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2.15 PM - 3.45 PM

Hot Topics: Session 5 

Using patient-made videos to illustrate Modes in Schema Therapy

by Tarja Koffert


Use of video has not been common in psychotherapeutic work. We have developed a method called VideoTalk using patient-made videos facilitating psychotherapy process with schema therapy framework.

VideoTalk treatment is a structured brief therapy including 11-15 sessions. At the beginning of the therapy, a life-review is built using album photos the patient brings to the session. On the basis of the life-review work, the patient’s maladaptive schemas are summarized together. Schemas regarded by the patient as most problematic ones will be the focus of future psychotherapeutic work. Working with videos takes place at four stages: First, the patient videos him/herself at home in a typical problematic situation. At the next stage, the video is shared with the therapist. At the third stage, the patient makes a new video at home with the idea “what I learnt” when watching the video with the therapist. The fourth stage is watching the new video with the therapist and discussing how the patient can strengthen new schemas and behavior. The goal is to strengthen the patient’s Healthy Adult Mode and weaken Maladaptive Coping Modes, to break schema-driven life patterns and eventually to get his/her core emotional needs met in everyday life.

In Video Talk, patients videotape themselves at home according to the therapist’s instructions. In the therapy session, the patient and the therapist explore the video together paying attention to the connection of the patient’s dysfunctional critic and the bodily information seen and heard on the video. The method enables documentation of dysfunctional schemas and modes   in a natural environment and related to an everyday emotional context. Videos give multisensory information through various senses: the patient can see his/her changing facial expressions and bodily movements, hear his/her voice, and perhaps feel in his/her body the same tensions that can be seen on the video. Watching him/herself at a distance with the therapist gives the patient a safe opportunity to process his/her dysfunctional modes found on the life review work. When the patients realize with the help of the new visual information how negatively his/her modes are affecting him/her, he/she becomes sad. Then the link to the unmet needs can be processed with the therapist. This gives the patient the possibility to feel compassion for him/herself. In schema therapy, it is essential that patients get acquainted with their schema modes and the feelings connected to the dysfunctional mode. Using patient-made videos it is possible for the patient to be connected with e.g., his/her Vulnerable Child Mode or Punishing Parent Mode on the video. When the patient is more conscious about the disadvantages of the Maladaptive modes, he/she starts to train him/herself to build a more adaptive mode with aid of video. Thus, video material can be used as an aid to illustrate the modes.

About the Presenter:

Tarja Koffert

Tarja Koffert is a Cognitive Psychotherapy and Family Therapy Trainer in upper Specialized Level.  She has been as a Psychotherapy teacher in Turku University. She has a Degree of Adviser in Organizational Development. She has worked in a psychiatric hospital in Turku the 80’s as a head nurse (In the Management Group).  90’s in the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health. Currently she works partly as a private psychotherapist and   in the University of Turku as a researcher. She is writing a web based antenatal depression program. She is a non-fiction writer

She has used photos, photographing, and videotaping in her practise twenty years. In her practice she has developed the short therapy treatment model called VideoTalk where the patient’s role to carry out the treatment is crucial. VideoTalk method was developed together with patients. Visual material work as an aid in the psychotherapy process. The self-mirroring from the video facilitates self-observations, changes emotional processing, and leads gradually to better self-awareness.

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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