My best friend finally started watching “Downton Abbey,” one of my long beloved dramatic, period TV shows! I have been watching some episodes along side of her to share in the enjoyment. One message British period dramas (books, shows, movies) drive home for me as a consumer is that the British of the past don’t like to show emotion or be confrontational. Because of this, the characters do a lot of reframing!
Most commonly, when DR practitioners think about ‘reframing’ we think of it as a way to summarize, paraphrase, and/or rephrase to provide a different perspective; to see things from another angle to help shift or help the conflict. I also believe we tailor our approach to reframing based on what we want to see happen next.
For example, in the season 2 finale of Downton Abbey, Lady Mary, one of the main characters, is having an argument with her fiance, Richard Carlisle. Richard is upset because he doesn’t like how Mary is speaking with her distant cousin (and…spoiler… guy she ends up kissing by the end of the episode!) Matthew Crawley. Matthew overhears Richard yelling at Mary while they are all out shooting birds for sport. Matthew leaves his ‘post’ and walks over to them to intervene. He says, “Is something the matter?” Mary takes beat, looks down, regains her composure, looks up again and replies, “Richard’s loader seems to have gotten lost. And this is one of the best drives. He’s missing all the fun.” Matthew states, “I see.” And that closes the argument and any further conversation.
In this example, you can see how Mary’s approach to reframing has a very clear intention. She didn’t want Matthew to know that the argument was about him and she wanted to put an end to any further discussion on it. So, her reframing technique made sure to meet both of her goals.
While we all know reframing to be another way of summarizing or paraphrasing to show a particular or different perspective, there are many different scenarios in which we use reframing - and our approach adjusts to those scenarios.
What scenarios lead you to use reframing as a way to meet your goals of what you think should happen next? Where do you see reframing in your favorite stories?
For more on how I break down my approaches to reframing, register for the FREE webinar, “Give Your Coaching a Boost with 5 Approaches to Reframing.”
Also, check out the new online course available now, “The Ombuds Field Guide,” which breaks down reframing as well as a number of different skills and techniques every ombuds should know when working with visitors 1:1. The cart for this course closes on February 24th!