Schema therapy

Helping clients with addiction or compulsive behaviour

Why do humans consume substances or engage in activities compulsively? There are many competing theories about this, but in schema therapy we are more interested in the function of the behaviour than the particular substance or activity our clients are compulsively pursuing. In my opinion, drinking a bottle of wine every night, spending three hours on Facebook or snorting lines of cocaine are all symptoms of deeper problems – they are ways to numb painful feelings or distract ourselves from them.

My thinking on this subject has been significantly enriched recently by coming across Dr Gabor Maté, a doctor working with drug addicts in Vancouver. His harrowing but brilliant book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, backs up the idea that drug addiction is always linked to trauma – it’s a way to escape unbearable or overwhelming thoughts, memories and emotions linked to a painful past. I see this again and again with my clients and I’m sure you do, too.

In schema therapy, we conceptualise the part of our clients that seeks numbness or distraction as the Detached Self-Soother mode. This ‘mode’ (a part of the personality, that has a distinct character and function for the client) helps them detach from uncomfortable feelings; this detaching is usually a conscious choice – ‘God I need a whisky after that day!’ – and the self that is soothed (or more accurately suppressed or numbed) we formulate as the Vulnerable Child mode.

This is the part of our clients (and us) that closely maps on to the inner child from other modalities. It is a young, vulnerable, emotional part that carries all of the wounding and unmet needs from childhood. The work of schema therapy – or any other approach – is to contact, care for and heal this part of our clients. When we do so, deep healing can take place – even with the most complex or seemingly impossible-to-help people and presentations.

If you would like to learn more about working with modes like the Detached Self-Soother and Vulnerable Child, come along to my workshop on 21st June 2019, Working with Modes: Embracing Complexity and Achieving Integration. I hope to see you there!

And if you would like to know more about any of my Schema Therapy Skills workshops, call me on 07766 704210, email info@schematherapyskills.com or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Introduction to Schema Therapy - new one-day workshop

Would you like to know more about schema therapy? Or how to incorporate key concepts and techniques from this highly effective approach into your practice? If so, my new one-day workshop – Introduction to Schema Therapy – will be a good fit for you, whichever modality you work in, whether that’s CBT, person-centred, integrative or psychodynamic therapy.

On this workshop you will learn:

  • Why schema therapy’s transdiagnostic approach helps you see beyond narrow diagnoses or clusters of symptoms to embrace the full uniqueness and complexity of the people who seek your help

  • How the integrative nature of schema therapy allows you to ‘plug in’ a wide range of theoretical approaches, techniques and ways of working to virtually every therapy modality currently on offer

  • How to assess your clients’ (and your own) schemas using the Young Schema Questionnaire, the gold-standard measure for the 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas

  • How to understand and formulate your client’s modes, as well as how to draw up a ‘mode map’

  • Why ‘experiential techniques’ such as imagery and chair work are so crucial in schema therapy and how to incorporate these powerful techniques into your practice, whichever modality you work in

  • How to work relationally in order to repair therapeutic ruptures, or overcome common obstacles and resistance from clients

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 1st July 2019 

If you would like to know more about this or any other workshop, call Dan Roberts on 07766 704210 or use my contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Defectiveness: the 'I'm not good enough' schema

How many times have your clients told you they were rubbish, useless, a failure or just not good enough in some fundamental way? If the people you work with are anything like the ones who visit my consulting room, I’m guessing the answer is very often. This kind of thinking is, clearly, extremely unhelpful for our clients – and can lead to low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and many other psychological and life-limiting problems.

In schema therapy, we see one or more schemas at the root of these problems, particularly Defectiveness/Shame, which is perhaps the most common schema in our clients. This might form in early childhood, for example if we have parents who tell us we’re slow, or stupid, or a bit too chubby. We might get bullied by our siblings, or find it hard to measure up to them, especially if we’re the youngest. Or the schema might develop at school, if we have (especially undiagnosed) dyslexia, struggle with one or more subjects, or find it hard to make friends.

