Schema Therapy Techniques: Imagery

September 30, 2018

This series of posts in the Secure Nest Journal will focus on how schema therapy techniques can be used on and enhanced by our platform. George Lockwood describes imagery on the International Society of Schema Therapy’s website.

Imagery exercises involve being guided through one’s imagination of a safe place or situation from the past. Guided imagery is often used early in schema therapy to more clearly and deeply understand schemas and modes. As George Lockwood wrote this is accomplished by:

1. Eliciting upsetting childhood memories in the form of images of experiences with mother, father and other significant people.

2. Asking the client to carry on dialogues with these people.

3. Asking the client what he/she needs from significant others and understanding these needs in terms of the associated schemas.

4. Asking the client to identify what current situations have the same emotions as the images from early childhood and, thus, clarifying the links between early memories and current triggers of schemas and modes.

Imagery is also often an important element of the change phase. In imagery, the client imagines him or herself having a new kind of emotional experience by means of ‘rescripting.’ Through the process of rescripting painful memories are revised in ways that allow for the client to get their needs met. In imagery exercises the client prepares a safe place for him or herself, where they can be seen and validated by the Healthy Adult.

Using Secure Nest you can support your client to develop their Healthy Adult Mode by providing centralised access to the imagery exercises from the sessions. By listening to the recordings of imagery exercises in-between sessions clients can strengthen their emotional connection to the therapist and further process the experiences from the sessions.

Secure Nest also provides access to a range of built-in imagery exercises (forming part of the schema therapy self-education program) which could help individuals to better understand their feelings and core emotional needs.

The Secure Nest Team