Empatic confrontation

Trainer: Neele Reiss and Erlend Aschehoug

organizer: Norwegian Forum for Forensic Therapy in collaboration with the Norwegian Association for Cognitive Therapy

Location: Large auditorium, Gaustad Hospital in Oslo

Date: 21 - 22 September 2023

Course fee: 5 000, - (includes lunch both days)

Deadline: 01.09.23

After this workshop participants can:

  • Participants are able to distinguish maladaptive Coping Modes from other modes.
  • Participants can learn about the steps of empathic confrontation for maladaptive coping modes.
  • Understanding of suicidal ideation and its connection to Coping Modes.
  • Development of an awareness towards one's own maladaptive reactions to our patient's Coping Modes.

More about the module

In this workshop the steps of empathic confrontation in Schema Therapy will be outlined to the participants. Differences in the empathic confrontation of various maladaptive coping modes will be highlighted and discussed with the participants. Difficult situations with patients in maladaptive coping modes in the treatment room and the empathic confrontation of the coping mode in these situations will be demonstrated.

One specific focus of the workshop will be suicidal ideation as one pattern associated with Detached Protector Mode that is often difficult for therapists to confront empathically. Participants will be given the opportunity to try the different steps in empathic confrontation in small group role plays.

Maladaptive coping modes such as Detached Protector or Self-Aggrandizer Mode are the cause of major difficulties treating patients with various personality disorders. Rigid behavior patterns associated with these modes significantly influence other people's, even therapist's, reactions, often triggering them to behave in ways that reinforce the patient's maladaptive schemas.

Being specifically tailored towards changing maladaptive coping modes, empathic confrontation is a therapeutic intervention in Schema Therapy that is part of limited reparenting and at the same time a mode change strategy in its own right. Empathic confrontation can be defined as the therapist's approach to addressing maladaptive coping modes and associated behaviors, with empathy for how they developed biographically, balanced by confronting these modes and behaviors as needing to change for the patient to have a healthy life. It is a critical and difficult intervention for accomplishing the overall goal of Schema Therapy- to help patients get their adult needs met in a healthy manner – as it points out the negative effects of their currently used unhealthy mode driven behaviors and assists them in learning and using more adaptive behaviours.

Empathic confrontation is based on the principle of limited reparenting: the strong connection between therapist and patient, in which the therapist repeatedly shows the patient that he or she has the patient's best interest at heart and has good intentions when confronting maladaptive coping mode behaviors.

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.


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.

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.

Neele Reiss

Neele Reiss, PhD, is a senior clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at the department of psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany and in private practice. She is the scientific director of the Institute of Psychotherapy in Mainz (ipsti-mz).

Erlend Aschehoug

Erlend Aschehoug is a specialist in clinical psychology since 2007. Work at the Clinic for psychological treatment with individual therapy and group therapy. Works as a supervisor in cognitive behavioral therapy and Schema Therapy

Do you have questions?

We will be happy to answer your questions.