Schema Therapy (ST) is an evidence based integrative therapeutic approach developed by Dr Jeffery Young that is primarily aimed at treating those who have chronic emotional and relationship problems.
He stated that when a child’s emotional needs are not met, (e.g. safety, stable base, nurturing, acceptance, validation, empathy) schemas or ‘ Lifetraps’ can develop. Schemas are a sense one has about the self, such as failure, or defective.
Young added that schemas are developed in childhood or adolescence and are comprised of memories, emotions and cognitions.
While grounded in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) strategies, Schema Therapy is considered an integrative model because it draws on cognitive therapy, behaviourism, attachment theory, emotion-focused and relationship-based therapies, and other schools of thought.
People who have developed schemas early in childhood or adolescence may cope in various ways such as surrender which is to be submissive, passive or dependent.
Some may cope by avoidance which includes social withdrawal, workaholism, addictive self-soothing or psychological withdrawal.
The third coping mechanism is overcompensation which includes acting in the opposite way or aggression, rebelliousness.