As children, we might start to think ‘Maybe I am a bit stupid,’ or ‘Why can’t I keep up with the other kids? Maybe it’s true - I am clumsy and useless at sports.’ These thoughts begin to coalesce into deeply held beliefs – the cognitive layer of a schema. We probably feel our confidence sinking through the floor, or a deep sense of shame at our perceived failings – this is the emotional part of the schema. And we feel those emotions in our bodies – shame can feel like a horrible prickling sensation in the skin, nausea or tightness in the throat. And this is the physiological part of the schema.

What then happens is that, as we get older, this psychological construct gets triggered by people, situations or events that remind us of the stressful events from our childhood. We fail our driving test and suddenly our Defectiveness schema gets triggered and we are gripped by intense feelings of worthlessness and shame, which are completely disproportionate to the situation (we could just take another test – it’s not such a big deal). This is how schemas operate, which is what makes them so painful and the root cause of every psychological problem your clients present with.

Schemas can be healed

The good news is that, although they are stubborn and hard to change, schemas can be healed. Using techniques like imagery and chair work, or the attachment-based relational approaches that make up ‘limited reparenting’, we can slowly but surely start to challenge and modify the schema. We might help to modify some of those unhelpful beliefs about being stupid or useless; work on the maladaptive modes that keep them behaving in self-destructive or self-limiting ways; help the client focus on and enjoy their successes, which they probably discount or ignore; keep pointing out their strengths and the things we especially like about them, to meet those parenting needs that were not met for them as children.

Using these techniques and ways of understanding a client’s problems, schema therapy offers a powerful, effective and deeply compassionate way of helping even the most hard-to-treat problems and presentations.

If you would like to know more come along to one of my upcoming Schema Therapy Skills workshops below. You can also call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Upcoming Schema Therapy Skills workshops:

WORKING WITH IMAGERY: POWERFUL, TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES TO ENHANCE YOUR CLINICAL PRACTICE

In schema therapy, there is a strong emphasis on using experiential techniques such as imagery rescripting and chair work, which are seen as more effective and transformative than just talking about problems from the client’s past and present. This one-day workshop will teach you how imagery techniques can help rescript even the most traumatic experiences from your client’s childhood, such as incidences of abuse or neglect.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 31st May 2019

WORKING WITH MODES: EMBRACING COMPLEXITY & ACHIEVING INTEGRATION

This one-day course will explain the concept of ‘modes’, which are different aspects of our personality that are activated in different situations and by particular triggers. In addition to a brief overview of the theory of schema therapy and schemas/modes, you will learn how to assess and formulate your clients’ modes, as well as specific techniques such as imagery and chair work for working with key modes.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 21st June 2019

Overcoming fears and resistance in psychotherapy

One of the great contradictions of working with people who are suffering is that, of course, they want to stop suffering – that is why they come to see you in the first place and generally keep coming, week after week, hoping for change. But sometimes those same people seem to do everything in their power to resist actually changing. They might not do their homework, instead expecting you to provide some kind of therapeutic magic in a single hour a week. They may say, ‘I know you’re right, but…’ over and over. Or they may resist the change process in countless subtle ways, which are hard to detect without a keen eye on the transference and what’s actually happening in the room.

In schema therapy terms, we could say there is at least one part of them, the Healthy Adult mode, that very much wants change. This is the mode that brings them to therapy in the first place, even if they are scared, mistrustful or sceptical that you can actually make a difference after a lifetime of suffering. And this is the mode we want to work with, encourage and build throughout therapy – I often use the metaphor of a weak muscle that needs training to become stronger and more powerful in the person’s life.

But of course there is often at least one part (and often more, especially with complex cases) of them that absolutely does not want to change. In mode terms, this is commonly the Detached Protector, which tries to protect them by avoiding strong emotions, upsetting material, or intimate connections with other people. Detached Protectors keep people in their heads, where it’s safe, or make sure relationships are superficial and so non-threatening. Clearly, this part is not overly fond of the emotionally intense and relationally intimate process of long-term therapy…

And of course we want to help reduce the impact of this mode, in our clients’ lives and especially in the therapeutic process, because it blocks progress. But it’s crucial that we also respect the resistance, because this is a protector mode – it is blocking change for a reason. Perhaps the person finds their emotions overwhelming, so has learned to avoid or minimise them to feel safe. They may have had strong messages as a child that being rational was good and emotional bad or a sign of weakness.

