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How to connect with self and others: A prevention program based on Schema Therapy for children and their parents in school settings

by Roza Laious


Schema Therapy has been proven to be an effective therapeutic model for a large range of psychopathology and there is a growing body of research indicating its effectiveness in adults. However, it has not yet been implemented extensively with children, whether in individual or group settings. In addition, the issue of preventing maladaptive schemas in children with the involvement of both children and their parents has received very little attention. Therefore, the aim of this research was to design, implement and evaluate an innovative school-based prevention program which addresses children’s core emotional needs, maladaptive schemas, modes, and relationships with significant others. Psychoeducational schema- focused training of parents with the aim of strengthening attachment with children is also included. The whole program is based on the rationale, principals and therapeutic techniques of Schema Therapy as well as play therapy. It has two separate yet interrelated components, that is, group work with children and group work with their parents. Sixteen structured meetings were carefully designed for children on a weekly basis and 10 meetings for parents once every two weeks. A total of 90 children (9-13 years old) from six primary schools in Athens, Greece as well as at least one of their parents participated in the program. Six trained schema therapists delivered the intervention. Results are presented indicating the effectiveness of the program based on pre- and post-intervention assessment of schemas and on various indices of mental health. Experiences from working with children and their parents and implications for the use of schema-focused interventions in school settings are also discussed.

About the Presenter:

Roza Laious

Roza Laious is Clinical Psychologist (MSc.), PhD. Candidate, University of Athens, Greece. She is Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Certified Schema Therapist and Supervisor. Her clinical and psychotherapeutic work includes psychoeducational groups for children and parents based on Schema Therapy, individual  psychotherapy  for  children/adolescents  and  adults.  Moreover  she  is member,  instructor  and  research  supervisor  at  the  Department  of  Child  and Adolescent Therapy of the Institute of Behavioral and Research Therapy, Athens.

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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