Chair Work Techniques: Enhancing the Creativity & Emotional Impact of Your Practice

In schema therapy, there is a strong emphasis on using experiential techniques such as imagery rescripting and chair work, which are seen as more effective and transformative than just talking about problems from the client’s past and present. Using chairs as a way to embody and enact psychological aspects of a clients’ inner life, or key figures from their outer life, was popularised by Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy. Jeffrey Young incorporated similar techniques into his schema therapy model, when he developed it in the 1980s.

Young understood that, to enable healing of deep psychological wounds such as schemas, we need to bring emotion and a sense of aliveness into the consulting room. Chair work techniques offer a powerful and hugely creative means to do that, as the only limit on using experiential techniques is the therapist’s imagination (and, of course, your client’s willingness to embrace them, which often requires some motivational work).

On this one-day workshop you will learn:

  • A brief history of schema therapy and introduction to schemas and modes

  • How to introduce the concept of chair work to your clients and overcome common forms of resistance to giving it a try

  • How to use two or more chairs to work with and transform your clients’ modes, such as the Critic

  • Using chair work to enable powerful dialogues with people from your clients’s past or present-day life – for example, facilitating the expression of anger towards an abusive parent; or unprocessed grief because of a loss or bereavement

  • How to use ‘empathic confrontation’ to work with common blocks, resistance or ruptures in the therapeutic relationship

Through a combination of didactic teaching, small group work, discussion, video/live demonstrations and skills practice, you will gain confidence in using these powerful techniques to help your own clients, whichever setting or modality you work in.

If you would like me to teach this workshop for your organisation, call me on 07766 704210, email me or use the contact form to get in touch.

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