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Chapter 8 - Intervention Strategies for Schema Healing 3

Experiential Techniques

from Part II - The Model of Schema Therapy in Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2023

Robert N. Brockman
Australian Catholic University
Susan Simpson
NHS Forth Valley and University of South Australia
Christopher Hayes
Schema Therapy Institute Australia
Remco van der Wijngaart
International Society of Schema Therapy
Matthew Smout
University of South Australia
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Experiential techniques are central to schema therapy. Moreover, they can be synergetic to changes within cognitive or behavioural domains, or within the therapy relationship. Nonetheless, they are often challenging and are omitted from the schema therapy treatment. Typically, experiential work comes in the form of chairwork or imagery-based interventions or ‘dialogues’. Imagery Rescripting is a powerful experiential method and a central change mechanism in schema therapy; it aims to change the legacy of childhood experiences, images, and memories linked to schema and mode development; rescripting results in the formation of new adaptive meanings and access to feelings and insights. In contrast, a chairwork technique is highly suitable within a schema therapy context, enhancing schema mode work. First, chairwork can result in a more distinct and clear illustration to the client of mode interplay. Second, it allows the client to take the ‘perspective’ of the mode and make dysfunctional modes and schemas as ego-dystonic and defused. Often emotional techniques are avoided by therapists learning the schema therapy model, typically related to confidence in interventions and making things ‘worse’ for the client. It is essential for the schema therapist to learn to utilise emotion-focused work to be helpful for the client.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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