Today in our group session we were talking about the next step we’ll be taking with our Schema treatment. We’ve done quite a bit about memories and looking at how our schemas were formed in childhood and these have been edging towards looking at some unhappy memories or feelings.
The point of schema therapy is not to keep repeatedly dwelling on traumas to make them become bearable like how they might treat phobias (immersive therapy?) but, using imagery, to rewrite them. So that you describe what was happening in your memory and at the point where the emotions become poignant, the therapist can interject and make them into something more positive. The example from today was one of our therapists own memories at being unfairly shouted at as a small child. When her shame memories started, the other therapist interjected by putting her dad in the picture to protect her and stand up for her and reward her for doing what she, as a child, thought was right.
The idea isn’t to create new memories but just to put a bit more positive reinforcement in there. It’s based on the notion that each time we access a memory, we aren’t accessing the original event but the last time we had the memory so that over time, new emotions can be painted over the top of it – tackling the negative emotion with positive feedback.
I don’t know if I’ve explained this very well. I think my problem here is…I’m not convinced. I’m not very good at putting new people into old memories because I know that they weren’t there. I just don’t see how I can convince my inner cynic to be more imaginative with my images! And if we’re focusing on that for a while now…what am I going to achieve apart form frustration and dredging up old hurts?
But I will try because, what have I got to lose? I’ve come a long way in my therapists capable hands up to now so I guess I have to have faith.