What is limited reparenting and how can it help your client?
Limited reparenting. What is it really and what are we actually trying to achieve by doing it? Hint: it’s not just about warmth.
Limited reparenting is considered the heart of schema therapy. It involves establishing a secure attachment with the client as a good parent would but within the bounds of a professional relationship. it is considered both and approach and an intervention in its own right.
It’s about attuning to and regulating the affect of the vulnerable child by meeting emotional needs through connection, warmth and nurturance (“I see you, hear you, I’m here”).
It’s not just warmth though. Limited reparenting can involve using techniques like empathic confrontation, appropriate self-disclosure and limit setting. Examples include empathically confronting overcompensating modes or setting limits on modes like the bully attack mode.
The purpose of limited reparenting is to meet needs and provide corrective emotional experiences. In doing so, it provides an antidote to the client’s schemas and modes.
The magic doesn’t stop there though. An important aim of limited reparenting is also to model the healthy adult (HA) so the client can internalise it and strengthen their own HA. This enables them to better regulate their own emotions and to grow. That’s the bit that’s gold for me-the legacy we can leave them with when we reparent.
Finally, it’s a way our clients can internalise us as their therapist so that we can stay in their hearts, long after therapy ends. I find it means they stay in my heart too ❤️
What do you love about most limited reparenting?
ARE YOU A SCHEMA THERAPIST?
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