Schema Therapy Series ‘Unlocking the World of Emotions’

Metaphors and storytelling can be used to help schema therapists describe schema modes to their clients

Dr Simon Morris has written about Schema Therapy on a number of occasions at his website

Metaphors and storytelling can be used to help schema therapists describe schema modes to their clients in a way that connects with them personally. Dr Morris wrote a series of posts along these lines for Schema Therapy:

“Often there are many words for the same experience. Some people call it numb, others call it detached or dissociated. They are all referring to a state in which they are experiencing some type of emotional shutdown. In schema language we call this mode ‘detached protector’. Whatever you call it, we have all experienced it to some degree. Some people experience it as a complete emotional shutdown in which they find it hard to speak or to find words. Other people will appear completely normal from the outside, but feel dead or disconnected from their emotions on the inside. These people learn to be good actors and can ‘pass’ for long periods of time. A small number of people live permanently in their shutdown mode, rarely feeling or expressing genuine emotions.

Let me draw a mental picture to attempt to explain the role of the shutdown mode. Imagine there is a world of emotions behind a single gate. All emotions can be found and experienced behind this gate, from the most positive experiences of joy to the most devastating experiences of sadness. When the gate is unlocked, emotions can flow from the outside in, such that other people’s anger, love, sadness, etc can flow in through the gate and be felt in the world of emotions. Emotions can also flow from the inside out, such that emotions can be expressed to other people through our words, facial expressions, vocal tones or movements. A rich experience of life involves a genuine flow of emotions, as painful or dangerous as this can be. To keep a watchful eye over this flow of emotions, each gate has a Gatekeeper whose primary job is keep each person safe. Their job is to ensure the person does not become overwhelmed inside the world of emotions, and also to guard the gate from dangerous emotions forcing their way in…”

This series can be read in it’s entirety by following the below links to each part:

Unlocking the World of Emotions: Part 1

Unlocking the World of Emotions: Part 2

Unlocking the World of Emotions: Part 3

Unlocking the World of Emotions: Part 4

Unlocking the World of Emotions: Part 5

We hope you find this written series useful in framing the schema modes.

One of the key goals at Secure Nest, has been making Schema Therapy accessible (both to therapists and clients). Our website can incorporate the use of such themes for clients as it allows the inclusion of visual (icons), written mode descriptions and personalised names in the case conceptualisation.

If you haven’t already, signup for a free trial account and see how Secure Nest works (register a therapist account and then read ‘Getting started with Secure Nest‘).

The Secure Nest Team


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