My introduction to schema therapy began with the training and supervision I received from Jeffrey Young between 1996 and 2001, as a part of the first major study to examine the effectiveness of schema therapy in treating individuals with borderline personality disorder. From the very first moment, I felt a strong affinity with schema therapy. The humanist values of the model matched my own: the focus on authentic engagement and open interaction with others, the validation of basic needs and the use of evidence-based techniques in a clear and theoretically grounded model. Following the borderline project, I participated actively as a therapist in various treatment studies centred on the effectiveness of schema therapy (cluster C disorders and a pilot on the effectiveness of group schema therapy in borderline patients).
By the late 1990s, I was frequently providing instruction on cognitive behavioural therapy; from 2000 onward, I began teaching schema therapy as well. In the years since, in cooperation with various event organisers and learning institutions, I have organised dozens of training courses, workshops and readings in both the Netherlands and abroad.
Since the borderline project, I have also helped train therapists to take part in an implementation study which was aimed at the effectiveness of schema therapy among the second generation of schema therapists. In addition, together with David Bernstein, I trained therapists in preparation for an effectiveness study of schema therapy in a forensic setting.
In 2010, again in collaboration with David Bernstein, I produced a DVD box set entitled “Schema therapy, working with modes”. This extensive project involved various therapists and actors. Today, these DVDs are an integral part of schema therapy teaching worldwide. Recently, I added productions entitled “Fine-tuning Imagery Rescripting” (in collaboration with Chris Hayes) and “Schema therapy for the Avoidant, Dependent and Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder” (in collaboration with Guido Sijbers) to the DVD collection.
I enjoyed a “front-row seat” for the development of not only schema therapy, but ISST as well, and – in addition to a sense of involvement – have always felt quite at home among this international community of like-minded individuals. As a result of this involvement and my passion for the schema therapy model, I have spent years actively working to train and supervise therapists all over the world as they take their first steps with schema therapy. In recent years, I have become aware of a growing desire to actively contribute to the ISST Board. I find the position of Vice President, tasked primarily with organising the upcoming international convention, to be the most appealing option.
The key responsibility of the Vice President's role – the organisation of the 2018 ISST convention – strikes me as a most inspiring challenge. What I would find inspiring is helping to determine the location and format of this event, which will provide a venue for sharing the ever-growing body of knowledge on schema therapy. The challenge lies in the opportunity to apply the extensive organisational knowledge and experience I have gained over the years. By organising numerous training courses, producing DVDs and assisting in the organisation of several conferences, I have amassed a great deal of experience in project organisation and management. My years of cooperation with various event organisers give me the fullest confidence that, together with a local conference agency, I can ensure the successful organisation of the upcoming ISST conference. It is also a task that is completely in line with my talents and what I enjoy doing: collaborating closely with others in order to build a project from the ground up, while making sure the result combines substantive quality and attractive design. I sincerely hope for the opportunity to put the many ideas I already have into action, and to make the 2018 ISST convention in Washington, D.C. a resounding success.
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