The uncomfortable comfort zone

Some people fear that if they risk change, things might get even worse. Better to stay in what I call the ‘uncomfortable comfort one’ – it’s not very pleasant, but it is familiar and therefore safe. So we never want to push our clients to change, or rush them. Real change takes time, patience, encouragement, understanding. We can work with the modes that are blocking change in all sorts of ways – using imagery or chair work, for example.

But we need to work hard to help our clients’ Vulnerable Child feel safe first, which in real terms means lots of attunement, kindness, saying the right things and, more importantly, behaving in trustworthy ways. And then change, slowly and miraculously, occurs.

If you would like to know more about overcoming your client’s fears and resistance, come along to any of the workshops below. And if you have any questions about my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Upcoming Schema Therapy Skills workshops include:

WORKING WITH IMAGERY: POWERFUL, TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES TO ENHANCE YOUR CLINICAL PRACTICE

In schema therapy, there is a strong emphasis on using experiential techniques such as imagery rescripting and chair work, which are seen as more effective and transformative than just talking about problems from the client’s past and present. This one-day workshop will teach you how imagery techniques can help rescript even the most traumatic experiences from your client’s childhood, such as incidences of abuse or neglect.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 31st May 2019

WORKING WITH MODES: EMBRACING COMPLEXITY & ACHIEVING INTEGRATION

This one-day course will explain the concept of ‘modes’, which are different aspects of our personality that are activated in different situations and by particular triggers. In addition to a brief overview of the theory of schema therapy and schemas/modes, you will learn how to assess and formulate your clients’ modes, as well as specific techniques such as imagery and chair work for working with key modes.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 21st June 2019

Helping people overcome jealousy, insecurity and fear of abandonment

Many of our clients show up with deep-rooted fears and sensitivities around being rejected or abandoned. In some ways, that’s a normal aspect of being a human being – fear of rejection is hard-wired into our brain, because for most of human history being rejected from the group was, literally, a matter of survival. Finding yourself alone, outside the village stockade, surrounded by hungry animals and hostile tribes, was not a good place to be.

So we are all sensitive to signs of rejection by friends/colleagues/family, or worries about our partner being unfaithful or leaving us. But for some clients, this sensitivity dominates their lives. These people probably have an Abandonment/Instability schema – one of the most painful schemas we can have, which can start to imprint in our brain from birth onwards. And this makes it especially overwhelming when it gets triggered in later life – because the emotions and bodily sensations we feel might be pre-verbal, pre-cognitive and those of an infant; hugely powerful and utterly overwhelming.

For example, Sonya comes to see me because she is having problems in her relationship. ‘Every time I think my boyfriend is going off me – even a tiny bit – I just freak out and start bombarding him with texts because I feel so anxious. I can’t bear it.’ When we start to explore her history, Sonya tells me that her mother was an alcoholic, so even though she did not physically abandon the family, she was often drunk and emotionally unavailable for Sonya and her siblings. This speaks to part two of the schema: Instability. Even though Sonya was not actually abandoned, the attachment to her mother was not stable or secure, so she felt abandoned on a daily basis.

Stephen’s case is easier to understand. When he was five his father – who he adored – suddenly left his mother and started a new family. Virtually overnight his dad went from an attachment figure that Stephen loved and relied on to being completely absent from his life. This clearly was an abandonment, so Stephen’s schema developed then. He now gets fiercely jealous if his wife even speaks to other men – because his schema gets triggered and he is overwhelmed by a wave of jealousy, fear and insecurity.

Healing the core wound

In schema therapy, we work on the Abandonment schema like every other – with a combination of experiential techniques (especially imagery and chair work) and ‘limited reparenting’, where we try to meet Sonya and Stephen’s core needs that did not get met in childhood. For both people, the biggest need I would be striving to meet would be love and a secure attachment – to me, primarily, but later to other friends, partners and family members. This takes time, but magically we can heal even the deepest, most painful schemas – and help people like this feel calmer, happier and more secure.

If you would like to know more about healing schemas and modes, come along to my one-day workshop, Working with Modes: Embracing Complexity & Achieving Integration, or for a more comprehensive training you might prefer my two-day workshop, Introduction to Schema Therapy.

