Early maladaptive schemas (EMS) are built into structures within implicit memory, the non-verbal component of the autobiographical memory system (AMS). The better we understand the structure of the AMS and the dynamic processes that operate within it, the more effectively we can help clients change their EMSs. The identification of EMSs and prominent schema modes is an important first step towards understanding the features of clients’ AMS that are contributing to their current problems. However, as we work with schemas and modes using imagery, chairwork and rescripting techniques, we often encounter what I call the deep structure: a more complex pattern of parts of the self and their relationship to each other. Furthermore, information about the deep structure does not always present itself in a systematic manner but according to processes that reflect the way the AMS operates. Following the principles of emotion focused therapy, we can engage co-operatively with these processes to uncover the deep structure and achieve a more differentiated and accurate mapping. This better equips us to help clients resolve the conflicts embedded in it. It also allows us to enhance the impact of the basic techniques we learn in schema therapy, for example, by improving the timing of our implementing them, and adapting them to the complexities of the client’s underlying deep mode structure. These ideas, which will be linked to current theories of autobiographical memory, will be extensively illustrated by clinical examples including extended extracts from schema therapy sessions.
About the Presenter:
David Edwards lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where he runs a training program in schema therapy through the Schema Therapy Institute of South Africa. He is registered as a Clinical Psychologist in South Africa and the United Kingdom. He is currently President of the ISST. He trained in cognitive-behavioural, humanistic and transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy, and has a longstanding interest in psychotherapy integration. In the 1980s, he was fortunate to attend seminars with Jeffrey Young, the founder of schema therapy, and has followed the development of schema therapy since its beginnings. For over 25 years, he taught cognitive-behavioural therapy to trainee clinical and counselling psychologists at Rhodes University, and offered intensive workshops to students using expressive therapies including psychodrama, clay sculpture, drawing and dance. He retired from a full time academic position at Rhodes University at the end of 2009 but remains on contract as a researcher and supervisor.
He has over 100 academic publications in the form of journal articles and book chapters. The focus of many of these is trauma and complex trauma. Several of them are clinical case studies. He has published several papers on case study methodology and is one of the editors of the recently published Case studies within psychotherapy trials: Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods (Oxford University Press). He has also written articles and book chapters on the history and application of imagery methods in psychotherapy and is the author, with Michael Jacobs, of Conscious and unconscious in the series Core concepts in psychotherapy (McGraw Hill, 2003). The focus of his current work is on the phenomenology of schema modes and understanding the deep structure of modes. This is reflected in a recent pair of articles on modes in a case of anorexia nervosa.
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