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Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders: Experiential Methods for Enhancing Motivation and Forming an Authentic Relationship (T4) -- Virtual

by Susan Simpson & Robert Brockman


High levels of psychiatric comorbidity amongst eating disorder sufferers is associated with reduced effectiveness and higher dropout, even in response to gold-standard treatment protocols.  In ‘real-world’ clinical settings, we often encounter eating disorder presentations which don’t fit into our standard protocols, and patients who do not engage and/or respond to the treatments we offer.  Indeed, it is well recognized that the treatment of eating disorders can be fraught with complexity, and that a proportion of sufferers develop a picture characterized by chronicity and ego-syntonicity (i.e. “my Anorexia defines who I am”). The Schema Therapy (ST) mode model appears to be well suited to the eating disordered population, particularly those with complex problems, rigid personality traits & interpersonal difficulties. This workshop will explore motivational issues that arise in the treatment of eating disorders and the way in which coping mode 'agendas' can hijack therapeutic progress.  Participants will have the opportunity to explore ways in which client and therapist maladaptive modes can lead to motivational  'stuck points' and disjunctions in the therapeutic relationship. In particular, the workshop will focus on the role of empathic confrontation and chair work techniques for bypassing coping modes that block therapeutic connection. In addition, we will explore methods for forging a connection with the Vulnerable Child mode as a means of enhancing authentic connection with self and other.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will have the opportunity to:

1/ Recognise and identify eating disorder coping modes that block therapeutic connection with their own clients

2/ Recognise countertransference reactions linked to eating disorder coping modes 

3/ Recognise ways in which therapist coping modes can lead to therapeutic 'blind spots' and block authentic  connection

4/ Practice empathic confrontation to bypass eating disorder coping modes

5/ Practice chair work to enhance motivation in eating disorders

6/ Practice experiential techniques for connecting with the 'missing' Vulnerable Child mode

About the presenters:

Susan Simpson

Dr. Susan Simpson is a Clinical Psychologist who has specialized in Schema Therapy for complex eating disorders over the past 20 years. She currently works in an NHS inpatient eating disorders unit near Edinburgh, Scotland. She is director of Schema Therapy Scotland training program and co-director of the Global Institute of Eating Disorders (www.gied.com) and Global Institute of Obesity (www.giobesity.com). She is part of an international research group which is currently investigating the effectiveness of Schema Therapy for eating disorders, and has published several research papers on the schema therapy model applied to eating disorders. She recently co-authored/edited the first book on Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders, published by Routledge in 2019. She provides regular training webinars and workshops internationally. For a list of Susan’s research publications, see: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susan-Simpson-2/research Abstract: This workshop provides schema therapists with an opportunity to develop greater awareness into the effects of their own underlying schemas & modes in the work setting. Participants will explore the impact of schemas and unmet emotional needs on their own well-being and quality of life, whilst exploring ways of strengthening their Healthy Adult mode in the context of their work environment. The workshop will briefly present ways in which therapists can introduce a range of regular restorative practices (including breathing techniques, movement, micro-pauses) into their everyday work-life, in order to maintain equilibrium and build resilience. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on how they can better take care of themselves and build resilience. Whilst we will highlight some important scientific findings, the primary focus will be on demonstrating and trying out some of our exercises. We aim to focus on our restorative energy in our daily professional and personal life.

Robert Brockman

Robert Brockman is a Clinical Psychologist and senior research fellow at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education,Australian Catholic University. He is alsoprinciple Clinical Psychologist atSchema Therapy Sydney,a Sydneybased psychology clinicfocused on the practice and dissemination of schema therapy.His clinical practice and research has largely focused on the applicability of schema therapy to novel treatment populations (e.g. Eating Disorders, GAD, Psychotic Symptoms), and the integration of 3rd Wave Therapy techniques into Schema Therapy practice

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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