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Using Chair Work and The Four Dialogues in Schema Therapy: a Live Consultation Session 

by Eckhard Roediger and Scott Kellogg

General Overview 

It is my belief that the Four Dialogues is a paradigm that can guide us in the creation of more powerful and more effective Chairwork or mode dialogues. In this session, I will invite clinicians who are facing challenges or “stuck points” in treatment of adults in individual therapy settings to come and participate in a live demonstration of Chairwork using the Four Dialogues as an orienting paradigm. It is my hope that the session will show how this framework can bring clarity and healing even in difficult therapeutic situations.

I first fell in love with Chairwork during my Schema Therapy training in 2001. When I realized the amazing possibilities of this kind of experiential work, I began a deep study of all the different says that clinicians and theorists had envisioned and used Chairwork in their healing work. This led to the development of a Chairwork-Centered Schema Therapy practice (Kellogg, 2004) and, starting in 2008, and a training program that sought to bring the Art and Science of Chairwork to Schema Therapists throughout the world (Kellogg, 2014).

One of my goals has been to find or create a more elegant way of understanding and practicing dialogues. After wrestling with this for several years, I discovered the Four Dialogues in 2018 (Kellogg, July 2018, Schema Therapy Bulletin). The discovery of the Four Dialogues was significant because it provided a powerful and essentialist model for creating effective Chairwork dialogues. The Four Dialogues are: Giving Voice, Telling the Story, Internal Dialogues, and Relationships and Encounters.

Giving Voice – This is a one-chair structure that can be considered when patients say things like: “There is a deep grief within me.” The patient can then be invited to give voice to grief and to express their sorrow. With a patient who engages in cutting or other forms of self-harm, the therapist can say, “May I speak with the part of you that does the cutting?” Here, the goal is to not only interview a mode in order to better understand its goals, fears, and history, but also to invite it to speak with depth and emotion – which can be a healing experience in and of itself.

Telling the Story – Many patients come to therapy with the burden of stories – failure, trauma, regret, secrets. In this approach, the patient is invited to tell their story – and then tell their story again…and again. The impact of repetitive storytelling can be quite profound for those who are willing to “share the unshareable” in this way. Using Imagery Rescripting or a Chair-based Behavioral Replay, patients can then create an alternative narrative that can serve as a healing story which empowers the patient and provides new meaning. Internal Dialogues – The work with the Parts, Modes, or Selves will usually take one of three forms – the parts co-exist, the parts engage with each other, and moving to a Third Wave perspective, one part can witness the others. For example, when patients say such things as “I am of two minds about this situation.”, “I have a deep fear of elevators. I am afraid that I will be trapped in one and die there.”, or “I have this voice in my head that keeps telling me how bad I am.”, these kinds of dialogues may be relevant and useful.

Relationships and Encounters – These are dialogues that allow and invite patients to express their emotions to an imagined other, be it love, anger, fear, or grief. This kind of Chairwork may be called for when a patient says, This approach can be considered when patients say things like: “I know that it has been three years, but I am still grieving the death of my mother.”, “My father was very cruel to all of us when I was growing up. I am still very angry about that.” Or “My sister is just impossible. I feel responsible for her, but she is driving me crazy.”

These four structures may be used separate but are more often used in various combinations.

Dr. Eckhard Roediger will share his reflections on each of the demonstrations.

About the Presenters:

Eckhard Roediger:

coming soon

Scott Kellogg:

Dr. Scott Kellogg is an ISST-certified Advanced Schema Therapist who has also received training in both Gestalt Therapy and Voice Dialogue.  He created the Transformational Chairwork approach in 2008 and he currently teaching this method of psychotherapeutic dialogue to clinicians in both the United States and abroad.  Dr. Kellogg is in private practice in New York City.

Dr. Kellogg has served on the faculties of New York University, The Rockefeller University, and the Yale University School of Medicine.  He is the also the Past-President of the Division on Addictions of the New York State Psychological Association.

Dr. Kellogg is the author of Transformational Chairwork: Using Psychotherapeutic Dialogues in Clinical Practice (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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