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The Schema Therapy Bulletin

The Official Publication of the 

International Society of Schema Therapy

In This Issue

In this June Issue - Working with Strong Coping Modes in Schema Therapy by Lissa Parsonnet & Chris Hayes 

Schema Mode Therapy: Working with the Overcontroller Mode by Susan Simpson (Scotland)

Should I stay or Should I go? Navigating the Angry Protector Mode with Forensic Clients by Kerry Bickley (UK)

Handling Overcompensation Modes by Dr Odette Brand-de Wilde & Maria Rocher (The Netherlands)

Behind the Pleasure - Working with Self-Soother Mode by Sergio Alejandro Morales Hernández (Mexico)


We asked and you delivered! In the last issue of the Schema Therapy Bulletin we invited readers to submit articles about techniques you’ve been trying, ideas you’ve been thinking about, and clinical issues you’ve been dealing with. In response to your submissions, this issue will focus on Working With Difficult Modes.

In this issue Kerry Beckley writes about her work with the the Angry Protector Mode in a forensic setting, noting that in this setting, any sort of anger arouse the concern and anxiety of the staff. To the staff in these settings anger can be a warning, signalling a risk of the violent behavior that led to their confinement in a forensic setting. For the schema therapist the challenge is to navigate through the Angry Protector, while being conscious of avoiding triggering compensatory modes, or personal danger to reach the Vulnerable Child.

In “Behind the Pleasure: Working with the Self-Soother Mode” Sergio Hernandez focuses on treating addiction with Schema therapy. Addictions are seen as evasive coping styles in which the Self-Soother or Self-Stimulating Modes are activated, to avoid discomfort. Patients are helped to identify their “start up” modes, understand the origins of these modes and how these modes are like to current problems or symptoms, access the vulnerable child mode through imagery, and strengthen the healthy adult to parent the vulnerable child and get needs met in healthy ways. Hernandez describes the way schemas herapy is used to work with the self-soother mode and ultimately other modes to empower addicts to self regulate their consumption, and seek new healthier and pleasurable activities and coping strategies. He also describes the role of group therapy in the treatment of the Self-Soother Mode.  Susan Simpson describes her work using Schema Therapy mode work with the Over controller Mode, an overcompensating mode that creates distance from vulnerable feelings through the cultivation of a sense of “being on top of”, or “in control”. Susan specifically writes about the Perfectionist Overcontroller, the Scolding Overcontroller, the Suspicious Over controller and the Invincible overcontroller, acknowledging that this mode presents significant challenges because it feels syntonic with the “self”, and so has difficulty recognizing or acknowledging other modes. Odette Brand-de Wilde and Maria Rocher also wrote about “Handling Overcompensating Modes”. They describe how clients experience a sense of control, power and accomplishment when in overcompensating modes which creates a therapeutic challenge when the therapist needs to help the patient to surrender these modes and the feelings of strength they elicit, to find other, healthier ways to cope with underlying schemas. The authors offer guidelines for therapists to promote the therapeutic alliance and provide safety to clients so that they can risk stepping out of these powerful-feeling modes to allow for healing of the vulnerable child.

Lissa Parsonnet, PhD, LCSW (USA) & 

Chris Hayes Clinical Psychologist (Australia) 

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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