Joshua is currently practicing schema therapy under supervision and utilizes these techniques in his therapy with certain clients.
He will be completing his Advanced-Level Certification in the fall of 2017.
BACKSTORY: To explain Schema Therapy, it is helpful to go backwards before moving forwards. While working together, Aaron Beck (the developer of Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and Jeffrey Young realized that although CBT was able to achieve great transformations, there were certain clients for whom it wasn’t as effective. Research suggested that those people had a sense of defectiveness or inadequacy at their core. However hard they and their therapist worked at challenging their dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs, a real, lasting transformation could not be made without changing their perceived identity.
NEW APPROACH: As a result, Jeffrey Young and his colleagues developed Schema Therapy. This type of therapy has shown outstanding results in the very people Beck and Young set out to assist; those who have often tried other approaches and have noticed patterns in relationships where they kept repeating the same behavior with the same outcome of frustration, anger, sadness, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and situation avoidance. These clients then typically describe how they were never able to feel as though their needs were really met and, as a result, weren’t able to make the changes necessary for them to live a healthy, fulfilling life. The core of Schema Therapy employs various approaches, including cognitive strategies, to help clients meet their needs which have typically remained unmet from when they were young.
THERAPY: Schema Therapy helps clients understand how their schema developed and what coping strategies they have created to meet their core needs. Everyone has needs as a child. For some clients this is a surprise in itself, to discover it is okay, even healthy, to have needs as a human being! Attachment is a core fundamental need - to know and feel loved for who you are. Other legitimate needs include safety - to know and be safe, as well as to be in an environment where you can develop skills and competencies for living.
STRATEGIES used during therapy include:
· EXPERIENTIAL INTERVENTIONS: Chair work and imagery are two methods that therapists use to begin to meet the adult child's needs; using the imagination, or having conversations with another part of themselves, such as the angry part, or with another person, as if they are present, is a vital ingredient. This produces changes in the brain which have been shown in various research studies.
· PSYCHO EDUCATION: Talking about what is happening in a client's life and reframing it, or using it as an opportunity to help the client to understand their schemas and their origins, is vitally important.
· COGNITIVE: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies are useful and vital to challenge unhelpful thinking.
· BEHAVIORAL: Often, because of a client's early years or other times when they have not had needs met, a therapist may use a behavioral approach to teach a skill or confront some difficulty, whilst keeping in mind and talking about any schemas or modes that are activated.