Have you ever noticed certain patterns in your life such as dating the wrong type of person or getting angry in similar situations? Have you wondered why you haven’t achieved the success you want in your career or personal life? Do you often feel like an outsider or feel defective?
Schema therapy is a form of cognitive therapy that helps us to understand why we act and feel the way we do. And, it goes beyond this. It helps you to make changes in your life to feel more satisfied in your relationships, work, and personal life.
Schemas are life long patterns of feelings and memories that are influenced by our experiences growing up. We all have schemas. Some schemas help us move in the direction of our goals and some schemas thwart our efforts.
Schema therapy is an interactive and goal oriented therapy that has several components; assessment, experiential, and behavioral. During the assessment, we will identify the specific schemas that are interfering in your life. Then, we will use other tools during the experiential phase to deeply understand and recognize how the schemas present in your life today. Finally, during the behavioral phase, we will work collaboratively on achieving your most important aspirations.
Examples of Schemas:
Defectiveness: You often feel that there is something wrong with you as a person. You don’t feel that you are “ok” no matter how successful you are in your life. This schema often occurs if you experienced bullying, chronic criticism, or severe abuse.
Social Isolation: You often feel like you don’t belong or feel uncomfortable with certain groups of people. This may lead you to avoid social gatherings, certain work environments, or dating. You may also feel so anxious at events that you turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. This schema may occur if you felt different or excluded growing up. This can occur due to differences in ethnicity, religion, finances, or sexual identity.
Self-Sacrifice: You feel that other people’s needs are more important than your own. You often ignore your own desires and preferences because you either feel that you don’t deserve much or you feel guilty. This schema can develop if we grew up in a family where there was alcohol abuse, a medical illness, or an impaired parent.
Unrelenting Standards: You feel that you must always excel and push yourself to succeed; you may have difficulty relaxing or being spontaneous. People with this schema often struggle with feeling tired, anxious and irritable. This schema develops when excessively high standards are imposed on you during childhood.