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


Christoph Fuhrhans


WS 22-e


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


Workshop, 1 day


Christoph Fuhrhans, Winterthur /Switzerland


Recently, Schema Therapy has developed a growing interest in the differentiation of positive Inner Parent modes and, in some first steps, also of “positive” Child modes. There is an increasing discussion and it is also our experience and opinion, that the "Happy Child" mode has to be divided into two sub-modes: On the one hand the "Contented Child", whose needs for secure attachment are met, who feels loved, safe and secure, who is well cared for and nurtured by "Good Inner Parents" (cf. Farrell/Shaw, Lockwood etc.), and on the other hand there is evidence for a «Vital Child» mode, which embodies the needs for autonomy, freedom and fairness. This mode carries the “thrill of adventure” (Lockwood), challenge, risk-taking and “embarking” - but also a sense of justice, courage and coming out. In other models it is named as the “Free Child”. Interestingly, almost all modern child and adolescent book- or movie-heroes, in any language and culture, are formed according to this mode. Even more interestingly many of them don’t have (or have lost) their parents or don’t know them,  but instead have companions and mentors (from Mowgli over Heidi, Red Zora, Harry Potter and many more, until all Marvel “superheroes”. Also Jesus had, as we know, somehow problematic parental relationships… ) C. G. Jung calls these figures/this mode the archetype of the “Heavenly Child”. In terms of the schema concept, the question arises whether this mode is facilitated rather by “Good Inner Parents”, or more by Inner Mentors, Observers and a “Wise Mind”, or by both inner instances.


In the first part of this workshop, in addition to the theoretical basics, you will learn the requirements and the timing of activating the "Vital Child" mode. Autonomy, as we know, requires secure attachment.

You will be tought practical exercises - imaginations, impact techniques, combined with elements from hypnotherapy, creative writing, ACT, play therapy etc.

Since, according to Jeffrey Young, the child modes are inborn and innate, every human being bears this disposition and this resource within him/herself.


In the second part of the workshop we will learn about a mythical narrative pattern: the so called «Hero's Journey». From the cultural sciences (J. Campbell 1949) this figure found its way into arts, but also into group gestalt therapy and hypnotherapy (P. Rebilliot, S. Gilligan). As a journey of individuation, it is the structural basis of numerous films and novels, and this probably indicates the fact that the basic need for autonomy, individuation and freedom is ubiquitous in human beings as the script of our life. In terms of Schema Therapy, the "Hero" of the Hero's Journey corresponds to the Vital Child that has grown up.


You will, consequently, get an overview about using the elements of the “Hero's Journey” in individual Schema Therapy, combined with a case presentation.

Methods & Objectives:

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


  • 11/25/2022, 10:00-17:30




Online - Zoom, Online


290 Euro




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


Register now

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