And if you would like to know more about any of my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Healing the Vulnerable Child mode

Schema therapy was initially developed by Jeffrey Young in the 1980s, focusing on a client’s core schema, such as Abandonment or Defectiveness. But as the model became more sophisticated, the focus increasingly turned to working with ‘modes’ – different aspects of a person’s personality that can show up as distinct entities. This is a similar concept to self-states, parts or sub-personalities in other modalities. Everyone has modes – and probably hundreds of different modes – but there are a few archetypal modes that everyone has. And the most important of these is the Vulnerable Child.

Using a Mode Map

One way to explain this to clients is to draw up a Mode Map, with five or six modes drawn as circles and given idiosyncratic names. Typically these include the Critic, Healthy Adult and ‘coping modes’ such as the Detached Protector or Self-Aggrandiser (common in narcissistic presentations). When drawing up this map I always leave the biggest circle for the Vulnerable Child, which we call ‘Little X’ (so mine is Little Dan). I explain this part to my clients like this:

‘This is the part of you that feels all of the strong emotions, like anxiety, hurt, jealousy or loneliness. It’s like an inner child that gets triggered when you feel stressed, hurt or threatened – and in those moments you feel these overwhelming emotions, like a child feels them. So this is why you feel small and powerless when your boss is shouting at you, because this young, vulnerable, sensitive part of you has been triggered and you feel like you’re six years old again, unable to defend yourself against your angry dad.’

CONTACTING the Vulnerable Child

I also explain that this is the part we want to heal, as it holds all of a client’s painful schemas and emotions. And I ask people to bring a photo of themselves when they were young, so we know exactly what Little Jane or Robert looks like. When we are doing imagery rescripting, I am directly contacting the Vulnerable Child, which is held in a person’s memory as they recall and re-experience an upsetting or traumatic incident from childhood.

I find some people just get this concept and love it, while others struggle with it. But over time everyone seems to relate to it and start saying things like, ‘Little Gina got really triggered at the weekend, because I felt left out by friends planning a trip,’ or ‘Little Tom was super-anxious before I made my speech, so I did a lot of calming him down and felt much better.’

Conceptualising people’s vulnerability, or painful emotions in this way can be incredibly powerful. It gives a voice to the part of them that they may have been ashamed of, or a dissociated part that they weren’t even aware of. It’s one of the signature ways of working that makes schema therapy such a warm, compassionate approach and means we can hold and help with even the most complex, hard-to-treat presentations.

If you would like to know more about working with your clients’ Vulnerable Child mode, come along to my one-day workshop, Working with Modes: Embracing Complexity & Achieving Integration.

And if you would like to know more about any of my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Transforming the Critic mode: from self-attack to self-compassion

When I practised as a CBT therapist (before training in schema therapy), one of the things that stumped me was clients who were highly self-critical. I had some success with these clients, but if I’m honest, it always bugged me that I couldn’t help them more. That is one of the many reasons I love schema therapy, because it offers a highly effective set of strategies for helping people be less self-critical and more accepting of and compassionate to themselves.

One reason ST is so good at combatting self-criticism is because of the mode model. This allows us to separate out different aspects of a client’s inner world and then work with them directly. One of the most common modes we call the Critic, which is usually divided into two parts. The Demanding Parent is the part of us that just pushes way too hard – it sends us messages (as self-critical thoughts) that we are not good enough, too lazy, resting on our laurels, not keeping up with our peers… It’s well-intentioned, but the pressure it exerts is way too much – leading us to feel stressed, pressurised, exhausted and eventually burning out.

The other maladaptive parent mode is the Punitive Parent. This may be an introject (internalised messages) from a very harsh, cruel or hurtful parent or other caregiver. Or we may just have started being mean to ourselves, for a whole host of reasons, when we were a child – over time, these hurtful messages coalesced into a well-defined part of us that says things like, ‘You’re fat/stupid/ugly/worthless/unlovable.’ And, unsurprisingly, those message make us feel awful – in schema therapy terms, our Vulnerable Child gets triggered and we feel anxious, panicky, stressed, depressed, self-loathing, lacking in self-worth or even suicidal.

