Using Secure Nest Across Phases of Schema Therapy

November 4, 2018

We recently wrote some articles on using Secure Nest with various schema therapy techniques including flashcards, schema therapy diaries and imagery.

However, we wanted to share some innovative ways you could use Secure Nest to provide support across the different phases of schema therapy.

Phase 1: Exploration of emotions, schemas & modes

Upload images to represent your personal experiences of modes for each mode in My Modes.

Watch our videos demonstrating your different modes.

Try to fill out a Mode Diary and notice when you are in touch with your Vulnerable (feeling) side. If possible check in to see if you can find out what you need.

Maybe you would like to get in touch with the feelings you had as a child? Make a drawing to illustrate your childhood experiences to see yourself and others. Which of your core emotional needs matter most in your interpersonal interactions? Please upload your illustration into a new My Journal entry.

Phase 2: Connecting with painful emotions, imagery & situations from the past

Listen to an audio recording of a safe place image in the ‘A Safe Space for the Vulnerable Child Mode’ module (page 3). Draw a picture of your Vulnerable Child. Upload the image to My Files or a new My Journal entry and practice visualising your Vulnerable Child in your safe place once each day.

Try to be aware of your own Vulnerable Child and Healthy Adult, and think of concrete ways in which your own Healthy Adult can begin to validate your own Vulnerable Child more. Share this with your therapist in Notes.

As you get to know your Vulnerable Child Mode better, it can be a helpful exercise to write this part of you a letter. It may not be easy to start writing this letter. Try to remember what you were missing at this age, and put down what you want to tell your inner child. Try to think about what you could do today to care for your Vulnerable Child Mode. You can write this letter in a My Journal entry.

Phase 3: Modes & the ways in which they impact interpersonal interactions

Notice signs regarding which modes are triggered in your relationships this week. Document them in a Mode Diary (especially noting body postures and physical signs/sensations indicating that you are in a particular mode).

Spend 15 minutes drawing up a sociogram of your current relationships (see this group session for an example). For each connection, write down which schemas or modes might be triggered in those interactions. Then spend ten minutes reflecting on each of these relationships, and consider how you might like those interactions to change going forward. Take your core emotional needs into account. Then select five people from your sociogram with whom you would like to transform your relationship. You can also include children in your sociogram. Take a photo of your sociogram and upload your photo in a My Journal entry. In the entry describe the individuals with whom you would like your relationships to change in the future. How would you like your relationships with them to change in the future?

Write a Schema Coping Awareness Plan (see Coping With Schemas) that describes which kinds of situations trigger your modes. Include the signs that make you aware a mode has been triggered, as well as how you might exit the mode. Describe how you might prevent modes from being triggered and taking over the situation. Upload the completed document to a My Journal entry.

Phase 4: Focusing on current or desired relationships

Add Calendar entries in Secure Nest to give off a daily or weekly email reminder. Use those moments to reflect on your awareness of your inner emotional world, and whether or not you are sharing it with others. Are your core emotional needs visible to the people around you?

Behavioural experiment: Choose one change that you would like to make to build your Healthy Adult Mode. It could include noticing how others in your life respond when you: Talk about something important or relevant to you – do they listen, ask questions? Attuned? Curious? Ask for an emotional need to be met? Share your experience of the exercise with your therapist by writing a My Journal entry.

Try to fill out a Mode Diary and focus on finding Healthy Adult ways of getting your emotional needs met (see our post here for some ideas).

The Secure Nest Team