Our human mind is like a complicated tapestry weaving of experiences that shape how we see and respond to the world. At times, however, this tapestry may bear the weight of negative schemas, causing psychological challenges such as personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. Individuals who have experienced trauma often develop hypersensitivity to their surroundings, perceiving potential danger where reality suggests none. Anxiety is a pervasive and challenging mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional therapeutic approaches often focus on symptom management, but schema therapy offers a unique and comprehensive method for addressing the underlying patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety.
Schema therapy is a psychotherapy intervention that helps individuals uncover their negative schema, trace its origins, and change how these schemas affect their present lives. Developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young, Schema Therapy integrates elements from cognitive behavioural therapy, attachment theory, Gestalt therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.
Schema therapy is rooted in the belief that adverse childhood experiences are the cause of many mental health issues, and one of the prevailing triggers is the unmet emotional needs. Counsellors using Schema Therapy will do an inventory to assess their clients’ schema and identify the schema and mode which causes anxiety and depression. The Schema Therapy counsellor will also introduce interventions such as assertiveness training, empathy training, role-playing, imagery rescripting and exposure tasks to overcome avoidance modes.
Schema therapy emphasises the importance of the individuals’ emotional experience, and the therapists facilitate their clients to develop emotional awareness, expression, and regulation. The aim is to help individuals identify their emotional triggers better and learn to manage their reactions. The emotion-focused approach is particularly beneficial for individuals facing anxiety and depression, as it allows the individuals to recognise when the anxiety or depression is becoming intense and employ strategies to prevent it from spiralling out of control. The emotion-focused approach also helps the individuals connect back the overwhelming sense of anxiety and depression and connect these feelings back to their underlying schemas.
Schema Therapy is one of the well-known psychotherapies for treating mental health challenges, including anxiety disorders, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Restoring Peace is a private mental health centre which provides counselling and psychotherapy services for mental health and relationship challenges. Our counsellors and psychotherapists work with children, adolescents, youths and adult individuals, couples and groups facing anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, PTSD, trauma, and other life difficulties. For more information, please visit www.restoringpeace.com.sg or WhatsApp at +65 8889 1848. For periodic updates, we invite you to join our telegram group: https://t.me/restoringpeace.
Keywords: schema therapy, negative, intervention, psychotherapy, CBT, attachment therapy, Gestalt therapy, Psychodynamic therapy