Schema therapy for various forms of addiction - From Addiction to Connection

Trainer: Truus Kerstin

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

Location: Large auditorium, Gaustad Hospital in Oslo

Date: 14 to 15.03.24 May XNUMX

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

Deadline: 10.01.24

Learning Objectives

  • Have knowledge of definitions of addiction and classification in the DSM V
  • Can recognize relevant Schema Modes in their patients (with the MOS, Mode Observation Scale)
  • Can assess addictive behaviors in terms of their function and dynamics in the Schema Mode Conceptualization
  • Know the steps of treatment in working with PD and addiction
  • Are able to apply ST and CBT techniques in working with the Self-Soother, Self-Stimulator, Impulsive Child mode and some aggressive overcompensating modes

More about the course

In working with patients with personality disorders, a comorbid addictive behavior can complicate the treatment. The general guideline 'first treat the Axes I-problem (Addiction) and afterwards the Axes II-problem (Personality Disorder)', doesn't work because the addiction and personality disorder are interwoven and the addictive behavior can be an effective coping mode for underlying childhood trauma and unmet needs of the child. In this case a dual focus treatment of PD and addiction is important.

In this workshop an integrated dual focus treatment of Personality Disorders and Addiction is presented, based on Schema Mode work and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

Starting point in this treatment is an assessment phase and a mode conceptualisation of the comorbidity dynamics in terms of substance abuse and other addictive behaviors and Schema Modes.

When the comorbidity dynamics have become more clear, the treatment can start and will focus on modes like the Self-Soother, Self-Stimulator, the Angry and Impulsive child, in order to reach the vulnerable or lonely child. Also the Critical Parent is often an important mode to focus on.

In Cluster B patients the Impulsive Child, the Self-Soother and Self-Stimulator are common modes. Moreover: 'aggressive', overcompensating modes can play a role. Examples are the Self-Aggrandizer, Bully- and Attack and Conning and Manipulative Mode.

In Cluster C patients the self-soothing modes are often more hidden modes and sometimes seem less destructive. The common characteristic of Cluster C personality disorders is that anxiety dominates the functioning. Anxiety to feel and express emotions underlies the dysfunctional coping modes. In Cluster C patients the most prominent modes are the Avoidant Protector, Detached Protector, Compliant Surrender, Perfectionistic Overcontroller and Self-Aggrandizer (Arntz, 2012).

But: in some Cluster C patients there is also a Self-Soother or Self-Stimulator that can be more hidden, because it in the first instance seems 'healthy' coping behaviour. But in the second instance it appears to be coping behavior with the function of not feeling vulnerable emotions. Behaviors could be: cleaning the house, working, gambling, surfing on the internet, multitasking on smart phones and sexual activities.

This 2-day workshop is aimed at (1) analyzing PD and addictive behaviors in terms of schema mode dynamics, (2) recognizing the Self-Soother/Self-Stimulator and other relevant modes in Cluster B and C-patients, (2) working with these modes step-by-step with techniques that stem from CBT and ST; giving psycho-education and motivating the patient to stop with the self-soothing behaviour, contingency management, imagery and chair techniques to fight the parent modes and coping modes.

We will focus on how to overcome the Self-Soother and other addiction-related modes and how to reach the vulnerable and lonely child. We also pay attention to specific aspects of limited reparenting and limit setting in addicted patients. The final goal of treatment is that patients can make more connection with their own emotions (vulnerable child mode) as well as with other people.

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 course instructor

Dr. Truus Kersten works as a Psychotherapist at De Rooyse Wissel Forensic Psychiatric Center in Venray in the Netherlands. She is the leader of the Dutch Schema Therapy Training Program for therapists in Addiction and Forensic Care. Furthermore, she has developed an integrated treatment for patients with personality disorders and addiction, based on the Schema Mode


The education program is approved by the International Society of Schedule Therapy (ISST) as a counselor for international certification in form therapy.

Do you have questions?

We will be happy to answer your questions.