Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Reframing in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Jessica NewsomeEmail author
  • Lauren Mitchell
  • Christiana I. Awosan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_325




Reframing is a widely used technique in the growing and evolving discipline of psychotherapy. Family and brief therapies, such as Strategic Family Therapy, utilize reframing to help clients view their problems from an alternate perspective, by labeling issues in ways that designate new, and often positive, meaning to the situations presented in therapy (Mattalia 2001). This new meaning is particularly useful for the purposes of psychotherapy, as new perspectives can evoke new possibilities for one’s experience and create space for the construction of new viable solutions that were otherwise invisible (Murphy and Dillon 2011). The process of proposing and adopting a new perspective is referred to as reframing, which has presented a staple technique in general counseling, taught among a variety of disciplines, and continues to be a tool to help induce therapeutic change. This chapter will explore the nuanced conceptualization and utilization of reframing...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Andreas, S. (1991). Virginia Satir. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  2. Berg, I. K. (1994). Family-based services: A solution-focused approach. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  3. Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., Hoffman, L., & Penn, P. (1987). Milan systemic family therapy: Conversation in theory and practice. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Fisch, R., Weakland, J., & Segal, L. (1982). Tactics of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  5. Flaskas, C. (1992). A reframe by any other name: On the process of reframing in strategic, Milan and analytic therapy. Journal of Family Therapy, 14, 145–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guise, R. W. (Ed.). (2015). Study guide for marriage and family therapy national licensing examination. Jamaica Plain: The Family Solutions Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. Hastie, R. (1981). Schematic principles in human memory. In E. T. Higgins, C. P. Herman, & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Social cognition: The Ontario symposium, volume 1 (pp. 39–88). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Jackson, D. D. (1961). Interactional psychotherapy. In M. T. Stein (Ed.), Contemporary psychotherapies. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.Google Scholar
  9. Madanes, C. (1982). Strategic family therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  10. Mattalia, A. (2001). “Seeing things in a new light”: Reframing in therapeutic conversation. In Rehabilitation foundation research report. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Minuchin, S., & Fishman, C. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Murphy, B. C., & Dillon, C. (2011). Interviewing in action in a multicultural world (4th ed.). Belmont: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  13. Pinsoff, W. M. (1995). Integrative problem-centered therapy: A synthesis of family, individual, and biological therapies. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. Rumelhart, D. E. (1984). Schemata and the cognitive system. In R. S. Wyer & T. K. Srull (Eds.), Handbook of social cognition (Vol. 1, pp. 161–188). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Selvini Palazzoli, M., Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., & Prata, G. (1974/1988). The treatment of children through brief therapy of their parents. In M. Selvini Palazzoli (Ed.), The work of Mara Selvini Palazzoli (pp. 121–135). London: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  16. Sprenkle, D. H., Davis, S. D., & Lebow, J. L. (2009). Common factors in couple and family therapy: The overlooked foundation for effective practice. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  18. White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. New York: Norton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Newsome
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lauren Mitchell
    • 1
  • Christiana I. Awosan
    • 1
  1. 1.Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA