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Workshop 1: Friday Early Afternoon and Friday Late Afternoon (F2W1 & F3W1) - 180 Minutes

Overcoming Therapeutic Impasses in Schema Couples Therapy Part 1& 2

by Travis Atkinson and Poul Perris


1. Create and maintain a secure therapeutic bond with both partners in a relationship

2. Practice limited reparenting to address and repair ruptures in the therapeutic relationship while balancing the needs of both partners in the relationship

3. Master empathic confrontation with partners in a dysfunctional mode cycle

Teaching Methods:

This skill and intervention-focused workshop will start with a brief introduction of how the schema therapy model uses mode work in love relationships to improve outcomes for even the most challenging couples. We will highlight some of the most common therapeutic impasses that occur when treating couples, focusing on how to repair ruptures. Interventions will include:

1. Connection Dialogues (CD)

2. Imagery Rescripting for Couples (IRC)

Participants will view digital recordings of key interventions, and practice role-plays to help them overcome some of the most challenging impasses when working with couples applying the schema therapy model.

Learning Objectives:

1. Assess schemas and modes of each partner in the love relationship that influence common therapeutic impasses

2. Apply effective interventions to de-escalate maladaptive mode cycles between partners and repair ruptures in the therapeutic relationship

3. Consolidate new modes of interaction within the couple to overcome therapeutic impasses and solidify adaptive schemas for both partners

Workshop Intended For:

All levels.

Relevant Background Readings on Topic:

1. Arntz, A. & Jacob, G. (2012). Schema Therapy in Practice: An Introductory Guide to the Schema Mode Approach. John Wiley & Sons.

2. Atkinson, T. (2012). Schema Therapy for Couples: Healing Partners in a Relationship in Vreeswijk v.M., Nadort M, Broersen J, (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Schema Therapy. New York: Wiley, p. 323-336.

3. DiFrancesco C, Roediger E, Stevens B (2016). Schema Therapy for Couples: a practitioner's guide to healing relationships. New York: Wiley.

4. Johnson, S.M. (2019). Attachment theory in practice: emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with individuals, couples, and families. New York: Guilford Press.

5. Mikulincer, M. & Shaver, P.R. (2016). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, Dynamics, and Change (2nd edition). New York: Guilford Press.

6. Norcross, J.C. Psychotherapy Relationships That Work: Evidence-Based Responsiveness (2nd edition). Oxford: New York.

    About the Presenters:

    Travis Atkinson

    Travis Atkinson, LCSW, is the Director of the Schema Therapy Training Center of New YorkSTTCNY He is an Individual and Couples Advanced Certified Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer. Travis trained with Jeff Young, the founder of Schema Therapy, starting in 1995, and worked as a staff member of Jeff Young's Cognitive Therapy Center of New York for many years. He helped Jeff Young create the Schema Therapy Institute of New York, and served as faculty member for several years. Travis is also certified as an Emotionally Focused Therapist and Supervisor, training for many years with Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy. He also completed an extensive program at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, Washington, earning his certification as a Gottman Method Couples Therapist. In addition, Travis completed extensive training in group therapy, and is a Certified Group Psychotherapist.
    Since 2014, Travis has served as Media Coordinator on the Executive Board of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST), and was the chair of ISST's Schema Couples Therapy Special Interest Group (2014 - 2017) and chair of the Committee (2016 - 2017). He has trained therapists internationally for more than 15 years, and is the author of “Healing Partners in a Relationship” in the Handbook of Schema Therapy (Wiley: 2012). Travis is the Director of the Loving at Your Best Program, running a couples center in Midtown Manhattan focused on Schema Therapy.

    Poul Perris

    Poul Perris, MD, is the Director of the Swedish Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Schema Therapy. He is trained in both individual and couples therapy. Poul is a certified in both Individual and Couples Therapy as a Schema Therapist, Supervisor, and Trainer. He has served on the Schema Couples Therapy Committee since 2014.

    ​Poul is the Founding President of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST), and served on the ISST Executive Board from 2008 to 2010. He also served as President of the Swedish Association for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (SACBT), from 2010 to 2016. Poul has trained therapists nationally and internationally for over 10 years, and is the co-author of "Schematerapi en clinkers handbook & terapiberattelse," currently available in Swedish. 

    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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