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The Schema Therapy Bulletin

The Official Publication of the International Society of Schema Therapy

Meet the ISST Board - Eckhard Roediger

by Vivian Francesco

1. What role do you play on the ISST board? What made you want to accept that role?

From the very beginning in Coimbra, Portugal in 2008, I have been a board member and was involved in its onset. When Wendy decided that she didn´t want to run for another board term she asked me if I could imagine becoming her successor. It took me a little while to consider this offer but finally she convinced me that I should not underestimate my talents. I hope she was right….

2.How did you first learn about Schema Therapy?

I first heard about Schema Therapy from a friend of mine who attended a workshop of Jeff Young in London in the spring of 2002. This friend said to me “Eckhard, what you are doing is very close to Schema Therapy.” (I was already working with “parts of the self”)  After getting deeper into the issue I have to admit that Schema Therapy has much more to offer and learning from Jeff   has taken me far beyond my horizon!

3. What were you doing (professionally) before you heard about Schema Therapy? (position/job/population/practice style or therapeutic model)

I am trained equally in Psychodynamic and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and I have always tried to integrate both perspectives. I met Klaus Grawe in 1996 and his integrative conceptual framework of psychotherapy gave me a compass for my attempts at searching for an integrative approach. He was a famous researcher in German speaking countries but although his major textbook has been translated into English almost nobody took notice of him. Jeff´s model to a great extend overlaps with his theory and I regard Schema Therapy as the practical application of Grawe´s theoretical framework. So this is the basis of my conceptual contributions to the ST model.

4.​How did you get your training in Schema Therapy​

Henry Berbalk invited Jeff for some workshops and supervision meetings and most of the training directors that lead the German ST-training centers participated in these trainings. In addition to that, Henry supervised our inpatient treatment unit in Berlin from 2004 onward where we worked hard to get deeper into the details of the model and its practical application.

5.In your clinical work how do you use Schema Therapy? -How did you first get into Schema Therapy? What challenges do you see Schema Therapy facing?

In my daily work with patients I almost solely apply ST. From the beginning I felt quite familiar with its essence and it felt like “coming home” or like a fish in the sea. I can say I am living Schema Therapy every day!

6.How has schema therapy changed your practice? (with   some specifics-the way you assess patients? the way you view patients and their issues? the relationships you form with patients? Treatment outcomes? The clients you choose to work with? etc.)

The framework for my case conceptualizations became clearer and the experiential techniques brought a new “drag” into my work leading to a deeper emotional experience and a “felt shift” within the sessions for both the patients and me. In the clinic in Berlin we developed a computer based diagnostic program including all relevant questionnaires available for the public now. It makes the case conceptualization much easier. I feel ST actually works with all Axis-II-disorders.

Besides that, working with the ST model enriched my personal life very much – more than all the self-therapy I have gone through; especially in dealing with my wife!!

7. What do you see in the future for the evolution of Schema Therapy  ​and the ISST?

I see a chance to refine the model and the use of the techniques in detail. In the couples book recently published together with Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco and Bruce Stevens I tried to work out the theoretical underpinnings of the model a bit more but I still see the chance to connect our case conceptualization and techniques more with the relational frame theory and contribute together with DBT and ACT to the development of contextual science based (so called 3rd wave) therapies. This is a very promising development going beyond conventional CBT. ST could become an essential part of this strong movement.

8. How do you enjoy spending your time when you're not doing Schema Therapy?

I am still involved in raising our 3 kids. If I am not writing books on ST, I am spending time with my wife, meeting friends, gardening and singing in a choir – a really nice social experiment!

9. ​How do you get into your "happy child mode"?

In the activities outlined above,  mostly with my wife for more than 30 years now,  I enjoy nature very much, meeting friends and taking part in the cultural events of a moderately big city like Frankfurt. Life is beautiful!!

10. Are there any other thoughts or ideas you would like to share with the ISST Family?

Most of all I hope that we manage to apply the principles of ST on ourselves when it comes to solving conflicts among ourselves. In addition to that I think we need a good balance between keeping the core of the model straight while remaining open to including new ideas and techniques. The board is working hard to improve the structures and services for our members step by step and to invite more members to participate.

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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