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The Vital Child and the Hero's Journey - Working with the Resource "Autonomy" in Schema Therapy


Christoph Fuhrhans


WS 22-9



Currently, there is an increasing discussion in Schema Therapy about the differentiation of positive Inner Parent modes and, consequently, also about the differentiation of positive Child modes.

 There are reasons to divivide the "Happy Child" mode into (at least) two submodes. On the one hand, there is the "Contented Child" whose need for a secure attachment is met, who feels loved and safe and who is cared for and nurtured by "Good Inner Parents" – (cf. Joan Farrell/Ida Shaw,  George Lockwood). .

On the other hand there is a mode we could name the «Vital Child» or „Free Child“, in which the fulfilled basic needs for autonomy, freedom and fairness are embodied. This mode stands for risk and departure, for „embarkement“, but also for the sense of justice, for courage and for coming coming out.

Interestingly enough, almost all modern »heroes« og children's and youth books correspond to this mode. Many many of the protagonists lost their parents or never had them, but instead have companions and mentors (e.g. Harry Potter, Heidi, Red Zora). The question arises whether this mode corresponds to Inner Mentors, Inner Observers, Cheerleaders and a kind of “Wise Mind” – more than to “Good Inner Parents” on the Healthy Adult side.


In this workshop, in addition to the theoretical basics, wewill teach the requirements and the timing for activating the "Vital Child" mode.

Practical exercises will presented and trained - with imagination techniques, impact techniques, elements of creative writing, elements of hypnotherapy, etc. to activate this mode.

Since, according to Jeffrey Young, the child modes are innate, theoretically every human being has this disposition and resource within them.


Finally, we will take a look at another area, the cultural history of myths. All myths follow a common structural principle, which Joseph Campbell (1949) called "The Hero's Journey." This journey of individuation, the structure of which forms the basis not only of myths but also of numerous modern films and novels, has also found its way into Gestalt Therapy (Paul Rebilliot, Stephen Gilligan) as a group self-awareness.

In terms of Schema Therapy, the "Hero" of the Hero's Journey corresponds to the Vital Child that has grown up. The popularity of this archetype is probably also a reflection of the fact that the basic needs for autonomy, individuation and freedom are inherent in all human beings and want to be realized.

We will see when and at what time, and above all how, in individual therapy, the 7 steps of the Hero's Journey can be used to activate an "Adventure and Departure mode".

Methoden und Ziele:

Power Point presentation, handout, exercises in small groups in BO rooms

Workshop in English language


  • 25.11.2022, 10:00-17:30 Uhr


freie Plätze verfügbar


Online - Zoom


290 CHF
(für diesen Kurs gibt es leider keine reduzierte Teilnahmegebühr für Clienia-Mitarbeiter)


For participants from ISST B-countries the fee will be 50%


Jetzt zur Anmeldung ...

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