It’s time we all understood what our schemas are!
Posted by admin 11:39 pm, 10 November 2014
Based on our earliest experiences with our primary caregivers, we tend to form fixed
beliefs and expectations about how likable and deserving we are, how
safe or dangerous the world is, and also how we expect others to treat us.
American psychologist Jeffrey Young is the founder of schema therapy and called these 'rules' of
living and the way we view the world as “SCHEMAS.” While not all schemas cause harm, those that are overly rigid, self-critical, fear-based,
hostile, or negative can interfere with our lives and most importantly our relationships.
When these negative schemas are activated or triggered, we are no longer in the
present and instead we tend to react by these rules, which are often fear-based,
mistrustful, and extreme. For example, you may yell at your spouse or children, get
irrationally angry, or feel too ashamed to take care of yourself when
criticized. You also may unconsciously choose a partner with a
matching schema, so your negative beliefs get fulfilled.
What Are Some Common Schemas?
EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION - You don't believe that other people are
capable of or motivated to respond to your emotional needs. You
automatically take care of others, while building up resentment and
loneliness over time.
SELF-SACRIFICE - You feel over responsible for the wellbeing of
others. You put your own needs aside in order to care for others and
in so doing, don't give them the opportunity to experience
consequences of their actions and change.
VULNERABILITY TO HARM - You are not able to trust your successes,
relationships, financial security, or abilities, believing they can be
taken from you at any moment and you won't be able to cope.
ENTITLEMENT - You believe you deserve special treatment or that
you have to fulfill your needs and desires. You experience "wants"as
"needs" and can get needy and demanding.
DEFECTIVENESS - You feel there is something wrong with you, that
you are unlovable, incompetent, or "bad." You don't trust your own
judgment and don't feel you deserve good treatment.
ABANDONMENT - You fear that partners or friends will leave you.
You may inhibit yourself and avoid showing your true feelings for fear
it will cause others to reject you. You don;t feel that loved ones can
tolerate knowing how you really feel or who you really are.
Schemas limit our lives and relationships in the following ways:
We behave in ways that maintain them.
We interpret our experiences in ways that make them seem true,
even if they really aren’t.
In efforts to avoid pain, we restrict our lives so we never get
to test them out
We sometimes overcompensate and act in just as rigid,
oppositional ways that interfere with our relationships.
How Schema Therapy Helps and What You Can Do
1. Schema Therapy can help you to figure out what your underlying
schemas are and what the experiences were that created and maintained
2. Schema Therapy helps you change the schemas by understanding and
validating your core needs that weren't met in childhood or previous
3. You learn to identify the experiences that trigger you and how to
cope in healthier ways than avoiding, succumbing, or overcompensating.
You understand the sphere of influence of your schemas. Some people
may be fine at work but struggle in intimate relationships and so on.
4. You learn to connect with your "Healthy Adult" part that can stay
in touch with your current strengths, skills, and resources and remind
you of these when you get triggered.
5. You learn to rewire your brain by focusing your attention away from
distorted beliefs, self-doubt, and negative self-evaluation and onto
underlying feelings and needs, self-compassion and behavior change.
6. Schema Therapy helps you stay present so you can focus on making
healthy choices, setting boundaries, facing fears, or speaking up for
what you want.
7. You learn to connect with and nurture your inner child and validate
your own needs for intimacy. comfort, and authenticity.
8. Schema Therapy can help couples untangle the negative cycles and
reactivity resulting from schemas and return to ""Healthy Adult" mode
during conversations. In this mode, you can be more compassionate and
understanding of both self and partner.
9. Schema Therapy may help you choose better partners and friends that
are more capable of fulfilling your needs and have more realistic
expectations of some people's limitations.
All our practitioners at Mindright are trained in schema therapy. If you would like to make an appointment please call 0280650326
Dr Sandra Darmanin Clinical Psychologist at Mindright