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WORKSHOP 3 | DAY 1: 2.30 PM - 6.00 PM

Circumventing the Overcontroller: Working with Schema Modes in Eating Disorders

by Susan Simpson


This workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to consider the role of schema modes linked to eating disorders, and to practice powerful experiential techniques for working with this population. The workshop will help participants to conceptualise eating disorders using the schema mode model, and to link eating disordered thoughts/behaviours with key modes. In particular, the role of the Overcontroller modes will be explored in driving eating disorders, with an emphasis on recognizing and circumventing this mode through cognitive and experiential techniques. A combination of dyadic and dydactic teaching methods will be used, with an emphasis on demonstrations and practice role-plays.

Participants will gain practical experience & guidance in the use of empathic confrontation and chair work, to bypass the Overcontroller mode, and facilitate connection with the ‘banished’ Vulnerable Child mode. There will also be an opportunity to practice imagery rescripting in order to emotionally process the childhood messages and memories that link self-worth with eating/weight/shape.

This workshop is intended for: 

Intermediate (Participants have had basic ST Training)

About the Presenter:

Susan Simpson

Susan Simpson is a Clinical Psychologist with advanced accreditation in individual and group schema therapy.  Susan leads the only ISST-accredited Schema Therapy training program in Scotland (www.schematherapyscotland.com) and regularly runs Schema Therapy workshops in the UK and Australia. She has specialised in the treatment of complex trauma and eating disorders over the past 20 years. 

Susan currently works in an inpatient eating disorders unit for NHS Scotland, and is in part-time private practice. She has published research on group and individual Schema Therapy for complex eating disorders, and is part of an international research group which is currently carrying out preliminary investigations into the effectiveness of group Schema Therapy for eating disorders and Schema Therapy for severe Anorexia Nervosa. Susan has published several research papers on the schema therapy model applied to a range of clinical populations, and has presented her findings at national and international conferences. For a list of research publications, see: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susan_Simpson/contributions

Susan has been researching and expanding the Schema Therapy model for eating disorders over the past 20 years. Her research includes studies on the role of schema modes in the development of eating pathology, and the effectiveness of group Schema Therapy for eating disorders.

Publications relevant to workshop:

2017                         Cruzat-Mandich, Díaz-Castrillón, Pérez-Villalobos, Lizana, Moore, Simpson & Oda-Montecinos. Factor structure and reliability of the Multidimensional Body–Self Relations Questionnaire in Chilean youth. Eating and Weight Disorders. 1-12. doi: 10.1007/s40519-017-0411-z.

2017                         Sorgente, Pietrabissa. Manzonie, Re, Simpson et al. Web-Based Interventions for Weight Loss or Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight and Obese People: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(6): e229. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.6972

2017                         Simpson, S. Schema Therapy: Current Evidence and Applications. Counselling in Scotland, Autumn/Winter 2017, pp.15-18.

2017                         Kaeding, A., Sougleris, C., Reid, C.….Simpson, S. Professional burnout, early maladaptive schemas and the effect on physical health in clinical and counseling trainees. Journal of Clinical Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.22485.

2017                         Graves TA, Tabri N, Thompson-Brenner H., Franko DL, Eddy KT, Bourion-Bedes S, Brown A, Constantino MJ, Fluckiger C, Forsberg S, Isserlin L, Couturier J, Paulson Karlsson G, Mander J, Teufel M, Mitchell JE, Crosby RD, Prestano C, Satir DA, Simpson S, Sly R, Lacey JH, Stiles-Shields C, Tasca GA, Waller G, Zaitsoff SL, Rienecke R, Le Grange D, Thomas JJ. A meta-analysis of the relation between therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome in eating disorders. Int J Eat Disord. doi:10.1002/eat.22672.

2016                         Brown, J., Selth, S., Stretton, A., Simpson, S. Do dysfunctional coping modes mediate the relationship between perceived parenting style and disordered eating behaviours? Journal of Eating Disorders 4(27):1-10. DOI: 10.1186/s40337-016-0123-1

2016                          Castelnuovo, G…Simpson, S… et al. Psychological Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Pain in Neurorehabilitation and Psychological Factors Predictive of Therapeutic Response: Evidence and Recommendations from the Italian Consensus Conference on Pain in Neurorehabilitation. Frontiers in Psychology 7(924692). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00468

2016                          Knight, A., Castelnuovo, G., Pietrabissa,G., Manzoni, G., Simpson, S. Drunkorexia: An empirical investigation among Australian female university students. Australian Psychologist. DOI: 10.1111/ap.12212

2016                          Hodge, L. & Simpson, S. Speaking the Unspeakable: Artistic Expression in Eating Disorder Research and Schema Therapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy. P. 1-30. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2016.05.005

2016                         Stages of change in Obesity and Weight Management: Factorial             

Structure of the Italian Version of the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale. Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. DOI: 10.1007/s40519-016-0289-1


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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