Schema therapy is an integrative therapeutic approach aimed at treating those who have entrenched interpersonal and self-identity difficulties. The work involves the discovery of the origins of any unmet emotional needs. Through schema therapy, people frequently become better able to develop a greater sense of self-worth and adequacy, explore methods of constructing nurturing relationships, and develop and achieve goals to work toward a healthy and happy life experience.
When emotional needs—one’s basic needs for affection, guidance, love, shelter, and safety—go unmet in childhood, individuals may enter adulthood with deficits in their abilities to find ways for these needs to be met, independently and through healthy relationships with others. Schema therapy is based on the belief that early maladaptive schemas form based on these adverse childhood experiences. These maladaptive schemas, which can be described as ways individuals interpret life events and the behavior of others, can later disrupt life: Individuals may make unhealthy choices, may form toxic relationships, lack fully developed social skills, engage in destructive behavior patterns, have a poor sense of judgment, and experience feelings of worthlessness or self-doubt.
Identifying and modifying maladaptive schemas is central to schema therapy. Discovering the origins of one’s unmet emotional needs and learning to construct nurturing relationships through schema therapy can help people begin to build feelings of self-worth and adequacy.
(excerpted from Schematherapy.org)