Integrative therapeutic approach used in complex psychological problems and personality disorders
Schema therapy is an integrative therapeutic approach that combines cognitive, behavioral and experiential elements.
A holistic approach is very valuable when dealing with complex psychological problems; including: recurrent depression, chronic anxiety states, personality disorders (borderline, narcissism, dependent personality, histrionic personality, etc.) and experiences of single and complex traumas.
In schema therapy, the main goal is to weaken the early maladaptive schemas and modes that developed during childhood and adolescence. During therapy, we focus on working through the schemas to unlock the patient’s resources and strengthen the development of a more realistic image of oneself and the world.
Long-term schema therapy is rooted in cognitive therapy. The creator of the theory is Jeffrey Young, who developed the concepts of the schema and developed a novel method of treating chronic difficulties.
The key aspects that distinguish schema therapy from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy are the centrality of the patient’s emotional needs and her maladaptive schemas. Much greater emphasis in therapeutic work is put on working with the client’s emotions, using a number of therapeutic interactions focused on this area. Techniques are used to process difficult, negative emotions, e.g. dialogue with chairs, imaginary work.
There is also a stronger emphasis on the importance of the therapeutic relationship in the context of achieving therapeutic goals. Relationship is an important factor in changing maladaptive schemas and weakening some modes.
The primary goal is to identify the patterns and modes that dominate the patient’s clinical picture. The therapist, together with the patient, is looking for patterns in life that may be associated with certain negative patterns.
In the first phase, we focus on identifying and exploring. The patient is introduced to the main concepts of schema therapy, learns about her own maladaptive schemas, modes, as well as factors causing difficult situations. Self-awareness and understanding of your behavioral patterns increase at this stage
In the second phase, we work on changing maladaptive patterns and modes by applying specific cognitive, behavioral and experiential interventions. In therapy, we focus on experiences from the past as well as the present, gradually building an image of the future. Then you start to experience your basic emotional needs more and more often and learn to fulfill them adequately. This ongoing process strengthens internal cohesion and increases satisfaction in various areas of life.
The Internet has made starting online schema therapy easier than ever. The quality of therapeutic interactions, even the more advanced ones, is identical to working in the office space. We use the same schema therapy tools, ranging from establishing relationships, to specific influences on the sphere of emotions.
Trust the specialists, we care about the high quality of psychotherapeutic services. We know how to understand and heal even the most complex feelings and experiences.
All you need to start online schema therapy is a working internet connection and an intimate space in which you will feel at ease.
Relationship in schema therapy is a key value. A therapeutic alliance is created between the therapist and the healthy part of the client against maladaptive schemas.
The therapist often plays the role of a good adult, using limited re-parenting towards the client.
The therapist is stable, open, non-judgmental, empathetic, authentic while setting adequate boundaries.
An early maladaptive schema is a ubiquitous dysfunctional pattern of emotions, thoughts and sensations resulting from difficult childhood and youth experiences. The pattern is created through interaction with other people, upbringing and culture. The maladaptive pattern is present in every mental disorder, but it can also function without a specific assigned disease entity.
Schema modes refer to a transient emotional and behavioral response to an event that is somehow difficult for us, e.g. lack of attention, negative comment, being alone at home. Schema mode often evokes strong unpleasant emotions.
In schema therapy, we use cognitive, behavioral and experiential techniques. We work to change dysfunctional beliefs and build alternative beliefs that can be used in the fight against schemas.
We use behavioral techniques to work on changing patterns of behavior and reactions that perpetuate negative patterns. We use experimental techniques (such as, for example, imaginary work, dialogue with chairs) that help us emotionally process our experiences in a more adaptive way.
Schema therapy is usually a longer process as we work with the patient’s early schemas, with which they most often function throughout their lives. There is no predetermined number of meetings, but most often the therapy lasts from half a year to two years.
Working online has the same treatment value as working in an office. Some patients see additional advantages in online therapy, such as: comfort, accessibility, flexibility.
Schema therapy is intended for people who face persistent, recurring psychological problems, it is not recommended to work in the event of acute clinical symptoms.
Schema therapy is recommended for patients experiencing: deep and persistent psychological problems, patients suffering from personality disorders (borderline, narcissistic, avoidant, anankastic, NOS) and chronic depression.