Jeffrey young’s therapy scheme is very effective in cases of chronic psychological disorders or when these disorders do not respond to other therapies. This interesting approach integrates attachment theories, Gestalt currents, constructivism, some elements of psychoanalysis and also the cognitive-behavioral bases.
All psychologists know that there are clinical realities that are very difficult to treat. The causes can be different: the patient’s personality, the relapse rate and even the disorder itself. We think, for example, that conditions such as personality disorders (borderline , antisocial, histrionic, and so on) present multiple challenges for all professionals.
These psychological realities, moreover, derive several benefits from broader approaches, in which there is a combination of psychological therapy and social education, workshops and even practices such as mindfulness, as revealed by a study conducted by the University of Texas and from New York City.
Integrated approaches work, and among them the therapy known as schema therapy stands out, a strategy that in its time represented an advance over Aaron T. Beck’s cognitive treatment.
Schema therapy: an integrated approach
Psychologist Jeffrey E. Young spent the past 20 years developing schema therapy from his own experience, and from the clinical questions he faced every day. His book Schema therapy, a practioner’s guide stands out as an interesting and comprehensive manual. It does not only provide advice so that professionals can approach the most complex personality disorders.
It also serves as a food for thought to understand that sometimes it is not good to make exclusive use of a certain school of psychological thought. Integrated approaches such as pattern therapy harness the most effective resources of other schools for the benefit of the patient. So let’s see what it is.
What are the objectives?
This therapy, as the name suggests, tries to identify the dysfunctional patterns of the subject, which lead him to think and behave in a problematic and self-damaging way. To do this, apply the following guidelines:
- Unlike the cognitive-behavioral school, it does not use comparison or assisted discovery. Rather, it is based on emotional and affective therapy.
- More sessions are needed than with other therapies to establish a sufficiently solid collaboration with the patient.
- It investigates dysfunctional patterns established in childhood.
- The professional tries to work on the perception of the patient’s identity, on his capacity for self-control, on his emotional communication, on autonomy and on his feeling of competence.
For which patients is schema therapy useful?
Scheme therapy is particularly effective for all those disorders contained in Section I of the DSM-V ( Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ). Let’s talk about the following clinical conditions:
- Anxiety Disorders.
- Mood disturbances.
- Dissociative affections.
Furthermore, Jeffrey Young himself reports the following:
- Schema therapy is beneficial for all those people who cannot easily express their emotions, thoughts and feelings. If you are stuck or have a negative attitude, this approach will be helpful.
- Patients with life crisis or even those driven by low motivation to undergo therapy will benefit.
The two pillars of schema therapy
Schema therapy works on two fundamental areas, on two theoretical concepts that will reveal themselves little by little, from session to session. Let’s see them.
Identify patterns that explain the behavior
In the framework of cognitive-behavioral psychology, a schema is a pattern that determines the way we think and behave. Many of them cause us discomfort, suffering and lead us to consolidate unhappy emotional relationships, to the point of shaping a self-destructive lifestyle.
Jeffrey Young highlights the importance of understanding what the very first life experiences were and of discovering the patient’s emotional temperament. The main focus of this therapy is centered on identifying the aforementioned patterns and the dynamics that are at their origin.
The style of approach
According to the nature of our patterns, we will tend to face in one way or another the daily challenges and events that affect our reality. Dr Young distinguishes four types of problematic styles:
- Avoidance, or when we just run away and run away from our responsibilities.
- Abandonment. The person feels sadness, fear and feels helpless every time he has to face something; she feels incapable, empty and without the resources to face life. A very common thing in deep-rooted cases of depression.
- Counterattack. In this case the patient tends to react with a certain degree of violence or in an exaggerated way towards everything that concerns him. It gives extreme answers to the problems of everyday life. This reality is common in borderline personality disorders.
- Defect. The patient feels at fault, he perceives that there is something wrong or failure in the way he faces his daily life.
Duration and application of schema therapy
In general, the therapy of the schemes lasts about a year. It is a thorough and demanding job that needs to be in tune with the patient. Starting from this therapeutic connection, an attempt is made to identify the problematic patterns underlying the disorder or suffering experienced.
In a subsequent phase, and through the techniques of gestalt, psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy and emotional therapy, we try to lead the subject back to the construction of new schemes, more valid, effective and, above all, healthy. A very interesting and useful therapy in several cases.