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Breaking the Virtual Wall – Schema Therapy Online

by Hagara Feldman & Xi Liu


Due to the social distancing requirements and lockdowns during the Covid-19 outbreak, Online Therapy moved from being a fringe offering to a safer way to provide therapy. Within a short span of time, Online therapy has become a legitimate way of providing therapy. It is now funded by governments, health insurances, and taught as part of university curriculum.

The shift from in person traditional therapy settings to the online environment, not only involves technological adjustments, but also many clinical adjustments in order to ensure therapeutic alliance is maintained. The Schema Therapy model and its experiential strategies provide therapists a wealth of opportunity to bypass the virtual wall and physical distance. However, these components may be challenging for new practitioners in Schema Therapy, and even more when delivering Schema Therapy online.

In our webinar we will cover the following topics: 1. Highlights for keeping the therapeutic frame 2. Modes and Schemas activations in respond to the online environment, and the opportunity to address them through limited reparenting interventions. 3. Adapting the experiential strategies to the virtual setting. 4. Live demonstrations and role-plays.

Teaching Methods:

The workshop will include experiential exercises facilitated by the presenters and case studies to demonstrate opportunities and challenges in terms of therapeutic relationships online. Discussion time will be facilitated following the presentations.

Learning Objective:

-     Explore the potential for therapists to use technology to meet core emotional needs, enhance the therapeutic alliance and attachment bond

-     Recommend ways to assess client safety and appropriateness when working in an online environment

-     Recommend ways to address pitfalls when working in an online environment

-     Recommend ways to manage mode and schema activation specific to working in an online environment

-     Demonstrate strategies to enhance the therapeutic alliance in an online environment

-     Explore benefits to client care unique to working in an online environment

-     To incorporate technology in schema therapy, providing therapists and clients with more energy in and outside of the treatment room

Workshop Intended For:
Therapists with an interest in exploring innovative ways of enhancing the therapeutic relationship using technology.

The workshop is suitable for any level of experience in schema therapy.

Relevant Background Readings on Topic:

Simpson, S., Bell, L., Knox, J. & Mitchell, D. (2005). Therapy via Videoconferencing: A Route to Client Empowerment? Clinical

Psychology and Psychotherapy, 12, 156-165.

Backhaus, A., Agha., Maglione, M. L., Repp, A., Ross, B., Zuest, D., Rice-Thorpe, N. M. (2012). Videoconferencing Psychotherapy: A Systematic Review. Psychological Services, 9 (2), 111-131. DOI: 10.1037/a0027924

Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists (2013). Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychological. American Psychologist, 68 (9), 791-800 DOI: 10.1037/a0035001

Simpson, S. G., & Reid, C. L. (2014). Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A review. The Australasian Journal of Rural Health, 22, 280-299.

Goss, S., Anthony, K., Stretch, L. S. & Nagel, D. M. (2016). Technology in Mental Health: Applications in Practice, Supervision and Training (2nd Ed). Illinois. Charles C Thomas.

About the Presenters:

Hagara Feldman

Hagara is an ISST advanced schema therapist, supervisor and trainer, since 2013. She is also an accredited CBT supervisor and the director of “Schema Therapy Kfar Saba”, which provides an ISST approved Schema Therapy accreditation program in Israel. Schema therapy is the solid foundation of her therapeutic practice, integrating with CBT and with some ideas and interventions from additional experiential focus therapies. She has practiced in both the public and the private sectors, in mental health and in bariatric services and is now providing therapy and supervision in her private practice based in Kfar-Saba, Israel. Specializes in Axis I disorders, personality disorders, work with holocaust survivors and LGBT related issues. She also has an long extensive experience with online therapy, working with a wide range of patients and supervisees from different cultures, in and outside of Israel. During the last few years, she is focusing on writing and providing workshops about the unique aspects of online schema therapy.

Xi Liu

Dr. Xi Liu is an advanced accredited ISST schema therapist and trainer/supervisor. She is a Sydney based Clinical Psychologist who delivers face to face therapy from her practice in Newtown, as well as working online with clients across five continents. She regularly provides therapy to staff deployed with Doctors without Borders (MSF) while on mission and around the world. She is the Chair of the Online Schema Therapy Special Interest Group and have presented at symposiums at the International Society for Schema Therapy Conference in Amsterdam and Rome on adapting Schema Therapy for Online Treatment. She has also presented on the topic of Digital Technologies in Mental Health at the Black Dog Institute in Australia. Xi specializes with creative, multicultural and LGBTQ clients on complex trauma, grief, personality disorders and Axis I mood disorders. In her previous working life, Xi has also worked in User Interface, Data Management and Website Design in the Corporate and Not for Profit Sector. 

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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