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The Chess Master

by Dr Lars Madsen

The Chessplayer… the idea for this image – a variation of the Conning Manipulator mode (I think) – came from some great conversations with Rob Ert Brock-man … in forensic contexts, I have encountered this game-playing mode a lot. In my clinical experiences the clients that have this mode strongly, often grew up within institutions and typically weren’t the baddest or the most dangerous in these contexts. They were however smarter than average, and often describe ‘learning’ how to use manipulation of others early on as a way of surviving these difficult contexts and in some cases even thriving. Nowadays, I think for some mandated clients in therapy (at least early on) this mode is often also present. So how to deal with it? It’s tricky, I think that the mode model with a link the clients vulnerable side helps with reducing the ‘size’ of this mode in sessions…remembering that the mode served a purpose and was functional at one time. Also, chair work and empathic confrontation (once the rapport is established) is a good place to start with these conversations.

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