behavior or the resistance that interferes with your desired
Work out a way of communicating with the responsible part,
preferably using words but if that isn't possible, bodily signals,
like movement of a finger, in response to questions will work.
Be kind, patient and respectful to the part, assume that the
part has some positive intention. Make a distinction between
the behavior, which may be harmful to you, and the intention
of the responsible part.
Ask the part what it is trying to do for you. This is the crucial
step in reframing. Once the intention is known, ask the part if it
would consider achieving its purpose in some other ways. It
might be obvious how to achieve this purpose in a better way.
If solutions are not easy to come by, ask the part to use its
creativity (or to seek help from a creative part of your
personality) and come up with alternative ways of achieving its
When alternatives have been thought of, including continuing to
do what you have been, ask the responsible part, the conscious
self, and other parts of your personality to agree upon the most
acceptable way to cope. Make sure no part objects. The idea is
to minimize the resistance from all the parts and maximize the
Help the part responsible for the to-be-changed-behavior to
plan the desired changes--it must be in full agreement.
Establish times and places for the new behavior (have
environmental or cognitive "signals" to prompt the new
behavior or feelings), and mentally rehearse putting the plan
into action. Then, do it!
Examples: the jealous person may start giving fun-loving attention
to his/her lover instead of suspicious, controlling, critical nagging; the
over-eater may substitute self-praise for food; the angry person may
substitute assertive problem-solving for bitterness, etc.
Let the body talk (Focusing)
To understand this method, called focusing, you must first
recognize that it involves another way of knowing. Like Gestalt
therapy, this method avoids reasoning and using the mind to figure
things out. But unlike Gestalt, this method also avoids "getting in
touch with feelings" and expressing intense emotions. So what does
this method use? Body sense or "wisdom of the body" or what Eugene
Gendlin (1978), inventor of the method, calls "felt sense." The method
involves focusing on the "felt sense." His new book for therapists will
soon be published (Gendlin, 1996), but a student of his has also
written a self-help book about focusing (Cornell, 1996).
"Felt sense" is not well understood or identified in our culture.
That's why Gendlin coined a new word for it. Let's get a feel for this
extra-sense. Actually, you already know this feeling well in some
situations. "Felt sense" is a special kind of internal, natural, bodily-felt