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|Schema therapy with adolescents is currently fully under development. An increasing number of therapists apply Schema Therapy in their treatment of adolescents. Little is known about Schema Therapy with children. This is unfortunate, because schemas and modes arise at an early stage in their development. Moreover, children often enact schemas and modes when they’re playing. Playing is, after all, a natural way for children to express themselves.
During play, events that have led to the formation of schemas and modes are often expressed without the child being aware of that. Unfulfilled needs (which often cannot be put into words) become apparent during the game and can be fulfilled through play. Furthermore, we can see the different modes a child has reflected in their play and this also allows the child to identify with different modes so that they can process the events.
Schema Therapy uses the way the child plays to experiment with the different modes and to change certain patterns. In mode-oriented play therapy, the therapist is actively focused on making contact with the vulnerable child within the child itself. This offers alternatives for dysfunctional coping modes and strengthens the healthy aspects of the child. The Schema Therapy techniques are applied in a playful manner.
The emphasis is on the acquisition of experiential schema therapeutic skills for the above themes. All kinds of materials are incorporated (participants are asked to bring materials such as animals, dolls, etc.).