In my work as a child psychologist, I often turn to the skill of "cognitive reframing" to teach kids and their parents a more positive way of thinking about situations, relationships and even their own characteristics as a way to cope with their feelings. Reframing can be a catalyst for change in that when people think about something from a more positive angle, that thinking produces a sense of hope and empowerment.
For example, many of my new clients have "meltdowns", rages that take over the family on a regular basis, often seeming to come out of nowhere. This in turn causes them to develop a view of themselves as "bad" kids, even though they hate having the meltdowns. The parents, tired of walking on eggshells all of the time, are usually frustrated and angry at the child, and see the child as manipulative, unappreciative and "always ruining everything". I give these parents a simple homework assignment, the book that changed the way I do therapy with these kids: The Explosive Child. It is the only approach I have found that really and truly works to eliminate meltdowns.
What Dr. Greene has done is to reframe meltdowns and help parents and kids see that the meltdowns are not merely tantrums (which are a different kind of behavior), but that meltdowns are the result of stress that the child doesn't have the skills to recognize or manage. Once the parents understand that the child isn't doing this deliberately, lightbulbs go off, the parents can reframe the situation and are mentally and emotionally prepared to attack the problem in a more effective way. The child is motivated because they too reframe the situation and see themselves differently so are usually willing to try more appropriate behaviors to solve problems.
It's a brilliant approach that produces meaningful changes in a somewhat short period of time. It is some of the most satisfying therapy that I do, and it all starts with reframing the situation. (Now if anyone reading this has a meltdown child, please do not ask me to answer specific questions because, by law, I can't give direct advice to non-clients. But I would strongly encourage you to get this book and find a therapist who is familiar with it to help you put the plan into action.)
This is just one small example of the power of reframing. Over the years, I have learned to reframe many challenging situations and how I was responding to others, but still don't always do this when it comes to myself. Instead, I get stuck on something I am doing (or not doing) and then beat myself up mentally. I have been doing this lately when it comes to my knitting, because, as indicated in my last post, there has been waaaaay too much frogging going on and when actual knitting proceeds, it is often full of mistakes.
Since the last post, I cast on for the Baby Surprise jacket twice, frogged both attempts and then gave up (and yes, a little meltdown may have occured). With apologies to those EZ fans who may be reading this, if Ms. Zimmerman wasn't dead, the feds should have sent her to Guantanamo to torture the suspected terrorists - make them try to knit this devil of a tiny sweater and they would all have been spilling their secrets and crying for their mamas. The only "surprise" is that people can actually translate her "instructions" and finish the little evil piece of fluff. (I actually admire EZ - she knits the way I cook). Although the instructions for the Baby Albert and the Mason-Dixon baby kimono are more clear and straightforward, anything that requires me to keep track of left/right/back/front and do something different from straight garter stitch gets my brain as tangled as the yarn gets when I am ripping out vast rows of the stuff and not winding as I go! It took me four additional tries to get something as simple as a K2tog, yo buttonhole to turn out on the right side, right edge (technically the left edge of the right side of the coat). And lets just pretend the 7 (!!!*$%^@%!&^) episodes of ripping back the sleeves/left (or is it the right?) neckline of the kimono never really happened.
So as I sat down night after night this week to try and find even a small success with my attempts to branch out beyond simpleton scarves, I got deeper and deeper into the belief that I am too addled/distractible/stupid/incompetent/etc.etc.etc. to be a knitter. I was ready to quit. But then I found RandomRanter's blog and read about her recent misadventures with the Mystery Stole 3. What??? I'm not the only knitter who has to frog something a kazillion times? As reassuring as that felt, even better was the way she very cleverly reframed the problem for me. And a lightbulb went off. And once I changed my thinking from Frequent-Frogger-Slow-Bee to "One Who Decides To Put An Original Flair In The Design", I picked up the needles and lookee here:
Do not underestimate the power of the reframe.