W 2 2 ( 1 / 2 )




9:15 am - 10:45 am


Christoph Fuhrhans,Switzerland


Schema Therapy is a recently spreading psychotherapy approach, which blends CBT with humanistic, psychodynamic and experiential therapy elements. Inner Child modes, the Inner Critic mode and the Coping Behavior modes build a set of, often dysfunctionally interacting, modes or sides of a person. The goal of the therapy is, to reach out and to care for the Vulnerable Child mode, set limits to the Inner Critic mode and to empower the Healthy Adult, but also the “Happy Child” mode, which represents the side of powerful and active resources. The Happy Child mode consists of two submodes, the Contented Child and the Vital Child. Different from the Contented Child mode, in which a person feels loved, protected and safe, the Vital Child mode represents an inborn ability to fulfill the basic need of autonomy, creativity, adventure and thrill. (Interestingly nearly all modern children- and youth book protagonists, from Mowgli over Tom Sawyer until Harry Potter, are illustrations of this, mostly parentless, Vital Child mode. It’s narrative actually is related to the archetype of the “Divine Child”.) The Vital Child is related to another narrative, the “Hero’s Journey” - a term formulated by the cultural scientist Joseph Campbell (1949), who found this narrative as the matrix of all myths, novels and movies. The hero leaves the ordinary world, confronts and overcomes his greatest enemy, maybe has to sacrifice his dearest, before he returns in the transformed and individuated manner into society. Schema Therapy itself follows a process and an implicate narrative of going down to the childhood caves, confronting the innermost horrors and the fears, transforming dysfunctional schemas and modes and returning as a “Healthy Adult”. So it is obvious to conceptualize the roadmap of a Schema Therapy as a Hero's Journey. In this workshop we will give an introductory overview over the two narratives in the light of Schema Therapy. Then, in the first part you will learn (and exercise) practical exercises to find, to activate and to strengthen the Vital Child Mode and how to work on implementing positive schemas. In the second part you will see how the “Hero” can be conceptualized as the grown up Vital Child. You will learn to use special exercises for empowering the Hero mode, to step by step becoming the “Inner Dumbledore” (the own good inner mentor). After the confrontation with and the overcoming of the innermost fears (be it rooted to a childhood abuse, a current addiction, a dysfunctional relationship …), after leaving the soothing objects behind, the process of transformation and individuation can happen. This workshop combines strategies of empowerment and individuation in Schema Therapy with a background of integrative psychotherapy and of cultural sciences, which extends the workshop into an existential dimension.

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