceive the idea of “self” as that voice we hear inside our heads. It appears this voice talks to us, with us, and at us. It’s the narrator of our lives, constantly relaying our inner thoughts about self, others, and the external world in which we live.


We refer to it as many things: self talk, our inner voice, the automatic mind. In my work as an empowerment coach, I refer to this inner dialogue as self talk. Self talk shapes our perceptions, beliefs, emotions, decisions, and actions. And most of the time, it happens with little control or interruption from our conscious mind.


Our thoughts in the form of self-talk can be positive or negative. They can empower us or limit us.


When we routinely engage in self talk that takes on a negative or critical tone, this establishes a pattern to how we think. I’m sure you know someone who always seems to be in a bad mood or has something negative to say. Over the years, they’ve engaged in a pattern of negative thinking to the point that they’re limited to seeing life with a negative filter. Negative thinking results in negative “being”.


Thankfully, it works the same way for positive self talk. We can establish patterns of positive and complimentary thinking that puts us in a positive state of mind.



How Professionals Can Use Reframing


Reframing teaches you how to shift negative self talk into positive self talk. You can change the way you think and feel by reframing how your inner voice speaks. The key is to choose words that are positive and empowering.


The way we talk to ourselves influences the release of chemicals in the brain. These chemicals determine how we feel. When we engage in positive self talk, these neurochemicals cause us to have feelings like joy, confidence, peace, and love. Whereas negative or critical self talk causes an emotional response of anger, fear, uncertainty, or sadness. And as we hold these emotions, the brain is triggered to revisit other memories that made us feel the same way.


Have you ever gone on a great date and then never heard from the person again? Next thing you know, you’re thinking about all the times potential partners treated you poorly. Then you start to spiral even further and begin thinking about past breakups and the pain of being alone. You can go from feeling hurt to feeling heartbroken in minutes.


You may have noticed this thought process occurs automatically, with little effort on your part. That’s because the pattern of negative self talk becomes hardwired in your brain like a habit. Like driving. You no longer consciously think about it. It happens on autopilot. As does the critical voice in our head.


Positive self talk works the same way. It creates an environment in the brain where your thoughts attract other positive memories and feelings. It influences you to see the positive characteristics in your environment. As a result, we are more likely to see ourselves in a positive light, as well as those around us. At the very least, reframing can teach you how to stop the negative self talk that keeps you stuck.



Reframing is simple yet powerful. Let’s use the example above to highlight the benefits of this technique.


Original Thought/BeliefReframed Thought/Belief
I don’t get paid what I deserve.I earn what I expect to get paid.


  • Can you see how the original thought takes on a passive tone and creates a sense of being a victim?
  •  It gives other people (employer or clients) the power of determining your value.
  •  It’s a blow to your confidence and self worth.


The reframed thought is still talking about the same experience but with different perception and in a different context.


  • It immediately puts you in control.
  • It confirms your self worth.
  • You are empowered by taking ownership of your circumstances.
  • You have creative control to set expectations.


Can you see and feel the difference? Share your thoughts.