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Schema Therapy with Culture in Mind: Gender Issues in Schema Therapy Clinical Work

by Offer Maurer & Nicole Manktelow


In Jeffrey Young's work on the origins of schemas and modes, he acknowledges the possibility of various etiological sources other than that of parents. In this Round Table discussion, we would like to elaborate on this idea and put our attention onto cultural gender concepts and their contribution to the formation of maladaptive schemas and modes.

Just as early experiences with parents and with peers form self-perceptions and interpersonal expectations, parents and peers teach children - both consciously and unconsciously - how to perceive gender: what does it mean in their culture to be a male or a female, gender non-binary or not subscribe to viewing the self as gendered at all. This socialization process inevitably entails many reinforcements for “correctly” acting in accordance with societal expectations and severe punishments for any divergence with the rules. In Schema Therapy we have a myriad of clinical strategies to reparent early learnings and to replace these with more adaptive ones. But just how much are we sensitized – having grown in the same old gender-oppressive culture as our clients – to even detect the effects of gender-based early discrimination? What are some of the most common gender-based discriminations we encounter in our work with women, men, and gender non-binary individuals? Can we see what is not necessarily visible to ourselves? And if we do see these effects of gender-based discrimination – what can we do about it in therapy? In other words, what are the best ways to reparent gender-based discrimination? What results may we expect?

In this Round Table discussion, we would like to raise many questions, suggest some directions, and mostly ignite what we believe may be a fruitful discussion of the insidious ways in which gender-based discrimination is hindering our clients’ well-being and what we can do about it in our clinical work.

About the Presenters:

Dr. Offer Maurer, Ph.D. 

Dr. Offer Maurer (Ph.D.) is a clinical psychologist, the founding director of 'The New Wave in Psychotherapy Program' at the Interdisciplinary Centre, Hertzliya. He is also the co-founder of the Israeli Institute for Schema Therapy and the Chairperson of the Israeli Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he is also the founding director of the 'Gay-Friendly Therapists Team', a gay-friendly psychotherapy institute. A guest lecturer at various programs both in Israel and abroad. Works in private practice in Tel Aviv. His current writing attempts at theoretically bridging relational conceptualizations of self-multiplicity and experience-based clinical interventions in the spirit of Schema Therapy for severe personality disorders. A chapter he co-wrote with Rafaeli & Thoma titled ‘Working with Modes in Schema Therapy’ appeared in the book ‘Engaging Emotion in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Experiential Techniques for Promoting Lasting Change’ (Guilford Press).   

Dr. Nicole Manktelow

Nicole is a clinical psychologist and feminist with 25 years clinical experience. She has worked in acute mental health community and inpatient settings, correctional settings and as Clinical Director for Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. She has an interest in feminist psychologies and supervising clinicians in person centred and collaborative practice in the service of meeting the needs of the people who come to see us.

Nicole started her schema therapy journey in 2014 and hasn't looked back. Nicole offers keen clinical insights gleaned from her years of experience as a therapist and supervisor working with complex clinical presentations. Nicole currently works in private practice where she practices schema therapy and supervises those clinicians seeking schema accreditation.

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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