Working with Trauma & Complex Cases: A Schema Therapy-Informed Approach to Formulation & Treatment

The schema therapy model was originally developed by Jeffrey Young in the 1980s to work with Borderline Personality Disorder – and it remains one of the few approaches proven to help people with this highly challenging presentation. Although the model has been adapted and expanded over time, to work with any longstanding or hard-to-treat psychological problem, it remains one of the most effective approaches available to treat problems related to trauma, abuse and neglect. As a transdiagnostic approach, present-day schema therapy focuses more on the specific nature of a clients’ schemas and modes, rather than focusing on any particular diagnosis or narrow definitions of a person’s presenting problems – this makes it uniquely suited to working with even the most challenging and complex presentations.

Schema therapy offers a rich, theoretically sophisticated approach to working with highly complex cases, including personality problems, ‘treatment-resistant’ depression and anxiety disorders, addiction, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, dissociation, self-harm and trauma. Many of the ways of formulating and treating these problems can be integrated into your own approach to counselling or psychotherapy, whichever setting or modality you work in.

This one-day workshop will teach you:

  • An introduction to the schema therapy model, as well as how to assess and understand schema and modes

  • How to formulate complex cases in terms of schemas and modes, providing structure and clarity for even the most challenging or ‘impossible’ cases

  • How to use the schema-mode model, draw up a ‘mode map’ and work on common modes like the Punitive Parent, Detached Self-Soother or Angry Child that our most complex clients often present with

  • The unique challenges of working with trauma and why ‘less is more and slow is fast’ when working with traumatised clients

  • How to use experiential techniques like chair work and imagery to provide deep, schema-level healing in your clients’ minds and bodies

  • How to understand and work with dissociation and dissociative disorders, which is a crucial aspect of helping people overcome trauma and complex presentations

  • Why the relationship is a crucial therapeutic ingredient in all therapy, but especially when working with highly anxious, avoidant, angry or challenging clients

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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