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Gisela Henn-Mertens

Gisela Henn-Mertens

Graduate Psychologist, Psychological Psychotherapist, Cologne. Studied psychology and education at the Universities of Mainz and Münster until 1996, trained in CBT, licensed as a psychological psychotherapist in 2003. Since then working in private practice in Cologne. 2006-2009 advanced training in schema therapy with Heinrich Berbalk, Jeffrey Young and other lecturers in schema therapy. ISST Certification as a supervisor and trainer. Since 2016 Training director of the Cologne Institute for Schema Therapy (IST-K Schematherapie Köln). Training in Alba Emoting with Dr. Sergio Lara since 2019, advanced level.
Full ISST membership. ISST Certification as Trainer/Supervisor for Individuals

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

    Co-Presented with Gerd Zimmek
    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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