This is clearly much more toxic and harmful than the Demanding Parent, so we may need to take a firmer, more vigorous approach to combatting it. But it’s important to remember that, with any kind of Critic or maladaptive parent mode, we are not looking to fight or get rid of it – we couldn’t even if we tried, because it’s part of our client. Instead, we need to transform it, first helping the person feel sufficiently safe and protected (that Vulnerable Child mode again), before negotiating with and persuading the Critic to be more constructive, encouraging and generally helpful. I often suggest that the Critic becomes more like a teacher, or coach – offering advice and suggestions but in a calm, helpful way, which seems to work really well.

If you would like to know more about how to help your clients with self-criticism or self-attack, come along to one of the upcoming workshops below, or my one-day workshop – Transforming the Critic: Working with Self-Dislike, Punitiveness & Perfectionism.

And if you would like to know more about any of my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Upcoming Schema Therapy Skills workshops include:

WORKING WITH IMAGERY: POWERFUL, TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES TO ENHANCE YOUR CLINICAL PRACTICE

In schema therapy, there is a strong emphasis on using experiential techniques such as imagery rescripting and chair work, which are seen as more effective and transformative than just talking about problems from the client’s past and present. This one-day workshop will teach you how imagery techniques can help rescript even the most traumatic experiences from your client’s childhood, such as incidences of abuse or neglect.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 31st May 2019

WORKING WITH MODES: EMBRACING COMPLEXITY & ACHIEVING INTEGRATION

This one-day course will explain the concept of ‘modes’, which are different aspects of our personality that are activated in different situations and by particular triggers. In addition to a brief overview of the theory of schema therapy and schemas/modes, you will learn how to assess and formulate your clients’ modes, as well as specific techniques such as imagery and chair work for working with key modes.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 21st June 2019

Hardwiring Positive Experiences & Emotions in the Brain

One of my favourite techniques to use with clients is psychologist Rick Hanson’s neuroscience-based approach to ‘hardwiring’ positive experiences and emotions. As he explains in his excellent book, Hardwiring Happiness: the New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, the human brain is designed with an in-built negativity bias. This means that our attention is directed towards negative thoughts, feelings and experiences such as failing at an exam, being rejected for a job or left by a partner.

Human brains were built over millions of years of evolution, which were mostly spent in environments of extreme threat – wild animals trying to eat us, other tribes wanting to bash us over the head with clubs, poisonous snakes and spiders underfoot, simple injuries and diseases meaning certain death because we lacked effective medicine… So our threat system became the dominant system in the brain – and consequently 21st-century humans pay a great deal of attention to anything that could be threatening, hurtful or upsetting.

To an extent, this is how schemas work – affecting our information-processing systems, memory, attention, and so on to make us focus excessively on negative or upsetting things. I see this all the time in my practice – and I’m sure you do too. Someone comes in talking at great length and in fine-grained detail about some incident where they felt someone rejected them; or a time when they messed up at work and felt terrible about it. As well as giving plenty of space for that (which is, after all, what therapy is mostly about!) I always get people to make the most of positive experiences too.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say James tells me about getting a Distinction for an assignment on his Master’s. He then quickly whizzes on to the next thing, an upsetting story about his brother. I get him to pause, slow down, and tell me more about getting the news about his Distinction – I often use imagery to get him to relive the experience, closing his eyes and describing where he is, what he’s thinking when he reads the email and, most importantly, how he feels.

James tells me he feels happy and proud, so I ask him where he feels that in his body. James says in his chest and throat, so I get him to focus on those bodily sensations for one minute (anything from 10 seconds up works, but longer is better). After he does this, I get him to open his eyes and explain that we just hardwired those positive feelings to the memory – so now every time he thinks about it, he will feel happy and proud again.

Repetition is key

I just love this technique – and so do my clients. It feels great and is a really simple thing to give them for homework – just repeat, as often as possible, any time they have a positive experience. The more they do it, I explain, the more they are rewiring their brain to take more notice of and enjoy good experiences; and to be less sensitive to the bad ones. Over time, this creates feelings of calm, confidence, satisfaction, pride, self-compassion, and so on.

If you would like to know more about how schema therapy helps people rewire their brains, come along to one of my Schema Therapy Skills workshops. I hope to see you there!

