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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 
them.

2. Schema Therapy helps you change the schemas by understanding and 
validating your core needs that weren't met in childhood or previous 
relationships.

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