Do you find yourself repeating the same defeating patterns in life? Always sabotaging your relationships, impulsively quitting jobs, or having yet another tantrum that hurts others? You might feel hopeless or you may worry there is something wrong with you.
Schema therapy can help. Designed for people who might not have had success with other forms of psychotherapy, or who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, it is also effective for anyone that wants to understand themselves more or improve their relationships and moods. Schema Therapy will not label you with a ‘disorder’, instead it will suggest that you are simply caught in a self-defeating way of perceiving yourself and others. It calls this a ‘schema’ or ‘life trap’, something that you developed growing up but that can be identified and changed.
You might, for example, discover you have an ‘abandonment schema’. This could manifest as feelings of paranoia if your partner talks to other people, or you sabotage good relationships because you would rather leave first than wait to be rejected. Or perhaps you have a ‘subjugation schema’, where you feel you have to give in to others wants and needs so you don’t upset them but are constantly left feeling trapped.
Your schema therapist can help you recognise just what ‘life trap’ you are living out, how your childhood led you to choose this dysfunctional way of being, and what more useful perspectives you might try instead.
The benefits of Schema Therapy are:
- finally understand why you act the way you do
- let go of repressed emotions that have been holding you back
- break longstanding behaviours that have made you unhappy
- become less reactive in the face of challenges
- improve your relationships with others
- understand your personal needs
- learn how to make better choices for yourself and your life
- develop more compassion for yourself and others
- start to trust others and yourself more
- feel more confident in who you are
This Therapy is an evidence-based therapy (proven to work by research) for borderline personality disorder, schema therapy is also thought to help most other personality disorders including histrionic personality disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.
Schema therapy can also prove useful if you suffer from the following:
- fear of intimacy
- relationship issues
- anger management
- low self-esteem
The Approach: A warm and honest relationship will be encouraged to develop between you and your schema therapist. Called ‘limited reparenting’, this supportive connection allows you to experience the attachment and trust with another person you needed, but you did not receive as a child. Schema therapy can mean a more dependent client-therapist relationship than that of other talking therapies, but this will always be kept within professional boundaries. Your therapist will never push you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with.