How to enhance your parts therapy

I love parts therapy, I always have, it has always appealed to me. This is possibly due to the psychodynamic roots of it and my background in psychodynamic therapy. I have always enjoyed using it with clients for a range of presentations, however when I was doing my CBT training I did some workshops on third wave CBT therapies and fell in love with a type of therapy called schema therapy. I loved it as it brought together the best aspects of CBT and psychodynamic work. The thing that struck a cord with me when I was on the training was the use of working with aspects of the person's unconscious mind. Referred to as schemas rather than parts. From this I have adapted my parts therapy work in reflection of this. The maladaptive parts or schema domains are labeled into different segments:

Disconnection/rejection includes five schemas:

  • abandonment/instability

  • mistrust/abuse

  • emotional deprivation

  • defectiveness/shame

  • social isolation/alienation.

Impaired autonomy and/or performance includes four schemas:

  • dependence/incompetence

  • vulnerability to harm or illness

  • enmeshment/undeveloped self

  • failure.

Impaired limits includes two schemas:

  • entitlement/grandiosity

  • insufficient self-control and/or self-discipline

Other-directedness includes three schemas:

  • subjugation

  • self-sacrifice

  • approval-seeking/recognition-seeking.

Overvigilance/inhibition includes four schemas:

  • negativity/pessimism

  • emotional inhibition

  • unrelenting standards/hypercriticalness

  • punitiveness.

These are referred to as maladaptive schemas and there are also schema modes which are mind states that every human being experiences. These are very much the control centres of a persons psyche where the maladaptive schemas above manifest from:

  • Angry child is fueled mainly by feelings of victimisation or bitterness, leading towards negativity, pessimism, jealousy, and rage. While experiencing this schema mode, a patient may have urges to yell, scream, throw/break things, or possibly even injure him/herself or harm others. The angry child schema mode is enraged, anxious, frustrated, self-doubting, feels unsupported in ideas and vulnerable.

  • Impulsive child is the mode where anything goes. Behaviors of the impulsive child schema mode may include reckless driving, substance abuse, cutting oneself, suicidal thoughts, gambling, or fits of rage, such as punching a wall when "triggered" or laying blame of circumstantial difficulties upon innocent people. Unsafe sex, rash decisions to run away from a situation without resolution, tantrums perceived by peers as infantile, and so forth are a mere few of the behaviors which a patient in this schema mode might display. Impulsive child is the rebellious and careless schema mode.

  • Detached protector is based in escape. Patients in detached protector schema mode withdraw, dissociate, alienate, or hide in some way. This may be triggered by numerous stress factors or feelings of being overwhelmed. When a patient with insufficient skills is in a situation involving excessive demands, it can trigger a detached protector response mode. Stated simply, patients become numb in order to protect themselves from the harm or stress of what they fear is to come, or to protect themselves from fear of the unknown in general.

  • Abandoned child is the mode in which a patient may feel defective in some way, thrown aside, unloved, obviously alone, or may be in a "me against the world" mindset. The patient may feel as though peers, friends, family, and even the entire world have abandoned him/her. Behaviours of patients in abandoned child mode may include (but are not limited to) falling into major depression, pessimism, feeling unwanted, feeling unworthy of love, and perceiving personality traits as irredeemable flaws. Rarely, a patient's self-perceived flaws may be intentionally withheld on the inside; when this occurs, instead of showing one's true self, the patient may appear to others as "egotistical", "attention-seeking", selfish, distant, and may exhibit behaviours unlike their true nature. The patient might create a narcissistic alter-ego/persona in order to escape or hide the insecurity from others. Due to fear of rejection, of feeling disconnected from their true self and poor self-image, these patients, who truly desire companionship/affection, may instead end up pushing others away.

  • Punitive parent is identified by beliefs of a patient that he/she should be harshly punished, perhaps due to feeling "defective", or making a simple mistake. He/she may feel that he/she should be punished for even existing. Sadness, anger, impatience, and judgment are directed to the patient and from the patient. The punitive parent has great difficulty in forgiving him/herself even under average circumstances in which anyone could fall short of his/her standards. The punitive parent does not wish to allow for human error or imperfection, thus punishment is what this mode seeks.

  • Healthy adult is the mode that Schema Therapy aims to help a patient achieve as the long-lasting state of well-being. The healthy adult is comfortable making decisions, is a problem-solver, thinks before acting, is appropriately ambitious, sets limits and boundaries, nurtures self and others, forms healthy relationships, takes on all responsibility, sees things through, and enjoys/partakes in enjoyable adult activities and interests with boundaries enforced, takes care of his/her physical health, and values him/herself. In this schema mode the patient focuses on the present day with hope and strives toward the best tomorrow possible. The healthy adult forgives the past, no longer sees him/herself as a victim (but as a survivor), and expresses all emotions in ways which are healthy and cause no harm.

If people are interested anything by Dr.Jeffery Young is a very good read and can be easily be utilised within a hypnotherapy protocol.

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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