Schema therapy (schema-focused cognitive therapy) works on the principal that long-standing negative patterns or beliefs or themes ‘schemas’ often begin early in our life. Examples of negative patterns or beliefs that individuals often live with from an early age are feelings of abandonment, underdevelopment or pessimism. Schema therapy combines elements of cognitive, behavioural, attachment, psychodynamic and gestalt models, making it an integrative mechanism of assisting these individuals.
This form of therapy includes forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment theory, as well as other techniques such as application and strengthening of CBT through exploration of emotions, unhealthy coping methods as well as the underlying causes of mental health concerns. Therapists assist client with discovery of the root cause of the individual feeling their emotional needs are unmet. Individuals often build an improved sense of self-worth, learn to harness techniques for long-lasting and mutual relationships as well as developing tools to work toward building a healthy and happy life.
Issues causes by unmet emotional needs
When an individual’s emotional needs are not met, most commonly during childhood, the individual often then enters adulthood with decreased or lack of tools for this need to be met. Emotional needs for affection, guidance, love, shelter, and safety remain the same through life these need generally to be satisfied through long-lasting and reciprocal relationships. This therapy is based on the theory that early maladaptive schemas are formed due to adverse childhood experiences. Maladaptive schemas can cause difficulties in adult life and individuals may tend to make unhealthy life choices such as forming toxic relationships, lacking developed social skills, building negative behaviour patterns as well as lacking adequate judgment and having feelings of worthlessness or self-doubt.