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Building the Happy Child: A ‘Play Temperament’ Focussed Approach

by Andrew Phipps


This presentation will focus on developing skills to access and build the happy child mode in the context of individual schema therapy. The presenter will review research and academic thought in the field of ‘play’, including a review of the various ways in which we can engage in play. We will focus on the importance of understanding our clients’ unique ‘play temperament’. This refers broadly to the type of play that we are inherently drawn-to and thus likely to experience the greatest degree of joy and freedom. Experiential strategies to assess play temperament will be covered, as well as experiential strategies to access and build the happy child. This presentation will review how development of the happy child mode in therapy is the ‘antidote’ to unmet needs in the schema domain of ‘hypervigilance and inhibition’. The presenter will also argue that accessing and building this mode is integral in the development of a sense of self, thus necessary in the treatment of some personality disorders.

Teaching Methods:

We will use all of the following: Powerpoint slides, Video role-play, and live role-plays.

Workshop Intended For:

Intermediate (Participants have had basic ST training)

About the Presenter:

Andrew Phipps

Andrew is a Clinical Psychologist and Advanced Schema Therapist/Trainer from Sydney, Australia. Andrew has 20-years of clinical experience, spending most of his career in public mental health settings. He spent some recent years as an academic at Western Sydney University. He now works entirely in private practice. He continues to work as a consultant for several mental health services in Sydney. Andrew maintains a teaching role at the University of New South Wales and conducts accredited schema therapy training and supervision across Australia. In addition to his work in the schema therapy space, he has published in the field of early intervention for trauma, self-help treatment for depression, and clinical outcomes in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

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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