Schema-focused therapy focuses on identifying and changing maladaptive schemas and their associated ineffective coping strategies.
Schemas are psychological constructs that include beliefs that we have about ourselves, the world and other people, which are the product of how our basic childhood needs were dealt with.
Schema change requires both cognitive and experiential work. Cognitive schema-change work employs basic cognitive-behavioural techniques to identify and change automatic thoughts, identify cognitive distortions, and conduct empirical tests of the individual’s maladaptive rules about how to survive in the world that has been developed from schemas.
Experiential work includes work with visual imagery, gestalt techniques, creative work to symbolise positive experiences, limited re-parenting and the healing experiences of a validating clinician.