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JUNE 24 - 26, 2021 / WORLDWIDE




SEGMENT 8: 6.15 - 7.15


KEYNOTE: Reviewing Modes through Polyvagal Theory 

with Alp Karaosmanoglu

Includes LIVE Questions and Answers

According to schema theory (ST) developed by Young (2003), early maladaptive schemas, coping strategies, and schema modes are the core units determining the dysfunctional perception of a person lifelong. The schemas develop due to the unmet needs during childhood. When the needs are unmet at a certain level, the schemas get triggered and produce responses accordingly which consists of emotions, sensations, and motivation. And then the behavioral part of the response gets activated and it follows three ways to cope with the unmet need: surrender, fight or flight. On the other hand, schema modes compromise early maladaptive schemas and maladaptive coping styles that are concurrently activated in a specific time.

Another theory which examines the coping mechanisms of human beings is polyvagal theory (PT). Steven Porges (2001) who is the father of PT says that the mammalian autonomic nervous system has been developed for 600 million years. First 200 million years, organisms reacted to the danger by immobilisation and protecting the vital organs with this protective collapse. The other 200 million years, the heart and the lungs were developed and organisms began to respond to danger with movement, fighting or fleeing. In the last 200 million years, the mammalian nervous system took its last shape and we began to solve the problems and regulate ourselves physiologically and emotionally by social engagement.

Regarding the differences between two theories, in order to differentiate structure of modes more accurately considering mammalian evolutionary development remarked in PT, we examined the factor structure of SMI-1r with 984 clinical participants. We found most of the modes which are postulated and also shown in previous studies. And then the higher order structure of SMI-1r is investigated to see if the modes are grouping according to the three main reactions of the autonomic nervous systems. We hypothesized that the higher order structure of the mode inventory shows parallel features with PT.

Results showed that most of the modes are grouped according to the theory about coping; but some modes like Detached Protector and Punitive Parent appeared to be in the same higher order factor with the modes which represent the surrender, Vulnerable Child and Compliant Surrender. The new higher order structure also showed the fight/flight response should be examined at two layers: Narcissistic Fight/Flight Responses and Antisocial Fight/Flight Responses. 

About the Presenter

Alp Karaosmanoglu

Alp is the current President of ISST, serving on the Executive Board since 2020. He is the founder of PsikoNET Publishing and Training Center.

ISST certified advanced level schema therapist and trainer.

He works a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist in Istanbul.

In 2006 he organized a symposium in Istanbul with Jeffrey Young which contributed significantly to the awareness of schema therapy throughout Turkey.

He is also the owner of PsikoNET Publications which publishes many international best selling books in Turkish about schema therapy. PsikoNET organized the ISST Conference held in Istanbul, in June 2014 which brought recognized names of the field together.

Dr. Alp Karaosmanoğlu is also the author of several books, including:

- Relationships: Starting, Maintenance Ending"

- Something Bad Will Happen: Fear and Conscience" (a book on Justice and Fairness and their effect on anxiety)

- I Want It All, I Want It Now: A New Approach for Entitlement And Impulsiveness 

He continues ISST-Approved certification programs in Turkey and abroad. 

LIVE Questions & Answers

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Stockholm, Sweden


Coimbra, Portugal


Berlin, Germany


New York, USA


Istanbul, Turkey


Vienna, Austria

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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