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Clinicians can use Schema Therapy (ST) worksheets to effectively treat their clients. These worksheets provide clinicians with the appropriate tools to effectively establish a treatment plan throughout the therapy process.
What is Schema Therapy?
Schema Therapy (ST) is a relatively newer, integrative therapy that takes elements from various different therapies ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy and emotion-focused therapy to attachment theory. Developed by Dr. Jeffery Young in the mid 1980’s, ST’s initial conception was brought on by failing to successfully treat patients that struggled with chronic characterological concerns. ST has been used effectively to treat many mental health concerns and personality disorders with particular success treating and retaining those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. While boasting quite substantial recovery rates, treatment success shows direct correlation with its duration and intensity which can sometimes be costly.
How Does Schema Therapy Work?
Beginning his research in the 1980’s, Young believed that maladaptive thinking patterns or schema formed in childhood ultimately interfere with the development of healthy practices that would contribute to a more fulfilling adult life, this being especially hard for people also suffering personality and mental health disorders. Using an empathic and understanding approach to confront these schema, he believed that his patients could learn more effective and malleable ways to cope with negative feelings, strengthen and repair relationships, and generally live a more fulfilling life.
In response to adverse childhood experiences, people develop ways to cope that can be destructive to regular adult function. These negative emotional coping styles can cause people to over exert themselves in certain areas, display cynical views of life, and avoid making deep connections with others. While finding momentary relief from practicing these learned coping skills, they become the fuel for the continuation of the maladaptive schema.
Schema Therapy is a longer term therapy spanning sometimes years. Clinicians help patients identify these maladaptive schema, the relative coping style that they’ve developed, and alternative ways to combat negative reactions to the schema. While many schema and correlating coping styles have been clearly identified by researchers, some believe they can be expressed well in five broader categories:
Patients believe they are isolated from others and the people close to them can’t be depended on for emotional support.
Impaired Performance and Autonomy.
Patients believe that they will perpetually under perform and fail.
Patients believe they are inferior to others and are entitled to special treatment.
Patients feel the need to give control to others in most situations and tend to find their needs less important than the needs of others.
Hypervigilance and Inhibition.
Patients fear that expression of emotion will bring on negative results.
Correlating Coping Styles
Patients accept the schema as fact and may allow themselves to continue in harmful conditions or indulge in self-destructive practices such as accepting and feeling as if they deserve to be abused.
Patients attempt to combat their schema by acting in ways that directly conflict with it. While to a certain level it can be therapeutic it can sometimes lead to negative results such as burnout.
Patients go to whatever means necessary to avoid stimulating the presentation of the schema leading them to indulge in distracting behaviors such as substance abuse or in cases of interpersonal trauma avoiding relationships all together.
Which Conditions can Schema Therapy Help With?
During early adolescence, maintaining a child’s core emotional needs is critical for proper emotional development. Along with lack of emotional support, negative experiences such as a lack of affection from caregivers, victimization, lack of appropriate limits and boundaries, and internalization of negative parental behaviors and attitudes can contribute to the development and worsening of the schema. These core emotional needs are:
- A sense of safety and belonging
- Self-identity and autonomy
- Freedom of emotional expression and the ask for their needs
- Ability to play and be spontaneous
- Age-appropriate limits and boundaries
One of the core beliefs of Schema Therapy is that these abnormal emotional circumstances tend to cause people to form early maladaptive schema. As these children come into adulthood they may find themselves lacking in effective ways to achieve their needs personally and in interpersonal relationships. People suffering from the following mental and emotional disorders can experience increased difficulties:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Substance abuse and dependence
- Chronic Depression
- Borderline Personality Disorder
How Effective is Schema Therapy?
Amongst those suffering from mental health disorders, researchers have taken a particular interest in the results of patients that suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It has been proven that the patients are much less likely to drop out of treatment in comparison to those that pursue treatment through more concentrated styles of treatment like Cognitive Behavioral therapy. Patients that participated in ST reported that they gained improved self-understanding and better awareness and management of their emotional processes; expressing that while at times confrontational, they found it to be necessary and fruitful
Though relatively new, research on schema therapy has been found to yield significant results for patients. With some studies showing 50% of patients gaining total recovery, 67% of patients at least saw significant improvement. In most cases treatment is most productive over long periods of time giving clinicians time to build a trusting and understanding relationship with their patients. Some researchers argue that patients may struggle to keep up with the financial expenses due to the needs of longevity to see desired results.
Final Thoughts on Schema Therapy
Schema therapy is a comprehensive, long-term treatment technique that focuses on helping patients recognize and understand the correlation between the lack of emotional support throughout adolescence and maladaptive schema and coping styles developed in turn. Being relatively new, some clinicians have voiced concerns with the price of continued treatment for those also suffering from low-quality as an effect of their mental and personality disorders. With high rates of improvement and treatment completion, ST has been found to be a good alternative for BPD patients that tend to drop out of treatment or finish treatment lacking the desired results.
Why Schema Therapy Worksheets?
Schema Therapy (ST) worksheets are tools used in therapy to help individuals identify and change negative patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are associated with long-standing, deep-seated emotional and interpersonal problems. ST is a type of therapy that aims to help individuals understand the origins of their negative patterns, or “schemas,” and develop healthier ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
Some of the key benefits of using ST worksheets include:
- Identifying negative schemas: ST worksheets provide a structured approach to identifying negative schemas that may be contributing to emotional and interpersonal problems. By identifying these schemas, individuals can begin to challenge and change them.
- Challenging negative schemas: ST worksheets can be used to help individuals challenge negative schemas by exploring the evidence that contradicts them, and developing more positive and adaptive ways of thinking.
- Developing coping skills: ST worksheets can be used to help individuals develop coping skills that can help them manage negative emotions and behaviors associated with negative schemas.
- Improving relationships: ST worksheets can be used to help individuals improve relationships by identifying negative patterns of behavior and developing more positive and adaptive ways of relating to others.
Overall, Schema Therapy worksheets provide a valuable tool for individuals looking to understand and change negative patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. By identifying negative schemas, challenging these schemas, developing coping skills, and improving relationships, individuals can lead a more fulfilling life.
Why Our Schema Therapy Worksheets?
Our Schema Therapy Worksheets are designed to help practitioners deliver Solution-Focused Schema Therapy to their clients more effectively.
Benefits of our Schema Therapy Worksheets:
- Take in responses from clients on a digital device like a computer
- Organize client documents in an easy to find folder on your computer or in the cloud
- Search for specific questions and/or answers by using “CTRL + f” function on your keyboard when viewing your PDF
- Legibly read your client’s answers
- Print copies that are high in quality – (we made this form grey on purpose! Much easier on your printer)
Key Features of Our Schema Therapy Worksheets:
- US letter size (8.5″ x 11″)
- Fillable / Printable
- Editable (If you need to make changes, we can provide you with a free editing website that will allow you to make changes to questions/statements)
- Longform responses
- Short form responses
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