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Difficult Couples

by Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco

An increase in the repertoire of the "Advanced Schema Therapist with Couples" in dealing with difficult cases and in providing a Couples’ Intensive. Being able to come up with a strategy for couples in approaching affairs, pornography, paranoid- seeming suspicion/mistrust and a closed-off partner.

Teaching Methods:
Lecture, video clips, small group exercises, Power Point

Learning Objectives:
The Advanced Schema Therapist will be provided with content and experiential learning regarding:
1. Dealing effectively with difficult couples issues such as:
•Affair obsession: Partner obsessed with the belief the spouse has been having affairs and a string of failed prior attempts at therapy. Two persons each emotionally deprived, detached and angry.
• Unblended family: family with husband not willing to engage with step-son and strong defectiveness schema, wife disgusted.
• Hung up on pornography, partner unable to get over mistrust.
2. Tricky balancing: how to balance both sides of the couple relationship, getting to their Vulnerable Child Modes when one is spouting off negatives.
3. Slowing down; Getting the Chairs activated: Getting the blame out of the room.
4. Getting an unempathic tough/mean guy, skeptical over therapy, to a soft empathic repair attempt & wife to eventually forgive years of pain.
5. Clarity and focus on your ST couples took kit preparation. What inventories must you be armed with and when?
6. Needs versus Wants and their clinical application. We will then move to “The Couples’ ST Intensive”:
•Screening & diagnostic issues of appropriateness;
•Client preparation and Informed Consent;
•Risk management issues at the outset with special interventions & requirements;
•Basic structure; •Personalized elements;
•Flexibility & re-evaluating on the fly;
•Managing the unexpected;
•Structural options;
•Ethical considerations;

Workshop Intended For:

Relevant Background Readings on Topic:
Atkinson, T. (2012). Schema Therapy for couples: Healing partners in a relationship. In M. van Vreeswijk, M., J. Broersen, & M. Nadort (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of schema therapy: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 323-336). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Rafeali, E., Bernstein, D., & Young, J. (2011). Schema therapy: Distinctive Features. (71- 74).New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Roediger, E., Zarbock, G., Frank-Noyon, E., Hinrichs, J. & Arntz, A. (2018): The effectiveness of imagery work in schema therapy with couples: a clinical experiment comparing the effects of imagery rescripting and cognitive interventions in brief schema couples therapy. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/14681994.2018.1529411
Simeone-DiFrancesco, C., Roediger, D., & Stevens, B. (2015) Schema Therapy with Couples. A Practitioner’s Guide to Healing Relationships. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Stevens, B.A. & Roediger, E. (2017) Breaking Negative Relationship Patterns. A Schema Therapy Self-help and Support Book. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

About the Presenters:

Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco

Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco was licensed as a psychologist in 1990, practicing in Wisconsin, USA anda second license as a Clinical Psychologist in the State of Virginia. Prior to becoming a psychologist she specialized in healing memories and dialogue as a paraprofessional actively providing groupworkshops with her husband on a large scale basis in California and Virginia. With world renownedmentors and extensive training, she developed a special expertise in connecting with diverse multi-cultural populations and facilitating reconciliation and understanding/acceptance. Highly entrepreneurial, Chiara became established as a Chief Psychologist in the Wisconsin Prison system, and soon after launched private practice, continued with her start-up non-profit, and later trade-marked“Connect-Talk®”in the USA and abroad. “Connect-Talk®”is the culmination of her integration of Schema Therapy and Mode awarenesswiththe intricacies of equal-to-equal positive connecting and inner and outer dialogue.Chiara has a passion for Schema Therapy in its application with individuals, couples, families and organizations. (Co-author of Schema Therapy with Couples/ A Practitioner’s Guide to Healing Relationships and founder of the Couples ST SIG and the Schema Therapy for Organizational Development SIG.) She sees the brilliance of ST’s conceptual ability to bring healing and awareness with multimodal reparenting interventions, and provides training and educational consultation in the model at the Advanced and Trainer level for both ST individual and Couples.She is affiliated with ST-Frankfurt.Chiara is a member of a number of professional organizations and has respect for clients coming from differing religious persuasions, incorporating meaning in life and positive examples into their quest for Healthy Adult mode functioning.

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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