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WORKSHOP 8 | DAY 2: 2.15 PM - 5.45 PM

Fostering Connections in the Group: Combining Chair Work with Fleece: A Catalyst for Connection

by Maria Rocher and Sigrid Geertzema


In this workshop we will use techniques from Group Schema Therapy by Farrell and Shaw and show how you can combine them to improve further connection in the group. The most important task for a therapist is to create a connection with his/her clients. In the group this task expands to creating connection and safety between group members. Extending the connection between group members can be more difficult than between therapist and client because therapists know how to do this and group members trigger each other in different ways. The connection between group members is very important to get the best results from group therapy. This helps to generalize the results of therapy concerning trusting other people, not just the therapist. A good group connection helps to get clients out of their protector modes and to share more in the group. Group Schema Therapy uses a variety of experiential techniques. There are different chair techniques you can use to make clients aware of the different modes they have and how they are connected internally. We will show how you can use these techniques creatively and build up the intensity of the chair work as the group moves further along. The goal is to teach clients to be able to connect their Healthy Adult and Good Parent to the Vulnerable child, using the group as a facilitator. We have learned that you can combine the tangible connection of fleece work with other techniques and that the result is that it enables you to use the other experiential techniques with more ease. Furthermore it helps clients to feel the holding and support from the group. Most clients have experienced loneliness and feelings of not being safe as a child. The group can be a place where they can experience a different reality and this will help them break through their schemas and get in touch with their needs. We are offering an interactive workshop with the opportunity to practice and experience the techniques and the feeling of connection in a group session. We will simulate a group session and show different examples of techniques you can use and how to go from simple to more complex chair work.

This workshop is intended for: 

Intermediate (Participants have had basic ST Training)

About the Presenters:

Maria Rocher

Maria is a healthcare psychologist, a supervisor in the Dutch Schema Therapy Register, a Supervisor/Trainer in Group Schema Therapy for ISST, and a Supervisor in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (VGCT).

She works at Psy-Q Amsterdam, and is an independent supervisor/trainer. At Psy-Q Maria works with Arnoud Arntz as a therapist in the group research programs of Farrell & Shaw. During last 5 years she has worked at the Viersprong, where Maria was a therapist in several groups for Borderline Personality Disorder (Farrell & Shaw programs). She has been working with the model for six years with groups and individual patients, and works with forensic clients, women, men and adolescents at the Waag, a forensic Policlinic in the Netherlands for the past 9 years, along with two years at G-kracht with Marjon Nadort and Jenny Broersen.

Maria is a Schema Therapy Trainer, working  with Odette Brand and Eelco Muste. She has worked with clients from many different cultural backgrounds, and is also a trainer in Transcultural Psychology.

Sigrid Geertzema

Sigrid Geertzema is a healthcare psychologist, senior schematherapist in de Dutch Schema Therapy Register and almost registered as CBT Supervisor (VGCt) and EMDR practioner.  She works at De Viersprong Amsterdam as a schematherapist for the last 4.5 years. The first years being a group therapist for BPD in the Farrell&Shaw programs. The last years in a pilot for GST with adolescents. She is doing group and individual schematherapy and also a lot of family therapy with the adolescents. She has a private practice for CBT and EMDR in Amsterdam. She worked with the same group of collegues as Maria and also worked for several years in the forensic field (in- and out-patient) and at G-kracht. She also is a Schema Therapy Trainer at the same company as Maria, Eelco and Odette.

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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