Schema therapy helps you change long-term life patterns
Schema therapy consists of identifying your early maladaptive schema, coping styles and modes, and systematically confronting and challenging them.
Schema therapy can address a whole range of issues from eating disorders to depression. It is most commonly used for long-standing problems. The engrained nature of long-term issues can make it necessary to understand what early experiences and patterns of thinking helped these problems to appear, then continue like a self-fulfilling prophesy☹.
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- Identify and begin healing schemas
- identify and address coping styles that get in the way of emotional needs
- change patterns of feelings and behaviors that result from schemas
- learn how to get your core emotional needs met in healthy, adaptive ways
- learn how to cope (in a healthy way) with frustration and distress when certain needs can’t be met
A schema is an extremely stable, enduring negative pattern that develops during childhood or adolescence and is elaborated throughout an individual’s life. We view the world through our schemas. Schemas are important beliefs and feelings about oneself and the environment which the individual accepts without question. They are self-perpetuating, and are very resistant to change. For instance, children who develop a schema that they are incompetent rarely challenge this belief, even as adults.
Schema patterns usually don’t go away without therapy
Overwhelming success in people’s lives is often still not enough to change the schema. The schema fights for its own survival, and, usually, quite successfully. It’s also important to mention the importance of needs in schema formation and perpetuation. Schemas are formed when needs are not met during childhood and then the schema prevents similar needs from being fulfilled in adulthood. For instance a child whose need for secure attachments is not fulfilled by his parents may go for many years in later life without secure relationships.
Even though schemas persist once they are formed, they are not always in our awareness. Usually they operate in subtle ways, out of our awareness. However, when a schema erupts or is triggered by events, our thoughts and feelings are dominated by these schemas. It is at these moments that people tend to experience extreme negative emotions and have dysfunctional thoughts.
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