Schema therapy, as a result of negative experiences and unmet emotional needs in childhood,
suggests that early maladaptive schemas are formed. These lifelong recurring schemas include patterns of beliefs, feelings, thoughts, behavior, communication, and relationships about oneself, other people, and the world that begin in childhood.
When children grow up with loving parents who are securely attached, responsive to their emotional needs, caring, responsive to their needs adequately and quickly, their self-schema is lovable and valuable, while their schema about other people and the world is basically friendly and reliable. With the loving touches from the parents, the reassuring voice, and the fulfillment of emotional and physical needs, the child learns that relationships are joyful, safe and peaceful. This relationship template that the child learns is the basis of the template that he will use in all his relationships in his adult life.
However, in the presence of unmet needs, neglect, negative experiences such as abuse, violence and abuse, it is very difficult for the child to develop harmonious/healthy schemas about himself, the world, other people and relationships when the mother’s loving touches and reassuring voice are not present. For a child who has not experienced that the relationships in the house where he was born are reassuring, pleasant and peaceful, he proceeds on this basis in the relationships he lives in his adult life.
Needs that are not met in childhood continue to exist in order to be met in a person’s adult life. While the existence of these wants, needs, and emotions is natural, the key is how the needs are met and what coping methods are used. When we evaluate and react with the emotions, thoughts and wishes of the same childhood, not with our healthy adult side, but with our child side, we use the coping methods we used in childhood to cope with the problem. It is difficult to realize that the coping methods that were perhaps protective for us at that time are now dysfunctional coping methods that perpetuate the problem in our adult life. This is the result of childhood when our needs are not met and we do not learn healthy ways to meet our needs.
The maladaptive coping methods in Schema Therapy are surrender-avoidance and overcompensation. Surrender is the situation in which the problem is accepted helplessly, a healthy way of coping is not chosen, and surrendering to the problem. Avoidance is the avoidance of situations, environments and people that disturb him, and avoiding the events that he thinks may activate the problem and problem feelings. In Overcompensation, the person acts in the opposite direction of his feelings and thoughts about the problem. He tries to appear different from what he feels by displaying behaviors in this direction, as if he feels and thinks the opposite of the feelings and thoughts that the problem arouses in him.
In therapy, it is aimed to identify these mechanisms, which are at the root of the current problems and used by the client to cope with the schemas formed during childhood, perhaps protective for the childhood period, and to realize that they are now dysfunctional in adult life. We work on how the current coping method is not solving their problems and why it is not meeting their needs. The main goals are to be able to express one’s needs and feelings, to reach their needs in healthier ways, to develop coping styles, and to turn non-functional internalized voices into healthy inner voices.