And if you would like to find out more about my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

The magic of neuroplasticity – why childhood wounds can be healed

I spend a great deal of time teaching my clients about aspects of psychology that relate to them and their problems. In the early stages of therapy especially, there is a lot of psychoeducation – explaining about things like temperament, schemas and modes, the schema therapy model and how it will be able to help them, how their family dynamics impacted them as a child, what ‘core needs’ were not met in childhood, and so on.

Of course, during this pyschoeducation process we should always make things as clear and simple as possible. I remember attending a workshops with renowned cognitive therapist Helen Kennerley, who said, ‘As a cognitive therapist, things should be very complicated in your mind, but very simple for the client.’ Meaning, as therapists we have to hold a great deal of complexity in our minds – one or more therapy models, all the key details of our client’s history and our work together, what is occurring in the room at that moment, what we will do or say next – but what we tell the client should be, as far as possible, simple and jargon-free.

One of the key concepts I always explain to my schema therapy clients is ‘neuroplasticity’ (I know, I have broken my no-jargon rule already! But it’s an important term). That’s because I spend a great deal of time exploring their family history, all the upsetting or traumatic stuff that happened to them to create their painful schemas and maladaptive modes, how these psychological constructs work and affect them day to day... Honestly, after a while it all feels a bit hopeless and depressing, which is why I love neuroplasticity.

The ever-changing brain

I explain that psychologists used to think that our brains grew rapidly in the third trimester of pregnancy and first year of life (which is when the brain does grow at an astronomical rate), then throughout childhood and into adolescence; then, basically, you were done – that was your brain formed for life. But then they realised that was completely wrong! Neuroplasticity means that we have a plastic, or clay-like brain, which is being moulded and changed every single day of our lives.

I often tell them that, if they learned to tango aged 87, their brain would have to grow new ‘tango neurons’ to store that information. They would literally be growing new brain tissue and shaping their brain, even in their eighties. So none of the impact of traumatic stuff that has happened to them, including the schemas that then formed, is fixed or set in any way. It’s not easy to change, of course, but it it is eminently doable.

The power of hope

Now we have hope – and hope is like gold dust in therapy. Clients start to believe they can change; that all this weird schema therapy stuff might just help them, even if other therapies haven’t; that maybe they don’t have to be cyclically depressed for the next 50 years, or overwhelmingly anxious every time they leave the house. And we both end the session feeling that little bit happier and more hopeful!

If you would like to learn more about neuroplasticity and the changing brain, come along to one of my Schema Therapy Skills workshops, including the upcoming ones below. I hope to see you there!

Warm wishes,

Dan

WORKING WITH IMAGERY: POWERFUL, TRANSFORMATIVE TECHNIQUES TO ENHANCE YOUR CLINICAL PRACTICE

In schema therapy, there is a strong emphasis on using experiential techniques such as imagery rescripting and chair work, which are seen as more effective and transformative than just talking about problems from the client’s past and present. This one-day workshop will teach you how imagery techniques can help rescript even the most traumatic experiences from your client’s childhood, such as incidences of abuse or neglect.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 31st May 2019

More details and how to book

WORKING WITH MODES: EMBRACING COMPLEXITY & ACHIEVING INTEGRATION

This one-day course will explain the concept of ‘modes’, which are different aspects of our personality that are activated in different situations and by particular triggers. In addition to a brief overview of the theory of schema therapy and schemas/modes, you will learn how to assess and formulate your clients’ modes, as well as specific techniques such as imagery and chair work for working with key modes.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 21st June 2019

More details and how to book

Working with Imagery workshop - 31st May 2019

The next Schema Therapy Skills workshop will take place at my office in East Finchley on 31st May 2019. My Working with Imagery: Powerful, Transformative Techniques to Enhance Your Clinical Practice workshop costs £180 for refreshments, all training materials and a certificate of attendance.

