Blog 1 – Somebody’s Watching Us!
Hi everyone! This is David. In this blog, I will be providing tips for using the iModes and also talk about how the iModes can provide insights into issues that we face as therapists and clients, and more generally, for all of us, as we attempt to navigate this perplexing world in our many roles: parents, partners, colleagues, friends, caregivers, and so on. But first, quiz question of the day: “Which mode is this?” (photo taken at the British Museum). Answer at the end of the blog!
“How do I introduce the iModes to my clients?”
The iModes are a flexible and creative tool. You can introduce them, and use them, in any way that you like to optimize the client’s experience. I encourage you to try different ways of using them. Please inform us on your tips about what works!
There are at least three ways to introduce the iModes to your clients: 1) give her the set of iModes and let her explore the cards; 2) give a general explanation of how schema modes work (i.e., psychoeducation), using the iModes; and 3) let her use the iModes to describe the modes of a third person who is known to the client. The most common way to introduce the iModes is to simply hand the client the set of cards and ask her to explore them in her own way. The therapist provides only a short explanation of modes, making sure to keep the explanation simple. She explains that the client can best discover the meaning of modes herself by exploring the cards.
You might provide an explanation like the following one: “You’ve been telling me in the sessions so far about some of the things that you are struggling with, like… There are some cards that I work with that I have found can help people to understand themselves better, to see where they run into problems, and how they can overcome them. The idea is that everyone reacts differently in different situations. Different situations bring out different sides of us. We all have different sides, which we call ‘schema modes’. They aren’t literally sides, that’s just a name that we use for the fact that people think, feel, and behave differently in different situations. The technical name is ‘modes’. “The cards are pretty self-explanatory. Take a look through them. They have picture on one side, and the name of the mode and a short description of it on the other side. Just explore the cards in your own way, according to your own learning style. See if there are any modes that you recognize in yourself.”
In the second method, you give a general explanation of how schema modes work (i.e., psychoeducation), using the iModes. In other words, you explain how modes typically develop and function, without relating them specifically to the client. Inevitably, however, the client begins to relate the cards to himself, which can lead to fruitful discussions. In giving psychoeducation, the therapist selects the cards that she thinks are likely to be involved in the patient’s problems. Usually, the therapist starts with the child modes, as these represent the origins of the client’s problems, and then explains how the coping modes developed to protect the client by avoiding, surrendering, or overcompensating.
In the third method, the therapist invites the client to examine the cards and select the ones that she sees in another person. For example, you might invite her to select the cards that she recognizes in her boss at work, her partner, mother, teenage child, and so forth. The second and third methods are sometimes preferable when clients might get overwhelmed if asked early in the therapy to recognize their own schema modes by selecting the cards that apply to them. They enable the client to get some experience with the cards, before using them to explore her own modes.On the other hand, many clients have little difficulty using the iModes to recognize their own schema modes even in the first few sessions. The images are very easy to relate to. One client compared the iModes to a mirror: “It holds up a mirror that helps you see who you are.”I hope that these tips help get you started with using the iModes. Additionally, we are pleased to announce David’s new book “Using the iModes in Schema Therapy and beyond: 25 ways to make therapy more effective”. The book will be launched within a couple of days. Good luck with your therapy!
Here is the answer to the quiz question of the day:
This mode involves focusing attention to detect a (perceived) threat. I must admit that my daughter wasn’t the only one who was a little startled to discover that we were being watched!
See you next time!