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Body Focused Therapy


    Janis Briedis

    Modes are as much somatic as they are emotional, cognitive and behavioural constructs. We all have modes which consist of patterns that have formed over many years since childhood, and somatically have become automatic movements, gestures and expressions that inform our sense of self. When there has been trauma or negative attachment experiences in the past, these patterns will often be expressed as entrenched somatic defensive actions. Each mode is likely to have specific indicators in the body, and its own verbal and non-verbal story to tell. This workshop will focus on recognizing and working with somatic aspects of modes in schema therapy, particularly when modes are difficult to access through a verbal narrative. The workshop will draw on ideas and techniques from sensorimotor psychotherapy (Ogden et al 2006), somatic experiencing (Levine, 1997), polyvagal theory (Porges, 2011) and somatic internal family systems (McConnell, 2020), and explore ways in which somatic focus can enhance the depth of therapeutic relationship, increase client’s capacity to reparent their younger selves, and access a more embodied Healthy Adult self. The proposed workshop will cover the following core topics and will use didactic components, video demonstrations and practical exercises with the group: • Drawing awareness to somatic aspects of schemas and modes • Working within the ‘Window of Tolerance’ – guidelines for working with the body safely • Somatic resources to improve emotional regulation • Techniques for directly working with the body to alter somatic patterns • Methods of enhancing existing ST techniques (imagery, chair work and flashcards) via a somatic pathway

  • Postures in chair work - using body-oriented techniques for deepening and regulating emotional activation

    Yvonne Reusch

    After a very brief introduction to body psychotherapy work and its connection to schema therapy, this workshop will focus on the practical implementation of body-oriented interventions regarding postures, movements, and breathing for emotional activation and regulation, especially in chair work. Didactically, the workshop will alternate between presentation, demonstration and small group exercises that can be used for self-therapy

  • Schema Therapy meets Alba Emoting: using body expression patterns in facilitating the healthy adult mode

    Gerd Zimmek
    Gisela Hann-Mertens

    The tasks of the healthy adult mode are manifold: parental modes must be limited, vulnerable child modes must be lovingly cared for, and excessive emotions must be regulated in a functional way. Patients often find it difficult to activate the emotional qualities necessary for this. Alba Emoting exercises can help with this through the targeted physical activation of the associated emotional patterns. Alba Emoting was developed in the late 1980s by Chilean neuropsychologist Susana Bloch. After discovering the emotional effector patterns (respiratory-posturo-facial) of six universal basic emotions, Bloch conducted numerous other studies and developed a method for teaching and learning the expression patterns for basic emotions. These make it possible to activate sadness, joy, fear, anger, tenderness and erotic love in a targeted manner and with varying intensity. Consciously noticing and using the emotional expression patterns helps to understand and regulate emotions, to unmix mixed emotions and to release emotional blocks. We use the expression patterns in schema-therapeutic work to gain a more differentiated view of body signals, to recognize emotional processes in patients more confidently, to promote the expression of feelings and underlying needs, and especially to deepen emotional processing in chair dialogues. In this skills class, participants will learn the anger and tenderness patterns and the Step Out regulatory pattern. The anger pattern facilitates access to self-empowerment energy and thus can facilitate the powerful disempowerment of dysfunctional parenting modes. The tenderness pattern allows a warm, intimate inner feeling to emerge that supports loving attention to vulnerable child modes. The Alba Emoting technique of Step Out facilitates regulation and stabilization when feelings are strong, without avoiding or suppressing them. This facilitates a functional way of dealing with difficult sensations. The patterns are practiced and experienced in the large group. In a demonstration of a disempowerment of a parent mode in chair dialogue, we show ways to integrate the body expression patterns into the schema-therapeutic work. Finally, we will introduce the exercise “Mode Sculpture”. Participants develop their individual body sculpture for the healthy adult mode by trying out different postures, gestures and facial expressions. This allows them to embody and feel their personal “blend” of the different qualities of the healthy adult mode.

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