The emergence of group therapy protocols has been an important development in the growth of schema therapy. Group therapy provides important curative factors, including corrective emotional learning experiences, a unique opportunity for clients to practice new behavioural and coping skills in a de-shaming environment, and opportunities for vicarious learning (Farrell, Shaw, and Webber ).
Secure Nest provides therapists with a range of tools for group schema therapy (Secure Nest for Group Therapy). By using Secure Nest in groups, therapists are able to provide a blended format of schema therapy. Using Secure Nest in groups can make your schema therapy group more interactive and promote connection even after the therapy hour.
In this journal we will focus on how to access a time-limited experiential Group Schema Therapy protocol which provides a framework for delivering blended group schema therapy. We will also provide step by step guidance on how to get started, including how to set up a group using Secure Nest (we call this the ‘Group Nest’).
The brief Group Schema Therapy protocol was developed in 2017. It is the second in a series of brief schema therapy protocols developed by Jenny Broersen and Michiel van Vreeswijk. It was recently adapted for a blended therapy format by Sally Skewes. The protocol for brief Group Schema Therapy, consists of eighteen sessions and two follow-up sessions, with a focus on experiential (experience-focused and emotion focused) strategies.
• Nine group sessions are facilitated in-person*
• Nine sessions use Secure Nest in a group online eHealth environment*
• Two (in-person) therapy follow-up sessions
* In-person and eHealth sessions alternate
The protocol is in the Library section of Secure Nest (under Blended Group Sessions). We provide clear guidelines for delivering blended group schema therapy, from one session to the next.
In the Group Nest all group members have access to information and all member’s contributions to encourage contact with each other and working together on changing schemas and maladaptive modes.
To set up a schema therapy group (using a therapist account):
‣ On the Dashboard, click on Group Admin, then click on the ‘+’ sign.
To add clients to the schema therapy group:
‣ Ensure group members have created Secure Nest accounts and linked their account with yours (you will receive emails to notify you when they have connected to your account). An email template that you can send to your clients to invite them to use Secure Nest in a group context is available in the Library (Schema Therapist Resources > Invitation Email For Group Therapy).
‣ Select the client from the Available Clients box and click on ‘>>’ to add the client to the group.
‣ In the Group Introduction space you may wish to encourage group members reflect on group processes (what is happening between members) in Group Notes. It may also be helpful to remind group members that anything shared in the group Secure Nest space is visible to other group members.
To add relevant modes for group members:
‣ Ask group members to start the Self-Education Program which is a button on the dashboard once logged in (not visible from a therapist’s account). Ask group members to select the option to create their modes but they should ensure the option for the 3 week email program is unchecked. An assessment to identify relevant schemas and coping styles is part of the self-education program.
‣ You can add or edit modes and relevant information related to modes in Workshop > My Modes. Ensure you select the client’s name from the drop-down menu before editing.
To add resources* (e.g. upload an imagery exercise for group members to listen to between sessions):
‣ Click on Group Nest on the Dashboard, click on Group Homework. Click browse to select, then upload the file. Write a brief introduction, perhaps inviting group members to listen to the recording and then writing reflections in group homework.
* If you are following the brief Group Schema Therapy protocol you are not required to add any additional homework items as all directions for group members, including homework exercises are within the sessions in Library however, the Group Homework space gives you the flexibility to customise exercises if you choose to do so.
Blended therapy is a new and innovative way of working in group therapy that can provide your clients with additional support between sessions. We are here to support your journey and invite your questions (contact us).
We offer group licenses to access Secure Nest at a discounted rate, please contact us for further details.
We invite you to share with us any experiences you have when using Secure Nest for individual or group therapy, we appreciate your support and would really like to hear your suggestions.
The Secure Nest Team