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Schema therapy is an innovative psychotherapy for longstanding psychological disorders and disorders for which other methods have proved unsuccessful. It is an integrative approach that seeks to identify negative thoughts and behaviours and creating new and positive thoughts and behaviours. It combines many elements of cognitive, behavioural and experiential therapies which is extremely useful in dealing with chronic problems in a person’s life.
Generally there are 3 stages involved in Schema Therapy:

  1. Assessment
  2. Experential
  3. Behavioural

In the first stage, specific schemas (unhelpful beliefs and patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that were previously formed) are identified. Once the schemas are identified, your therapist will work with you to narrow down and understand how these schemas affect your day to day living. In the last phase, you and your therapist will determine the best way for dealing with the schemas and how to best achieve your goals.
Benefits of Schema Therapy
Schema therapy aims to empower you to better understand why you think and feel in certain ways. By recognising your schemas in play, it will help to change your thoughts and behaviours in a positive way. It opens the door for understanding and change.
Working with a schema therapist to recognise the dysfunctional schemas that are running your life in the background creates the opportunity for you to make positive changes of the long-held patterns. Schema therapy aims to help you get back in touch with your feelings, find better ways of dealing with your schemas and work to get your emotional needs met in healthier ways.
What is a Schema?
A maladaptive schema is “an extremely stable, enduring negative pattern that develops during childhood or adolescence and is elaborated through an individual’s life” (Bricker and Young, 2012).
Maladaptive schemas can continue to cause problems throughout life if they are not addresses.
There are 18 early maladaptive schemas

  • Emotional Deprivation
  • Abandonment/Instability
  • Mistrust/Abuse
  • Social Isolation/Alienation
  • Defectiveness/Shame
  • Failure
  • Dependence/Incompetence
  • Vulnerability to Harm and Illness
  • Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self
  • Subjugation
  • Self-Sacrifice
  • Emotional Inhibition
  • Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness
  • Entitlement/Grandiosity
  • Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline
  • Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking
  • Negativity/Pessimism