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Women's experiences of group intervention with schema therapy techniques: A qualitative process analysis

Sari, Sevda
Gençöz, Faruk
Aims Our study focused on a self-soothing system and analysed how women feeling shame experienced compassion-focused group intervention with schema therapy techniques. Group schema therapy, which is process-oriented and person-oriented (Farrell & Shaw, 2012), inspired us to combine schema therapy techniques with Compassionate Mind Training in the interventions for this study. Methods Data were collected through the programme that comprised 2-hr sessions over a period of 10 weeks and self-compassion and self-criticism diaries of women. Analysis Data analysis was conducted according to the phases of thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Twenty hours of group sessions (2 hr per session) and follow-up sessions were audio recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was conducted to analyse 26 hr of group intervention and follow-up sessions and also women's self-compassion and self-criticism diaries, to understand how shame-prone women experienced change process. Findings Thematic analysis of the group sessions yielded two superordinate themes: overcoming the threat of compassion and the process of change. Overcoming the threat of compassion was divided into three subthemes; fear of self-compassion, the difficulty of accessing the vulnerable child side, and feeling anger at others and self. The process of change involved two subthemes; the feeling of acceptance, and recognising self-compassion and its sources in the self. When the women could access their self-soothing system, they could better understand the needs of their vulnerable child side and address these needs by transferring the emotions of compassion to their vulnerable child side.