This one-day workshop will teach you:

  • An introduction to the theory and practice of schema therapy, as well as schemas and modes

  • How imagery techniques can help rescript even the most traumatic experiences from your client’s childhood, such as incidences of trauma, abuse or neglect. This provides healing to clients on the deepest (schema) level, which is often extremely moving and transformative for them

  • Using imagery such as the Safe Place and Safety Bubble to create feelings of trust and safety with you for even the most avoidant, anxious or mistrustful clients

  • Using imagery for ‘limited reparenting’ – one of schema therapy’s most important concepts and key to building a strong therapeutic relationship with your clients

  • How to use imagery to help your clients with present-day and future challenges

Through a combination of didactic teaching, small group work, discussion, video/live demonstrations and skills practice, you will gain confidence in using these powerful techniques to help your own clients, whichever setting or modality you work in. All of my Schema Therapy Skills workshops are taught to small groups (maximum six participants), which allows for plenty of time and space for questions, discussion or help with your most challenging problems and cases.

Cost: £180 including refreshments, all training materials and certificate of attendance confirming 6 CPD hours

Next date: 31st May 2019

If you would like more information about any of my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan

Why use imagery techniques with your clients?

In schema therapy, there is a strong focus on using ‘experiential’ techniques like imagery and chair work, rather than just talking about a client’s problems. That’s not to say that giving someone time and space to tell the story of their life or week is not important; just that talking alone is often not enough to provide healing at the deep, schema level at which ST aims to help people.

In my opinion, imagery techniques offer powerful and effective ways to help your clients with an almost limitless range of problems. For example, early on in the therapy process you can use imagery diagnostically, to ask your client to close their eyes and imagine themselves with a particular family member, in an upsetting situation from childhood, or just having dinner with the whole family.

Guiding them through this process and asking for details about who was there, what they said, how they reacted when your client (as a child) was upset can give you vital information about what went wrong for them as a child, their attachment history and style, relationships with their parents and other family members, and so much more.

Imagery rescripting is one of the signature ST techniques, which (like all imagery techniques) can be learned and used in your practice, whichever modality you work in. Rescripting involves a client re-experiencing an upsetting memory from childhood, visualising it as if they are there right now. At some point you, as therapist, can enter the image and intervene, protecting your client (as a child) from whatever is happening, confronting abusive or critical parents, comforting the child and helping them feel safe and cared for.

This is a hugely powerful and healing experience for clients – and it transforms the emotional content of that memory, ‘de-traumatising' it and slowly but surely helping them heal. Although these techniques are supported by an ever-expanding evidence base, in some ways there is something magical and mysterious about them. It can be a profound and moving experience for client and therapist alike…

If you would like to learn how to incorporate these hugely powerful techniques into your practice, come along to my Working with Imagery: Powerful, Transformative Techniques to Enhance Your Clinical Practice workshop. I hope to see you there!

Warm wishes,

Dan

Schema Therapy Skills workshops in North London

I am pleased to announce that I have launched a new venture, Schema Therapy Skills, and from May 2019 I will be teaching monthly one-day therapy-skills workshops from my office in East Finchley. My skills workshops will cover a range of subjects that will be interesting to and highly useful for fellow professionals – including trainee and experienced counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers and doctors – working in a wide range of settings and from many different modalities. I am keen to limit group sizes to a maximum of six, to offer an intimate, friendly environment in which there is ample space for questions, discussion, skills practice and input on therapeutic challenges or difficult cases.

The first one-day workshop, Working with Imagery: Powerful, Transformative Techniques to Enhance Your Clinical Practice, will be held on 31st May 2019 and cost £180 including refreshments, training materials and certificate of attendance. On this workshop you will learn how to use techniques such as imagery rescripting to transform the meaning and emotional content of upsetting memories from your client’s past. I will also explain the many ways in which imagery can be used diagnostically and to help people with present-day and future challenges.

UPCOMING workshops:

Working with Modes: Embracing Complexity & Achieving Integration, 21st June 2019 (£180)

Introduction to Schema Therapy, 1st July 2019 (£180)

Attachment & Limited Reparenting: the Healing Power of a Warm, Authentic Relationship, 27th September 2019 (£180)

Chair Work Techniques: Enhancing the Creativity & Emotional Impact of Your Practice, 25th October 2019 (£180)

Transforming the Critic: Working with Self-Dislike, Punitiveness & Perfectionism, 29th November 2019 (£180)

Working with Trauma & Complex Cases: A Schema Therapy-Informed Approach to Formulation & Treatment, 13th December 2019 (£180)

If you would like to find out more about my workshops, call me on 07766 704210 or use the contact form to get in touch.

Warm wishes,

Dan