Schema therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young in the 1990s and is therefore a fairly new form of therapy. It is based on the methods of cognitive behavioral therapy and complements it with experience and action-oriented approaches.
A schema is a typical pattern of thoughts, feelings, and sensations that form behavior. These schemes are extremely stable and also the reason why we cannot simply unlearn certain behavior - against better knowledge and experience.
Those affected with harmful patterns feel like they are falling into the same trap again and again. Be it friendships in which they are repeatedly exploited, toxic partnerships or unwanted social isolation. Pathological perfectionism, exaggerated jealousy, fear of attachment, inadequate self-control or self-discipline can also form the basis of these schemes.
During therapy, these schemes are systematically identified and processed with the help of questionnaires. Psychoeducation (the transfer of knowledge about the mental disorder) plays a major role here.
It is complemented by cognitive interventions and experience-based methods such as imagination and chair dialogue.
The aim of the therapy is to replace the maladaptive schemes with healthy, goal-oriented thought and behavior patterns and to integrate them into everyday life.
Schema therapy was originally developed for the treatment of personality disorders. Here it became particularly clear that the sole use of cognitive methods does not achieve sufficient improvement in some patients. Today it is also used in the treatment of chronic depression, anxiety disorderaddictions, eating disorders and attachment disorders with great success