Signs you may be dealing with a schema-level issue:
- “I have always thought, felt, or acted this way.” This is “my normal.”
- “I feel stuck. I want to change, and part of me resists changing.”
- “At the time, I am unaware of the effects I am having on others; and don’t get why things keep turning out badly for me.”
Schemas are also called “Life Traps”
Schemas are like psychological blueprints, developed during childhood in response to experiences with parents and other children. If you were abandoned, frequently criticized, overprotected, abused, excluded, or deprived – the lasting effects are often seen in adulthood. Schemas can function as “life traps” limiting or preventing you from achieving goals, and having satisfying relationships.
Schemas operate outside of conscious awareness, and are driven by deeply embedded beliefs about “how it is supposed to be.” If, as a child, you were mistreated, ignored, put down, or controlled – you may unknowingly find yourself in situations that activate similar feelings. When the intensity of your reaction is out of proportion to a situation, this can be a sign that one of your schemas was triggered. These play an important role affecting how you think, feel, and relate with others.
Schema Therapy was developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young expanding upon traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy, attachment theory, psychodynamic concepts, and emotion-focused therapies with special emphasis on limited re-parenting.
Dr. Young is the Director of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New York, and the Schema Therapy Institute; and on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also the author of the popular book “Reinventing Your Life.”
I completed Schema Therapy training with Dr. Young, and completed, the Advanced Symposium: Challenging Cases: Schema-Focused Innovations in Brief Cognitive Therapy, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Advances in Treatment.