Schema focused therapy is an integrative approach, founded on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), then expanded to include techniques and concepts from other psychotherapeutic approaches. Schema therapists assist clients in changing entrenched, self-defeating life patterns (or schemas) using interpersonal, cognitive, behavioural, and emotion-focused techniques. Therapy focuses on the relationship with the therapist, daily life outside of therapy, and traumatic childhood experiences impacting upon the client.
The main goals of schema focused therapy are to:
- Identify early maladaptive schemas which maintain the client’s presenting problem and to assess how they are played out in everyday situations
- Change dysfunctional beliefs and build alternative beliefs, which can be used to fight maladaptive schemas
- Break down maladaptive life patterns into manageable steps and to change coping styles which maintain maladaptive schemas
- Provide clients with the skills and experiences to create adaptive thinking and healthy emotions
- Empower clients and validate their emotional needs