Body-Focused Interventions in Schedule Therapy

Course instructors: Janis Briedis

Organizer: Norwegian Forum for Form Therapy in collaboration with the Norwegian Association for Cognitive Therapy

Place: Store auditorium, Gaustad Hospital in Oslo

Date: 11 September - 13 September 2024

Course fee: 7 (includes lunch every day)

Registration deadline: 10 July 2024

Course details

The workshop is designed for psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who have an understanding of the schema therapy model who wish to expand their repertoire for working with trauma and the body by incorporating simple but powerful somatically-focused interventions.

Clients with a history of early trauma and neglect often present with fragmented narratives and struggles that do not lend themselves straightforwardly to traditional therapy techniques. From the outset, it can be enormously challenging forming an alliance with clients who are 'at war' with themselves and their bodies, and who endure continuous dysregulation of their autonomic nervous system. Such clients typically have a difficult relationship with their body, sometimes manifesting as an intense fear of the body alongside a re-experiencing of traumatic memories on a somatic level. Drawing together schema therapy principles and a number of body-focused approaches, including sensorimotor psychotherapy, the Hakomi Method, somatic experiencing, polyvagal theory and somatic internal family systems, delegates will be guided to explore somatic aspects of working with their clients and integrating them within their schema therapy practice. The workshop will draw on the work of a variety of authors, including Pat Ogden, Janina Fisher, Dan Siegel, Bessel Van der Kolk, Stephen Porges, Peter Levine, Babette Rothschild, Richard Schwartz and Susan McConnell.

Topics covered at the workshop:

The three-day workshop is designed to help you:

  • Understand the role of the body in trauma – the neurobiology underpinning complex trauma, fragmentation of self and its somatic manifestations
  • Recognize and address barriers to working with the body – both for the client and the therapist
  • Track the body to identify triggers, modes and schemas
  • Understand the principles of working safely – helping clients stay within their Window of Tolerance while processing traumatic material
  • Access the client's own and develop new somatic resources for stabilization
  • Work on the therapist's own body awareness to enhance self-regulation and to facilitate higher levels of attunement with and co-regulation of the clients in the therapeutic space
  • Work with the critic and coping modes via the body
  • Utilize body techniques in the work with dissociation
  • Enhance healing of the traumatized child modes with the help of the body
  • Working with non-verbal infant modes
  • Enrich imagery, chair work and flashcard techniques with a somatic focus
  • Develop body focused strategies for working with anger
  • Apply somatic interventions for boundary setting and the development of a stronger sense of self
  • Facilitate clients' development of an embodied Healthy Adult and Playful Child modes


Methods of learning

The course is designed to give you an introduction to incorporating body-focused strategies into schema therapy, and will provide you with the theoretical foundation as well as a wealth of practical strategies. It will be an intensive, interactive and stimulating course requiring active participation from delegates who will be asked to do exercises with their own bodies including imagery, movement and working in small groups/pairs/triads. Due to the content covered, participants may find some of the material emotional and personally relevant. The purpose of the course is not to train you as a schema or body therapist. Neither is the purpose self-therapy although it is highly likely that the course material will touch you personally. The techniques taught on the course do not necessitate the use of physical touch (other than self-touch), however this is left to the discretion of the individual participant.

The following teaching methods will be used:

  • Lectures with slides
  • Large and small group discussions
  • Discussion of clinical cases
  • Video materials
  • Live demonstrations with delegates
  • Practical exercises in pairs



Participants may be interested in reading the following literature prior to attending the workshop:

  • Briedis, J. & Startup, H. (2020). Somatic perspective in Schema Therapy: The role of the body in the awareness and transformation of modes and schemas. In Heath, G. & Startup, H. (Eds). Creative methods in schema therapy: Advances and innovations in schema therapy. Abington: Routledge.
  • Dana, D. & Porges, S. (2018). The polyvagal theory in therapy: Engaging the rhythm of regulation. New York, NY: Norton.
  • Ogden, P., Minton, K., & Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy. New York, NY: WW Norton.
  • Levine, PA (1997). Waking the tiger: Healing trauma. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
  • Van der Kolk, BA (1994). The body keeps score: Memory and the evolving psychobiology of posttraumatic stress. New York: Penguin.

A further reading and resource list will be provided at the workshop.

Approved by

Norsk Psykologforening has approved the education in Schema Therapy as a compulsory program for the specialty in psychotherapy. The Norwegian Psychology Association approved this course as 16 hours maintenance-active. The course will be applied for as an optional specialist and postgraduate course of the Specialization Committee in Psychiatry and the Speciality Committee in General Medicine by the Norwegian Medical Association.

Briefly on Schema Therapy

Transdiagnostic psychotherapy model
Evidence-based and integrative treatment method
Recent research shows that Schema Therapy is very suitable for the treatment of relationship problems, personality disorders and complicated psychiatric conditions.

About the course leader

Janis is a Consultant Psychologist chartered by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and has worked in the National Health Service (NHS) and private practice for many years. He is an ISST accredited advanced level Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer. He is a Level II trained Sensorimotor Psychotherapist. Janis is also a cognitive behavioral (CBT), EMDR, IFS, mindfulness and compassion-focused therapist, and regularly teaches schema therapy, CBT, trauma-focused approaches and mindfulness in a variety of NHS and academic settings such as the University of East London , University of Hertfordshire and Essex University. Janis has worked in primary care, drug and alcohol, LGBT services, community mental health teams and specialist psychology services and has a wide range of clinical experience working particularly with complex trauma, dissociation, personality disorders and relationship difficulties. Janis is also an advanced accredited Group Schema Therapist and has run Schema Therapy Groups in the NHS.


The education program is approved by the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST) as a counselor for international certification in Schema Therapy. This course is mandatory to be certified.


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