If you find yourself repeatedly finding yourself in bad situations whether it is getting into bad relationships, struggles with addiction etc. this can be something that occurs due to certain schemas. Schema therapy is a form of therapy used in clinical psychology.
Schema therapy is a comprehensive therapy type that focuses on the emotions of the patients all the while prioritising therapeutic relationships. You can read the blog here to find out the benefits of engaging in this form of therapy. If you are suffering from certain personality disorders, this can be stemming from emotional needs that were not fulfilled during childhood. When emotional needs such as love, affection and safety are not met during childhood, it can cause emotional distress. Schema therapy is a good way of shedding light on the mental health concerns of a patient especially if it is not something that can be solved using cognitive therapy resources. Some of the personality disorders that schema therapy aims to treat are narcissistic personality disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, post traumatic stress and paranoid personality disorder. The treatment for two people will be different and this will depend on the counsellor as well.
If there is a continuous cycle of negative patterns that start from childhood, they are known as maladaptive schemas. These schemas gain power through the actions of the individual, their core beliefs and relationships they create in life. If you are experiencing negative trends in schemas such as feeling unloved or feeling like a failure, this is something that you can understand better during the sessions. When you have maladaptive schemas, it informs how you interpret life events, behaviours of other people etc. These schemas can contribute to you making bad choices in life and it can have a strong effect on the individual leading to low self-esteem and negative thoughts. The goal of schema therapy is to identify these unmet needs and fulfil them so that they can move forwards without these negative experiences holding them back.
In schema therapy, the negative emotions of the individual will be brought out so that they can accept some of the feelings and understand why they have them. It is aimed to creating a meaningful change in the individual’s life by engaging higher levels of emotions in the brain. The therapist will use flashcards during the session so that the patient can address people that have contributed to their emotional distress by writing on them. The internalised dialogue of the mind will be brought to the forefront so that the patient can learn to cope with it more productively. They will be advised to keep a schema diary so that they can understand their experiences better. Imagery and chairwork will be used as emotion focused treatment methods as well. The mental health professional that is conducting the session will identify the maladaptive schemas of the patient during the sessions and help you create a coping strategy to cope with lifetime schemas. The patient will get in touch with their schemas and therefore develop awareness of emotional regulation.