Help your younger cope with something he or she couldn’t handle earlier, then stride back to the seat and watch the movie change. Play the same scene in your head, but this time watch as your younger self handles the same situation with utter confidence. When you have done that, you should walk back to the screen and congratulate your younger self, give him or her a hug for breaking free of the phobia or trauma or fear. Then pull that younger self back inside of you, knowing he or she is more resourceful than ever before and an important part of your life. Do this with several other phobias you have. Then do the same thing for someone else.
This can be an incredibly powerful experience. Mr.H is able to take people with terrible lifelong phobias and free them of their fears, many times in a matter of minutes. Why does this work? because to go into a phobic state requires specific internal representation. If you change those representations, you will change the state that person creates when he thinks of that experience.
For some people a number of these exercises involve a level of mental discipline and imaginative power they may not previously have accessed. As a result several of the mental strategies you may feel awkward at first, your brain can operate in these ways, and if you work carefully on these strategies, you will more adept all the time.
One important thing to remember about reframing is that all human behaviors have a purpose in some context. If you smoke, you don’t do it because you like to put carcinogens into your lungs. You do it because smoking makes you feel relaxed or more comfortable in certain social situations. You adopted this behavior to create some gain for yourself. So in some cases you may find it impossible to reframe the behavior without confronting the underlying need that the behavior fulfills. This is a problem that sometimes comes up when people try electroshock therapy to cure their smoking. Perhaps they might be shocked into something just as bad, like feeling anxious all the time or overeating. I’m not saying this approach is bad. I’m simply saying it’s useful for us to discover the unconscious intent so that we can fill that need more elegantly.
All human behavior is adaptive in one way or another. It’s designed to fill a need. It’s no problem to make people hate smoking. But make sure that they are created for them new behavioral choices that will fill their needs without negative side effects, such as those created by smoking. If smoking made them feel relaxed, confident, or centered, they need to come up with a more elegant behavior that will fulfill the same need.
A six step reframing process was designed by experts in the field for changing any undesirable behavior you may have into desirable behavior, while maintaining the important benefits that the old behavior used to provide:
1) Identify the pattern or behavior you wish to change
2) Establish communication with the part of your unconscious mind that generates the behavior. Go inside and ask the following question of yourself, remaining alertly passive to detect and report any changes in body sensations, visual images, or sounds that occur as a response to your questions. The question is, Will the part of me that generates behavior X be willing to communicate with me in consciousness?
Now ask that part, we’ll call it part X, to intensify that signal when it wants to communicate yes, and to diminish it when it wants to communicate no. Now test the responses by asking the party to communicate yes and then no so that you can distinguish between the two responses.
3) Separate intention from behavior: Thank the part for its willingness to cooperate with you. Now ask it if it would be willing to let you know what it’s been trying to do for generating behavior X. As you ask that question, once again be alert to detect a yes or no response. Take note of what benefits this behavior has provided for you in the past and then thank that part of you for maintaining these important benefits for you.
4) Creating alternative behaviors to satisfy intention: Now go inside and contact the most creative part of you and ask it to generate three alternative behaviors that are just as good as or better than behaviors X for satisfying the intention of the part we’ve been communicating with. Have your creative part signal you with a yes signal when it has generated the three new behaviors. Now ask the creative part if it would be willing a reveal to you the three new behaviors are.
5) Have part X accept the new choices and the responsibility for generating them when needed. Now ask part X if the three new behaviors are at last s effective as behavior X. Now ask part X if it’s to accept responsibility for generating the new behaviors in appropriate situations its intention needs to be fulfilled.
6) Make an ecological check: Now go inside and ask if there are any parts that object to the negotiations that have just taken place or if all parts agree to support you. Then step into the future and imagine a situation that would have triggered the old behavior, and experience using one of your new choices and still achieving benefits you desire. Step into another situation in the future that would have been a trigger to the undesirable behavior, and experience using another one of your new choices.