What is schema therapy?
Schema therapy focuses on addressing patterns that are no longer working for you. In psychology, schemas are the beliefs, feelings, and attitudes you have about yourself, others, and the world around you. For example, think of damaging emotional beliefs or persistent patterns. These schemas can be or become the cause of mental health problems and harmful behaviors. We might describe these dysfunctional schemas as ‘traps’.
During schema-focused therapy, you’ll learn to identify your current patterns and traps. You’ll develop an understanding of your emotional needs and feelings. It is an intuitive therapy, where the therapist combines different types of therapy. It all depends on what your needs are. The goal: Breaking ingrained patterns.
How do unhelpful schemas come about?
Most schemas develop during childhood. They arise because your basic needs aren’t adequately met as a child. This creates frustration and causes psychological symptoms. A child’s basic needs include:
Play and spontaneity
A child’s basic needs might not be met due to violence, abuse, mistreatment, bullying, or a lack of love. Too much or too little attention is also harmful: In other words, a lack of care and attention is harmful, but so is being overprotective of a child.
How does schema therapy work?
During schema-focused therapy, a psychologist tries to give you back a piece of what you missed out on as a child. This is done in a warm and understanding manner. In this way, the therapist tries to work with you to repair the schema.
In addition, schema therapy uses a variety of different techniques. These are all aimed at giving you insight into your emotional needs and feelings. And to ultimately break your unhelpful patterns.
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