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Workshop 12: Friday Late Afternoon (F3W12) - 90 Minutes

Working with the vulnerable infant mode

by Galit Goren Gilad


Many schemas have roots in the pre-verbal years, but the classical Schema-therapy techniques are heavily based on episodic memory (imagery work) and a relatively high-function abstract thinking (chairwork), not easily applicable when dealing with a vulnerable infant or toddler modes, since in this age these cognitive abilities are still not well formed.

In this workshop, I aim to:

1. Understand the importance of early vulnerable modes for dealing with psychopathology;

2. Recognize doorways to these early modes;

3. Teach tailor-made imagery techniques for working with them.

Teaching Methods:

For the theoretical part, a powerpoint presentation will be used, including short videos and many clinical examples.

For the imagery techniques, I will use live demonstrations, and the participants will be asked to exercise the technique with each other. Also, a group imagery will be used for yet another kind of imagery work.

Learning Objectives:

Elaborating on #7:

Pre-verbal modes are not easily recognized through words, but rather present themselves through the sudden lack of verbal thought, as well as through various sensual and bodily symptoms and expressions. The participants will learn how to listen closely and interpret these signs for the surge of vulnerable infant modes.

After recognizing these doorways, I will teach imagery techniques for working with preverbal modes. This techniques rely on procedural rather than episodic memory. Many of us "know" rather than "remember" how it feels to be in our mother's arms, if it's a pleasant or unpleasant experience, and what would feel like a corrective rescripting for this sensual experience (if it is unpleasant).

Workshop Intended For:


Relevant Background Readings on Topic:

1. Stern, D. (1985). The interpersonal world of the infant. Routledge, London & NY.

2. Ogden, T.H. (1989). On the Concept of an Autistic-Contiguous Position, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:127-140.

3. Goren Gilad, G. - The vulnerable infant mode, part 1,2 - STB December 2019

4. Goren Gilad, G - The vulnerable infant mode, part 3 - STB September 2020

About the Presenter:

Galit Goren Gilad

Galit Goren Gilad is a Clinical Psychologist. She is a couple therapist and a certified schema therapist. She works in a private clinic, and had taught schema therapy in psychiatric hospitals, psychotherapy training programs and educational psychology centers. She is a co-founder of the Israeli Schema Therapy Society and a member of its board.

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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