Schema Therapy is a needs-based approach, and it is designed to address unmet needs and to help clients with their thinking patterns, emotional reactions and behaviours by developing healthier coping tools.
It is a comprehensive therapy model which aims at both building awareness and creating change in your life. Some therapy approaches only focus on the current problems and enabling change and some other therapy approaches might tend to focus on the past events and building awareness. Schema therapy seeks the right balance between these two different therapy schools. It focuses on the origins of the current problems to use this knowledge for creating a long-term solution. Therefore, schema therapy is focused on creating life transformations.
Trauma is a psychological response involving intense fear, anxiety, horror, helplessness given after a shocking, terrifying, difficult event.
- A life-threatening event
- Experiences that threaten our bodily integrity such as physical and sexual assaults, accidents, injuries, and severe illnesses
- Experiences that threaten the lives of those we love most
- Experiences that threaten our belief systems
People who have been to traumatic experiences might give intense reactions. These are normal reactions to abnormal events. They might experience both emotional and physical responses such as shock, denial, irritability, feeling numb, guilt and shame, high anxiety, panic attacks and sleeping problems, eating problems, lack of energy and motivation.
It is normal to experience intense reactions after a traumatic event. Some people experience trauma reactions for a while and then the reactions disappear, and they might adjust to normal life. However, many people who are going through a traumatic event might experience several trauma reactions over a prolonged amount of time which is defined as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you experienced a traumatic event recently and your daily life is disrupted, it is best to seek help from your GP or a mental health professional. If you struggle with daily tasks and/or at work, if you become isolated or withdrawn, if you struggle in your relationships, if you keep thinking about the traumatic event, have vivid memories and images, it is best to ask for help to process what happened and recover from trauma.
PTSD is treated with talking therapies. Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and EMDR are the preferred treatment options.
Growing up in a domestic abuse household, being bullied, childhood neglect, severe physical illness and treatment are also considered traumatic experiences. When children are exposed to chronic stress and trauma, they might develop complex PTSD in the adulthood. Complex PTSD is also named as developmental trauma which refers to the impact of trauma in child development. When children are exposed to ongoing trauma in childhood, their development will be negatively impacted, and their personality might be shaped as a response to trauma.
- Problems with emotional regulation. You may lack the ability to respond to situations appropriately, or you may feel unable to control your emotions.
- Problems in interpersonal relationships. You may have difficulty feeling close to someone else, you may feel disconnected or distant from others. It may be difficult for you to form close relationships with family, significant others, or friends.
- Low self-esteem: You may face insecurity, helplessness, shame, guilt, and other issues with self-esteem.
- People who grow up experiencing trauma might become prone to difficult experiences and traumatic incidents in adulthood.
People with complex PTSD may engage in maladaptive coping behaviours to manage their symptoms. Some examples of such behaviour are as follows:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Avoiding unpleasant situations, people pleasing
- High sensitivity to criticism
- Self harm
Schema therapy focuses on changing maladaptive coping tools and replacing them with healthier alternatives. It is mainly developed for long term and entrenching issues such as complex trauma.
People who experience Complex Trauma might suffer from building trusting relationships. In schema therapy, the therapist has a warmer, more supportive, and collaborative approach compared to other therapy schools which help clients with trust issues.
Low self-esteem and problems with emotional regulation might stem from a high inner critic voice. In schema therapy, the inner critic mode refers to the self-deprecating beliefs that one has about themselves. These beliefs are usually rooted in negative childhood experiences and then internalized as our own beliefs. Schema therapy addresses the origins of the low-self-esteem and focuses on developing a positive self-image.
Schema therapy techniques such as imagery rescripting may help clients to process early childhood memories to feel in control, coming up with solutions to the challenges in their daily lives.
Tennur Katgi offers both Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Schema Therapy for trauma, PTSD and complex PTSD for clients in London and online all over the world. She is an accredited Schema therapist who is specialized in trauma, anxiety, low self-esteem and relationship difficulties. To learn more please call 020 8103 3872 or send a confidential email using the contact form.