What is Schema Therapy?

The video answers the question: What is schema therapy? When we talk about schema therapy, we’re talking about a treatment modality that was developed in the 1980s by a clinician named Jeffrey Young. It was specifically developed to address personality disorders or in some cases chronic and complex characterological problems. Schema therapy is the type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a family of modalities and we could think of schema therapy specifically as being a modified version of Beck’s cognitive therapy. We see four parts to schema therapy: early maladaptive schemas, schema domains, schema modes, and coping styles. With early maladaptive schemas we have a dysfunctional theme that develops starting in childhood and it has emotional cognitive and memory components to it as well as bodily sensations. These are about the self or about others, so really this type of schema is not a lot different than what we think of when we think of a cognitive therapy schema. These early maladaptive schemas developed for a variety of reasons and again the start of the development is in childhood. It’s thought that if a child is exposed to hostility, neglect, criticism, or there is a failure to meet core needs, that these early maladaptive schemas can take hold. Coping styles are initially used by individuals for developing these schemas to survive, but eventually they start to maintain that maladaptive schema. There are three main types of coping styles in schema therapy: overcompensation, surrendering, and avoidance. The last component is the schema mode and the schema modes are groups of schemas. These are used with schema therapy for complex disorders and one of those disorders is borderline personality. Schema therapy has a few different goals associated with it, but the main goals would be to develop close relationships with others and to promote self-care.