Schema Therapy

The four main concepts in the Schema Therapy model are:

-- Early Maladaptive Schemas

-- Schema Domains

-- Coping Styles, and

-- Schema Modes.

The 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas are self-defeating, core themes or patterns that we keep repeating throughout our lives.

The 5 Schema Domains relate to the basic emotional needs of a child. When these needs are not met in childhood, schemas develop that lead to unhealthy life patterns. The 18 schemas are grouped into 5 broad schema domains, on the basis of which core needs the schema is related to.

Coping Styles are the ways the child adapts to schemas and to damaging childhood experiences. For example, some children surrender to their schemas; some find ways to block out or escape from pain; while other children fight back or overcompensate.

Schema Modes are the moment-to-moment emotional states and coping responses that we all experience. Often our schema modes are triggered by life situations that we are oversensitive to (our "emotional buttons"). Many schema modes lead us to overreact to situations, or to act in ways that end up hurting us.

The goals of Schema Therapy are to help patients

-- to stop using maladaptive coping styles and thus get back in touch with their core feelings;

-- to heal their early schemas;

-- to learn how to flip out of self-defeating schema modes as quickly as possible;

-- and eventually to get their emotional needs met in everyday life.

Source: Schema Therapy Institute, New York