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Cognitive reframing consists of changing the way people see things and trying to find alternative ways of viewing ideas, events, situations, or a variety of other concepts. In the context of cognitive therapy, cognitive reframing is referred to as cognitive restructuring. Cognitive reframing, on the other hand, refers to the process as it occurs either voluntarily or automatically in all settings.
Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy in the 1960s. Beck worked with patients that had been diagnosed with depression, and found that negative thoughts would come into minds of these patients. Beck helped his patients recognize the impact of their negative thoughts, and aided them in shifting their mindset to think more positively—eventually lessening or even getting rid of the patient’s depression. This process was termed cognitive restructuring - the main goal of which was to rethink negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts Cognitive restructuring as a tool in therapeutic settings led other researchers to recognize that this process happens outside the clinic, and would lead them to develop the term cognitive reframing as a way to describe the more generalized process.
Therapeutic uses of cognitive reframing 
Cognitive reframing can be useful in many ways, such as when trying to improve memory, reduce test anxiety, and helping parents and children cope with disabilities. For example, people with memory problems were told that their memory could be improved by shifting their perspective on their problem. After receiving treatment, their memory improved. Additionally, parents whose children had disabilities changed their view on their children. Otherwise, some parents only had negative thoughts about their disabled children.
Differentiated from cognitive restructuring and distortion 
Cognitive reframing can refer to almost any conscious shift in a person’s mental perspective. For this reason, it is commonly confused with both cognitive restructuring and cognitive distortion. However, there are distinct differences between the three. Reframing is the general change in a person’s mindset, whether it be a positive or negative change. Restructuring is the act of therapeutically changing one’s mindset to strengthen oneself—meaning that it always has a positive connotation. In this way, cognitive restructuring is a particular instance of cognitive reframing.
Distortions are exaggerated and typically negative thoughts not supported by a rational thought process. If someone suffers from a series of distortions (which can lead to depression, poor decisions, and other negative results), the need for cognitive restructuring may present itself. Therefore, distortion is a problem which may be solved by cognitive reframing. Yet another major distinguishing feature between cognitive reframing and cognitive restructuring is awareness—that is, cognitive reframing can happen subconsciously, while cognitive restructuring, as something done at the explicit behest of a therapist, is conscious. That is, since cognitive restructuring is a therapeutic technique, it requires the person to recognize and consciously shift their frame of reference to a more ‘positive’ one. However, since reframing just requires any mental frameshift, there does not need to be any conscious decision to alter one’s perspective. For example, when an individual exhibits hindsight bias, they are unconsciously changing their frame of reference to retain pride and self-esteem Though the need to negatively reframe thoughts is arguably not as frequent as the need to positively reframe them, there are instances in which it is beneficial to negatively reframe thoughts. For example, in theatre, an actor may need to appear sadder or in a more negative state of mind. In order to accomplish this, he or she may alter his or her state of mind through cognitive reframing in order to appear externally more dysphoric. Another use of cognitive reframing can be seen when one tries to make one’s viewpoints objective—that is, shifting your perspective to be neutral about a certain situation.
Six step reframing 
Six step reframing is gentle and respectful technique which can be used for any behaviour change. This is one of the most 'hypnotic' of all NLP techniques and as such the congruence, beliefs and state of the practitioner is key.
You need to have the mindset that your client absolutely does have the answer!
1. Identify the pattern of behaviour to be changed (X)...
2. Establish communication with the part that generates the behaviour...
3. Separate the intention from behaviour...
4. Create alternative behaviour to satisfy the positive intension...
5. Ask if part X would accept the new choices and the responsibility for generating them when needed...
6. Ecological check. Ask that part that has been responding to be unresponsive (still, silent, etc.) then:...
7. Now Go And Do It! - Test! Then Future Pace! Ensure full integration...
1. Identify the problem. The problem will typically be in the form: "I want to do this, but something stops me..." or "I don't want to do this, but I seem to keep doing it just the same..."
2. Establish communication with the part that is responsible for the behavior. Go inside your mind and ask that part to communicate with you using a signal that you will be aware of consciously. When you get a signal, it could be anything, thank the part and ask it if this can be its signal for "yes". Keep asking until you get a reliable signal that you can calibrate consciously. If you cannot get a signal, continue anyway.
