In schema therapy, we focus on the stable negative patterns that have developed during childhood or adolescence and that is elaborated throughout an individual’s life. When a schema is triggered our thoughts and feelings are dominated by these schemas, making us feel overwhelmed sometimes. At these moments we tend to experience extreme negative emotions and negative thoughts. We may feel unfulfilled or underserving; or we may feel like a failure; or that we can’t trust anyone.
When treating people with schema therapy one of the most important innovations is the concept of mode. A mode is the set of schemas that are currently active for someone. You can see it as a mindset. We all have different parts of ourselves and we go in and out of them all the time.
In therapy we will work with these parts in various ways. Together, we will focus on the intense emotions and explore what these emotions mean. How were they triggered? Is this reminding you of something from the past? We will make connections between modes (and their history) and the current problems. When we do this we will focus on your core emotional needs. Your emotional needs might nog have been met during your childhood. This may prevent you having similar needs met during 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.
In schema therapy the therapist and you work closely together. We will focus on establishing secure attachment through therapy. The therapist will have a flexible and welcoming and encouraging attitude towards you to help you meet the emotional needs that you missed earlier in life.
How can schema therapy help?
In schema therapy the goal of the treatment is to engage in new life patterns. We will weaken early maladaptive schema’s and life patterns and develop healthy coping styles and modes to build up your “healthy side”.