about Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy (ST) or schema therapy is a complex therapeutic approach that integrates elements from various forms of psychotherapy, such as psychodynamic therapy, gestalt therapy, and experiential therapy, into a unified and coherent model.

This form of therapy came as a complement to classical models of cognitive-behavioral therapy to address clients with treatment-resistant disorders who did not respond to established forms of therapy. Therefore, it includes techniques and methods proven to be effective, which are assembled in a unique and innovative manner.

The main concepts in schema therapy are  schemas, modes, and needs  on one hand, and  limited reparenting and empathic confrontation  on the other.

Schemas are repetitive psychological structures that become activated in certain moments and encompass elements of cognition, emotion, and physiological states. These structures are formed in childhood and adolescence through the toxic frustration of basic needs or their inadequate fulfillment. They are then reinforced throughout life through the triggering of repetitive cycles of maladaptive behaviors.

Modurile schemelor pot fi înțelese ca fațete sau părți diverse din noi – voci interioare care se manifestă o dată ce o schemă este activată. Aceste părți gândesc, simt și acționează în diverse modalități pentru a gestiona schema care a fost declanșată de un anumit element activator. Modurile comunică între ele și manifestarea lor se traduce într-un adevărat teatru interior, în care diversele părți din noi încearcă să negocieze rezoluția unei probleme interioare reprezentată de schema activată.

Needs are the fundamental elements around which schemas are formed and modes are manifested. They are unconditional and innate, and cannot be negotiated or fought against as being wrong or bad. We can negotiate the way a need is fulfilled, but not its existence. Depending on how much the respective need is linked to survival, whether it is physical or emotional, its non-fulfillment will be internally interpreted as a problematic situation that needs to be resolved.

Reparenting, as discussed in schema therapy, primarily refers to the type of relationship the therapist will have with their client. The therapist takes on a parental role and meets the client's frustrated needs within the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship. Through this reparative relationship, the client can rewrite their life script expressed through dysfunctional beliefs, inappropriate emotions, and deficient behaviors.

Empathic confrontation is another fundamental element in schema therapy, complementing the arsenal of fundamental techniques/principles underlying the healing process in this form of psychotherapy, along with re-parenting. It is believed that the therapist needs to be both a nurturing parent and a source of safety for the client, helping them internalize healthy boundaries and acquire a strong capacity for self-regulation.

Therapeutic methods in Schema Therapy

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