Schema therapy

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Schema Therapy

Schema therapy was developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young as an integrative, holistic model that emphasizes the importance of understanding and healing early maladaptive schemas or lifetraps that form as a result of core needs not being met. Dr. Young wrote a book called “Reinventing Your Life”, which explains the fundamentals of schema theory to the lay person as well as expounding on the different schemas, how they develop, and what can be done to address them.

The goal in schema therapy is to identify what your current issues are and understand and address the root causes. Schemas are identified using comprehensive questionnaires, life history interview, and imagery for assessment. Imagery work is an integral and unique component of schema therapy, because it addresses the importance of working on an experiential and emotional level, and not solely on an intellectual and cognitive level.

The first part of the therapy (assessment phase) entails patient education, life history, identification of schemas, and the mutually created treatment plan and goals of treatment. The second part of treatment (change phase) is where the majority of the work is done. This will include different types of imagery and experiential work, cognitive and behavioral exercises, limited re-parenting, and mode and chairwork.

Limited re-parenting is another unique aspect of schema therapy that emphasizes the importance of fundamental needs like empathy, protection, nurturance, stability, and trust. These needs are related to schemas like emotional deprivation, abandonment/instability, and mistrust/abuse. In other words, schemas form as a result of core needs not being met. Limited re-parenting is based on the relationship between the patient and the therapist, not to replace the parenting relationship, rather to identify, acknowledge, understand, and experience having one’s core needs met as well as understanding the connections between schema formation in childhood and issues and struggles in adulthood.

Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information about schema therapy, or to schedule a consultation.

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