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Building the Healthy Adult Mode

by Eckhard Roediger, Bruce Stevens, and Robert Brockman


The Healthy Adult mode is the backbone of a successful schema therapy. Despite this key role a detailed description of how the HA mode works is lacking in most books on schema therapy. This workshop presents an approach to developing and strengthening the healthy part of the self. It is based on identifying emotional learning to deepen our understanding of how schemas induce current modes.  The technique of sentence completion will be used to shift schema awareness into a specific life script, which the Healthy Adult mode has to deal with. We define the Healthy Adult mode and outline how you can build upon your client’s strengths. We will introduce the key processes of HA functioning and deepen the understanding of behaviour change processes.

There is a strong practical focus enrichening our approach using some perspectives and techniques from other therapeutic approaches like mindfulness, acceptance, functional contextualism and the role of values. We will not stay theoretical but will employ some exercises to provide participants with the experience of mindfulness. Finally we will demonstrate the implications of this broadened scope on chair mode-dialogues including some exercises in small groups.

The goals of this workshop are:

- Understand how emotional learning leads to schema based automatic processing perceived as “true”

- Be able to use a (mindful) observer stance as a counterbalance to the schema based coping modes

- Be able to use the ACT-Core processes to enhance building up a Healthy Adult mode

- Outline the process of change from the position of the Healthy Adult mode

- Understanding how to strengthen these functional processes e.g. in chair dialogues


Roediger, E. (2012). Why are mindfulness and acceptance central elements for therapeutic change? An integrative perspective. In: van Vreeswijk M, Broersen J, Nadort M (eds). Handbook of Schema Therapy. Theory, Research and Practice. New York: Wiley, p.239-248.

Roediger E, Stevens B, Brockman R (2018). Contextual Schema Therapy: An Integrative Approach to Personality Disorders, Emotional Dysregulation, and Interpersonal Functioning. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (in press).

About the Presenters: 

Eckhard Roediger

Eckhard Roediger is a neurologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, trained in psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Previously, he was the director of a psychosomatic department of a clinic in Berlin. Since 2007, Eckhard has worked in his private practice, and is the Director of the Schema Therapy Training Center in Frankfurt. He has served on the ISST Board since 2008, including as President (2014-2016), and currently as Treasurer. Working on the conceptual background of Schema Therapy and its integration into Cognitive Behavior Therapy, couples therapy and integrating Mindfulness and ACT into Schema Therapy.

Robert Brockman

Robert Brockman has extensive experience teaching and supervising on clinical psychology masters programs in Sydney since 2010. His clinical experience is drawn from both public (e.g. Hospitals, community mental health) and private health sector positions (e.g. private practice) in Sydney. Robert currently holds a research fellowship with Australian Catholic University (ACU) where he researches psychological approaches to well-being. He has a major clinical and research interest in formulation and intervention with complex presentations that prove difficult to treat via standard evidence-based protocols. He is currently engaged in clinical research focusing on extending the schema model into novel populations (e.g. GAD, Eating Disorders, HIV Sufferers, Problem Gamblers, Forensic Patients, and Psychosis).

Bruce A. Stevens 

Bruce Stevens (PhD, Boston University, 1987) is the Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia. He is an endorsed clinical and forensic psychologist, who has written seven books for publishers such as Random House, Harper Collins, PsychOz Publications, Australian Academic Press and Wiley-Blackwell. He is with Shayleen and he has four adult children. He has is a co-author of four books on Schema Therapy:

Schema therapy for couples: A practitioners guide to healing relationships, with international authors Dr Chiara DiFrancesco (USA) and Dr Eckhard Roediger (Germany), Walden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.

Breaking negative relationship patterns, with Dr Eckhard Roediger, Walden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.

Free to Love: Schema Therapy for Christians with Maureen Miner-Bridges New York: Novinka Publishers, 2017.

Contextual Schema Therapy, with Eckhard Roediger and Rob Brockman, in press with New Harbinger for 2018.

He has given over a hundred professional workshops in Australia and overseas.

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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