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SKILL CLASS 7 | DAY 1: 4.30 PM - 6.00 PM

Sensory Awareness: Essential Skill for Corrective Emotional Experiences

by Mary Giuffra

The conceptual model for Schema Therapy defines early maladaptive schemas as a set of memories, emotions, bodily sensations and cognitions. When a "schema is triggered, the individual is flooded with emotions and bodily sensations. The therapist role is to help the patient connect emotions and bodily sensations to childhood memories. The cognitive components of a schema often develop later, after the emotions and bodily sensations are already stored in the amygdala. Healing involves diminishing the intensity of memories connected with the schema; the schema's emotional charge; the maladaptive cognitions; and the strength of the bodily sensations. 

The ST conceptual framework identifies the biology of early maladaptive schemas and describes the role of emotions and the brain; explores brain networks associated with fear conditioning and trauma. Preverbal schemas come into being when the child is so young that all that is stored are the memories, emotions and bodily sensations. The therapist, through mode work, helps the patient to attach words to the experience. Developing skill in accessing the somatic experiences that underlie schemas is essential for corrective emotional experiences that lead to changes in the brain. 

This skill class will present interventions to access and transform bodily sensations. Participants will be able to use knowledge from neuroscience to intervene when a client is getting emotionally flooded or dissociated and will develop skill in embedding corrective emotional experiences in the brain's neural pathways.

Level of Experience Required for Participants: 


About the Presenters:

Mary Giuffra

Mary Giuffra has a PhD from New York University where she served as a full-time tenured professor. She specialized in family dynamics, child development and outcomes of trauma and illness on families. Mary was a consultant to several universities in the United States. A psychotherapist for 41 years, curiosity and a desire for excellence led her to explore various clinical modalities. She served as supervisor and faculty of several training institutes, including Bowens Family Systems, Core Energetics, Somatic Experiencing Trauma Work and Addictions. She is certified as an Advanced level Schema Therapist and a Schema Therapy Trainer/Supervisor and is also certified as Advanced level Schema Therapy Couples Therapist and Supervisor/Trainer. 

Mary has published numerous articles and book chapters on family dynamics, child and adolescent development, along with the impact of trauma and illness on development. For 12 years, she served as Vice President of the US Association for Body Psychotherapy, and is a Clinical Fellow in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.  

Currently, Mary is completing a book on Two Career Families (www.twocareerfamily.com) a fascinating group to study mode conflict and cultural expectation. She is currently on the ST-C Education and Work Groups and on the ST Trauma Group.

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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