Schema therapy is a relatively new form of therapy which - as it turns out in more and more studies - helps effectively in many emotional problems. Developer of this therapy approach is Jeffrey Young, who worked for many years with patients with borderline personality disorder. It is a therapeutic proposal for people suffering from personality disorders, but also for people who experience chronic emotional problems, for example, suffer from recurrent depression, eating disorders, suffer from low self-esteem or have difficulties in relationships with others.
If good and healthy relationships prevail in our experience, then most likely we also have "healthy" patterns that allow us to find ourselves in adult life and maturely undertake various life tasks. If in childhood the parents or guardians did not meet our emotional needs, then most often we have schemas that reflect those relationships and situations. Schemas are first of all shaped in childhood in relations with the most important people for us then. Usually these are parents, grandparents, carers and siblings. It is our experience in relationships with them that builds our schemas. According to Young, each of us is struggling with some schemes taken from childhood. The problem, however, arises when the schemes are extremely strong, dysfunctional and control our adult life.
Schema therapy is used to identify dysfunctional patterns and "heal them". This means changing the schemas to more adaptive ones and learning how to deal with different situations in a way that will not result from childlike schemas.
When should you consider taking schema therapy? First of all, when you notice repeated problems in your life regarding different areas of your life. E.g:
you recreate a stable pattern in close relationships - you associate with people who are not able to get involved; "you choose" specific people for your partner (eg. very critical, dominant or always subordinate); in general, you avoid close relationships; or you yourself get bored quickly and break the relationship
you have a disturbed self-esteem - you always think the worst things about yourself; you can not defend your limits and rights against others; you compare yourself with others and it always falls to your disadvantage
you constantly have the same problems at work, at school, in college - you postpone various tasks so that after that you do not have enough time to do them well; you do not take on various challenges, although you would sometimes like to take them; or you lose yourself in detail, checking, correcting, for which you devote too much time
your life is made up of meeting the expectations and requirements of other people - you devote yourself too much to others forgetting about yourself; you do many things to deserve attention or admiration from others; you allow others to decide about your life and do things against yourself
you experience difficulties in some area of life, but you do not know why this is happening
you experience very strong emotions that you can not control or you have strong mood swings for no apparent reason
you suffer from personality disorder (eg. borderline personality)
There is a good chance that behind these types of problems are patterns that continually "lead" to the same situations.