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  • Writer's pictureTena Davies, Clinical Psychologist, Certified Schema Therapist

How the humble jar can lift your reparenting game

The humble jar is a great way to reinforce reparenting assistant across stages of therapy.

Early in therapy, I give some clients a jar as a transitional object to hold my reparenting messages. For example, when debriefing imagery, I’ll ask clients what messages landed with them and write these messages on post its. For homework, I might ask them to refer to the post its when they feel triggered. For example, I had a client who was going to a job interview. We did some imagery regarding this and at the end I asked them what landed message with them (e.g., your worth is not contingent on getting this job). I wrote the message on a post it and they took it their bag when they attended the interview and then stored it in their jar.



Later in therapy, I use the jar to help them develop their healthy adult mode. I might ask the client to close their eyes and imagine themselves speaking directly to their VC and support them if they become stuck. As they speak, I write down the messages, which they store in their jar and come back to when needed. They can even add to through the week to further develop their healthy adult mode.



In the final stages of therapy, I might use the jar to support behavioural interventions and build confidence. If they have social isolation, they could write something they’re proud of about attending a social event – for example, saying hello when approaching a group. Or for the dependence incompetence schema collecting moments when they tried their best to complete an everyday task on their own (e.g., such as pay a bill, learn how to cook something etc.).


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I tend to use different colour post it’s because it makes the jar more colourful but you could use pieces of paper if you prefer. If you’d rather not use a jar, a notebook or sturdy envelope also works well.


Tena Davies is a clinical psychologist and advanced certified schema therapist, supervisor and trainer. She works with adults in Melbourne, Australia. Tena enjoys supervising other therapists for both general and schema therapy accreditation supervision. To access free resources and learn more about schema therapy see www.tenadavies.com




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