3. Establish the positive intention of the part and separate it from the unwanted behavior. Ask the part if it's willing to reveal its positive intention. If you get a "yes" signal, then let that positive intention become clear to you. It may come as a surprise. What is the part trying to accomplish that is of value? If you get a negative positive intention, chunk it up until you get it expressed positively. Separate the positive intention from the behavior. Thank the part for letting you know its positive intention. If you do not get a signal, assume one and continue to the next step. Ask your creative part to generate new ways of fulfilling that positive intention. Go inside yourself and ask your creative part to come up with at least three choices that will fulfill the positive intention in a different way. Ask for them to be at least as good if not better than the original behavior.
4. Ask the creative part to let you know when it has done this and thank it. The creative part may not let you know these choices consciously and you do not need to know them for the process to work.
5. Get agreement from the original part that it will use one or more of these choices rather than the original behavior. This is a form of future pacing. Ask it directly if it is willing to use the new choices. You should get a "yes" signal from the original part. If not, you can either go back to step four and generate more choices or presume that the part is willing to accept the new choices.
6. Ecology check. If you are aware of these new choices, imagine doing them in the future. See yourself doing them as if on a movie screen ([or a dream state, this is your imagine nation]). Does it feel right? Whether you know the choices or not, ask yourself, "Does any other part of me object to these new choices?" Be sensitive to any new signals that could indicate that these choices are not ecological. If you do get a signal, go back to step four and ask the creative part, in consultation with the objecting part, to come up with some new choices that satisfy the objecting part and still honor the original positive intention. Check these new choices for any objections.
The Six Step Reframe NLP Technique
Bandler and Grinder developed the six step reframe technique from their study of Milton Erickson (ideomotor signals) and Virginia Satir's work with parts. They included it in their book Frogs into Princes.
When we are young, we try out different behaviors and some of them work. We keep the ones that work, even when times change and those responses may not be the most useful ones. Throwing a tantrum at 4 might get us what we want, at 44 it probably won't work so well. Behind every behavior is a positive intention - this is one of the basic NLP presuppositions. Motives drive behavior. Our brains do nothing without some (usually unconscious) purpose.
To me the six step reframe is a powerful and underestimated NLP technique.
1. Identify a troubling behavior or response, something you would rather not do or feel.
2. Establish communication with the part creating the unwanted behavior or response. Ask if it would be willing to communicate consciously. This communication might be a sensation somewhere in their/your body, a picture, voice or sound. When you get a signal, first thank the part for responding. When we have fought against particular behaviors, they can feel alienated, so it's useful to be polite.
3. Find the positive intention. Ask the part "What do you want? What positive thing are you trying to do for me? The key here is to recognize the difference between the parts intention and the way it is going about getting it Have you ever tried to be helpful and the person misunderstood your intention and got annoyed? How does it make you feel? Are you likely to help a second time? Our unconscious parts feel the same. Here they are doing the best they can to achieve something for you. Is there thanks or even appreciation? We might have a long history of fighting and shaming this response. If a neighbor repeatedly told you what a worthless lazy bum you were for not mowing your lawn more often, would it inspire you to mow? I have no idea why many of us think shaming works to change behavior. It doesn't work for me. Assuming that this aspect of self has a positive intention can create rapport and therefore makes it more willing to cooperate.
4. Ask for help from their/your creative part to create three alternative ways to get the intended outcome.
5. Have the part evaluate these new choices. Are they acceptable? Will they be as good as or better than the previous behavior? It needs to be willing to try them out for the next month or longer if appropriate. The key here is negotiation. If the part with the unwanted behavior is not happy with these alternatives, it is unlikely to give them a go. If you have ever agreed to something because you were bullied into it, you'll know how important willing commitment is. If the alternatives are not acceptable, go back to step 4 for better choices.
6. Check for objections with other parts with an ecology check and future pacing. When we change behaviors, we can affect other people and aspects of ourselves. Even changes we think are fabulous have unintended consequences. We get our new car, but our camping gear doesn't fit in the boot. If there are objections, put them through the same process from step 2 - what is the positive intention etc.?
- Beck, A (1997). The past and the future of cognitive therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 6, 276-284.
- Lachman, M.E., Weaver, S.L., Bandura, M., Elliot, E. & Lewkowicz, C.J. (1992). Improving memory and control beliefs through cognitive restructuring and self-generated strategies. Journal of Gerontology, 47, P293-P299.
- Woolfson, L. (2003). Disabled children, parents and society: A need for cognitive reframing. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 11, 5
- Ray, R.D., Ochsner, K.N., Cooper, J.C., Robertson, E.R., Gabrieli, J.D.E. & Gross, J.J. (2005). Individual differences in trait rumination and the neural systems supporting cognitive reappraisal. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 156-168
- Louie, T.A. (1999). Decision makers’ hindsight bias after receiving favorable and unfavorable feedback. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 29-41