Imagery Assessment & Schema Focused Therapy

Imagery Assessment was the input for the ACT Counselling Services ‘Practising Schema Focused Therapy’ course yesterday evening. Again, on creating and delivering the input we were reminded how powerful imagery assessment is. Imagery Rescripting etc is arguably more powerful and we will focus on this in a future blog.

So what is the value of Imagery Assessment and why is it used in Schema Therapy?

A girl in a therapy session with her therapists

It is important within the Assessment and Education phase of Schema Focused Therapy that the client’s Schemas are accurately identified. The mistake that a lot of Practitioners make is that they provide the client with extensive information and psycho-education as regards schemas. They then administer one or more inventories to help identify the client’s schemas. At this point, if the client’s hypothesised schemas match with the high scoring schemas on the inventories then the Practitioner is satisfied that enough information has been gathered to state with surety that ‘this is one of your schemas.’

How are Schemas stored?

The above, of course, is not enough. How can it be? All of the above is related to logic, words and numbers. This is the fundamental flaw as schemas are stored deep in the reptilian part of our brains, in the amygdala. Schemas are stored in early childhood with images and a high-level of emotion attached to them. Thus, they are not stored with any logic, words, numbers or explanations attached to them. As a result, schemas must be triggered and felt by the client on an emotional level before the client and therapist can be sure that this is a schema belonging to the client.

Imagery Assessment is the main assessment methodology that is used to identify schemas accurately. To find out more about this technique, see how it is used, and practise using it, please refer to our ‘Practising Schema Focused Therapy’ short course information section of this website, where course information and booking instructions can be found.

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