Imagery within Schema Therapy

One of the techniques we use a lot in both my group and individual Schema therapy sessions is imagery. I think I’ve spoken about the ‘safe place’ exercise before – where we picture somewhere where nothing can hurt us and we take in only who and what we want. Mine is often a meadow or a place from childhood. I rarely take anything with me – I feel safer on my own and I’m not sure yet what items I possess that feel genuinely healthy and emotive.

Yesterday in group we discussed the Punative Parent again and we all discussed why we think it is a feature in our lives, where the schema came from and what it says. Then our therapist lead an imagery exercise where we were all children together on a beach and playing in the water and sat around a fire and she told us some good things about each of us. It wasn’t something I dealt very well with. I struggle to hear nice things about myself and imagined everyone else did too. For me, it’s because I believe my PP (apparently I have what I think is called a defective parent/protector or something along those lines where I just think there is something inherently bad about me) and it sneers at me when people say nice things. So I became very upset imagining everyone else was reacting in the same way to posit1bb296e42a13deb9156d910774559b7dive things about them – when the other people in my group deserve to realise what lovely people they are. I felt so helpless in making them see that.

And today in my one to one group (and thank you to those who gave me advice last week – I told my therapist i cared and she seemed pleased to hear it) I was a child sat next to the radiator in the front room from my childhood. My therapist joined me there and we played games and ate ice cream I had cookies and cream – obv). What was the point of the exercise? To help me have fun with my younger side and to have her support there as well as now. To see I was just a child with needs and…other things that are too personal for me to talk about right now.

But it’s worth a try if you’re feeling anxious or sad – close your eyes and take yourself off somewhere safe in your mind and calm yourself until you can rationalise things. It’s good for your imagination if nothing else.

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4 thoughts on “Imagery within Schema Therapy

  1. I really like the “safe place” exercise. Mines sitting on some warm steps outdoors, as a young child, while holding hands with and leaning against my T. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 Because they’re so ingrained for me too, it helped me to “hold them apart” in my mind as though they’re real physical entities. My psych would invite me to play the Detached Protector and she’d be herself. Because according to her, my Vulnerable Child part and Healthy Adult parts are very very small and silent/quiet while Punitive Parent and Detached Protector are really loud and often present.

        That way, I can separate a bit from them and see them as “another part of the many parts that make up me”.

        Like

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