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Schema Therapy Bulletin June 2017: How to work with difficult modes

12 Jul 2017 3:00 PM | Travis Atkinson (Administrator)
<<First Name>>, read the latest Schema Therapy Bulletin, exclusively available to active ISST members enrolled on the website. Not yet enrolled? Tap: ENROLL 
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WORKING WITH STRONG COPING MODES IN SCHEMA THERAPY

We asked and you delivered! In the last issue of the Schema Therapy Bulletin we invited readers to submit articles about techniques you’ve been trying, ideas you’ve been thinking about, and clinical issues you’ve been dealing with. In response to your submissions, this issue will focus on Working With Difficult Modes.

In this issue Kerry Beckley writes about her work with the the Angry Protector Mode in a forensic setting, noting that in this setting, any sort of anger arouse the concern and anxiety of the staff. To the staff in these settings anger can be a warning, signalling a risk of the violent behavior that led to their confinement in a forensic setting. For the schema therapist the challenge is to navigate through the Angry Protector, while being conscious of avoiding triggering compensatory modes, or personal danger to reach the Vulnerable Child.

In “Behind the Pleasure: Working with the Self-Soother Mode,” Sergio Hernandez focuses on treating addiction with schema therapy. Addictions are seen as evasive coping styles in which the Self-Soother or Self-Stimulating Modes are activated, to avoid discomfort. Patients are helped to identify their “start up” modes, understand the origins of these modes and how these modes are like to current problems or symptoms, access the vulnerable child mode through imagery, and strengthen the healthy adult to parent the vulnerable child and get needs met in healthy ways. Hernandez describes the way schema therapy is used to work with the self-soother mode and ultimately other modes to empower addicts to self regulate their consumption, and seek new, healthier and more pleasurable activities and coping strategies. He also describes the role of group therapy in the treatment of the Self-Soother Mode. 

Susan Simpson describes her work using Schema Therapy mode work with the Over controller Mode, an overcompensating mode that creates distance from vulnerable feelings through the cultivation of a sense of “being on top of,” or “in control.” Susan specifically writes about the Perfectionist Over-controller, the Scolding Over-controller, the Suspicious Over-controller and the Invincible Over-controller, acknowledging that this mode presents significant challenges because it feels syntonic with the “self,” and so has difficulty recognizing or acknowledging other modes.

Odette Brand-de Wilde and Maria Rocher also write about “Handling Overcompensating Modes.” They describe how clients experience a sense of control, power and accomplishment when in overcompensating modes which creates a therapeutic challenge when the therapist needs to help the patient to surrender these modes and the feelings of strength they elicit, to find other, healthier ways to cope with underlying schemas. The authors offer guidelines for therapists to promote the therapeutic alliance and provide safety to clients so that they can risk stepping out of these powerful feeling modes to allow for healing of the vulnerable child.

Co-Editors: Lissa Parsonnet, PhD, LCSW (USA) & 

Chris Hayes Clinical Psychologist (Australia) 

WORKING WITH THE OVER-CONTROLLER MODE 
BY DR. SUSAN SIMPSON (SCOTLAND)

The Over-controller (OC) is an overcompensatory coping mode designed to create as much distance as possible from feelings of vulnerability, through cultivating a sense of being ‘on top’ or ‘in control.’ This ‘distancing’ process takes place through a number of mechanisms, including perfectionism, obsessional rituals, rumination/overanalyzing, superstitious thinking and a focus on rules and regulations at the expense of health, happiness and human connection. 

READ MORE: THE OVER-CONTROLLER MODE
NAVIGATING THE ANGRY PROTECTOR MODE WITH FORENSIC CLIENTS 
BY KERRY BECKLEY (UK)

We think of the Angry Protector mode as a wall of anger the person uses to protect themselves from others who are seen as a threat. The person keeps others at a distance through varying forms of anger or hostility.  The function of the anger is quite different to that of the angry child or bully attack mode.  Ultimately, the mode just wants you to go away. 

READ MORE: THE ANGRY PROTECTOR MODE
HANDLING OVERCOMPENSATING MODES 
BY DR. ODETTE BRAND DE-WILDE & MARIA ROCHER (THE NETHERLANDS)

Clients who have developed overcompensating modes require a different approach from therapists in treatment. It’s very important that clients can trust a therapist not to judge them for having these modes and for a therapist to interact with these modes as part of limited reparenting. In this article we provide you with tools to handle overcompensating modes and hope to inspire to work with these challenging clients.

READ MORE: OVERCOMPENSATION MODES
"BEHIND THE PLEASURE" - WORKING WITH THE SELF-SOOTHER MODE
BY SERGIO ALEJANDRO MORALES HERNÁNDEZ

An addiction is conceived as a repetitive usage of any substance or a compulsive consequence behavior which modifies the internal system (neurochemical changes and neuronal activity) so that an immediate reinforcement takes place, but whose negative long-term effects are harmful or cause a significant deterioration in social development. From the Scheme Therapy approach, these addictive patterns are formed departing from the avoidance of early maladaptive schemes; the individual avoids cognitions, affections or behaviors, so that the scheme is not activated.

 

READ MORE: WORKING WITH THE SELF-SOOTHER MODE
The Schema Therapy Bulletin is available exclusively to active ISST members enrolled on the ISST website. Not yet enrolled? Tap: ENROLL

Copyright © 2017 International Society of Schema Therapy, All rights reserved.

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