Schema Therapy
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Schema Theory

Schema Theory

The four main concepts in the Schema Therapy model are: Early Maladaptive Schemas, Core Emotional Needs, Schema Mode, and Maladaptive Coping Styles.

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

Early Schemas 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.  Each of the 18 schemas represent cpecific emotional needs that were not adequately met in childhood or adolescence.

Maladaptive 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 avoid 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 main goals of Schema Therapy are: to help patients strengthen their Healthy Adult mode; weaken their Maladaptive Coping Modes so that they can get back in touch with their core needs and feelings; to heal their early maladptive schemas; to break schema-driven life patterns; and eventually to get their core emotional needs met in everyday life.

To read more about these concepts, click on the links to the right.

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