This is an approach for people experiencing long-standing interpersonal difficulties in managing their emotions within relationships. Schemas are old patterns that originate from childhood. Everyone has schemas and the amount they impact on your functioning and daily life vary. Schemas may be deep painful beliefs you hold about yourselves or others. “I’m unlovable”, “Others can’t be trusted”– beliefs like these can lead you to feel anxious, depressed or lonely. Due to these beliefs, you can start using behaviours to cope like pushing people away, using substances to manage painful emotions or putting others’ needs before your own. Sometimes the coping we use is destructive or feels impossible to stop. These coping behaviours often prevent us from getting our own needs met and reinforce our deep negative beliefs about ourselves. Our coping behaviours are not developed consciously they came about as a means of survival from the difficulties we experienced.
A schema approach works to build an internalised healthy adult and to heal child parts. The therapy method uses imagery, letter writing, cognitive discussion, and complete detailed questionnaires. This helps you identify patterns which are causing distress, and allows you to take a step back and decide what you want to take forward and what you want to leave behind, thus finding ways to strengthen positive coping methods. Through the therapy process, you will also develop and understand yourself and how you are in relationships by learning new ways to operate in your daily life and more effective ways to get your needs met. There is a strong evidence base for schema, you do not need to have a diagnosis to benefit from it.
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