What is Schema Therapy?

Exploring the limiting patterns in our lives

Sometimes in life, certain patterns can repeat themselves time and time again. For some people these patterns can feel like a trap, for instance, finding themselves in one unfulfilling relationship after another. Yet the question is, why does this happen? Is it just bad luck or is something much deeper going on?

Schema therapy can help you to make sense of unhelpful cycles in your life. In this approach, you will work with a therapist to explore ongoing patterns that are causing problems, then try to identify the roots of them. In particular, Schema Therapy looks at past experiences and how unfulfilled needs in childhood can cause issues later in life.

For instance, when a child has unmet physical, mental or emotional needs, they can develop negative beliefs about themselves such as ‘I am not worthy of love’. As a result, they might develop coping strategies to meet those unmet needs. And while these coping strategies might be necessary in childhood, they can often be unhelpful when carried into adulthood.

Examples can include people pleasing, perfectionism and status seeking. Yet these behaviours can often make it difficult to form close and meaningful bonds with others, which in turn can lead to painful patterns like being attracted to emotionally unavailable people. This can then become a vicious cycle, where the person’s unavailability reinforces the core belief of not being worthy. In fact, being attracted to people who reinforce unhelpful beliefs is known as ‘schema chemistry’.

In essence, a schema therapist can help bring the underlying causes of your issues to the surface, so that you can finally break free. In this way, you can enjoy more fulfilling relationships and start making decisions that are better for you.

How does Schema Therapy work?

Schema Therapy draws from approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), attachment theory, psychodynamic therapy and gestalt therapy. It can include written exercises, roleplay and imagery. As well as this, your relationship with your therapist will also be explored as a way of observing patterns in real-time.

What can Schema Therapy help with?

Relationship issues, depression or low mood, anxiety, complex trauma, self-esteem, wellbeing, eating issues, addiction, personality disorders.

Your next step

Interested in schema therapy? Our compassionate and expert team of psychologists and psychotherapists are here for you. Why not book an in-person, video or live chat appointment today?

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