Schema therapy can assist with many different client issues and presenting problems.
Also see who can benefit from schema therapy for more information.
Schema Therapy is particularly beneficial for people experiencing the following difficulties:
- Persistent, chronic or recurrent episodes of depression
- Difficulties relating to others
- The inability to say ‘no’ to others, people pleasing or excessive approval seeking
- Feeling stuck in certain unhelpful patterns (many different life patterns can apply)
- Perfectionism and self-critical thinking
- Persistent anxiety disorders
- Addictive behaviours and impulses
- A pattern or history of unsatisfactory romantic relationships or no relationships
- Repeatedly falling into relationships with partners who are ‘unavailable’
- Feeling like you can’t cope in life
- Ongoing self-doubt, feeling inadequate or feeling like a failure
- Childhood trauma or a history of problematic family of origin issues
- Personality problems or diagnosed personality disorders
You don’t have to very distressed or having major issues to benefit from schema therapy. Maybe you might like to understand a little more about your personality in general. Maybe there are a few niggling problems at work or in relationships which you need a new perspective on? Maybe you are curious as to why you always tend to respond in a certain way, in certain situations? Schema therapy is great for helping us understand why we do the things we do!
During your first one or two appointments your therapist may spend the majority of the time gathering information about your current difficulties and background. You may also be asked to complete one or two questionnaires (ie, schema questionnaires such as the YSQ and the SMI) after your initial session to help gain a more comprehensive picture of your issues. There is usually no standard treatment duration and the number of consultations required to get the changes you want will vary from person to person.
Our psychologists are equipped to assist you with both short-term and longer-term support and therapy. As a general guide, short-term skills-based therapy may usually be around 6 – 10 sessions, whereas therapy which helps you identify and begin to resolve longer-term and more deeply entrenched issues may require a longer commitment. It is common for clients to attend for between 6 months to 1 year – usually weekly initially and then moving to fortnightly sessions. Six-months to one-year might be a realistic time frame for people wanting to make significant change and to break long-term patterns.
However, effective therapy does not have to mean longer-term therapy. A good example of this is complicated grief. Therapy which involves experiential methods like chair-work and imagery can be highly effective ways to resolved ‘unfinished business’ and heal from painful losses – in a relatively short period of time. Very often, as few as 3 – 5 sessions may be all it takes to gain real benefit and process difficult emotions tied by with complicated grief reactions.
Gemma is currently available to see individual clients seeking schema therapy. Clinic rooms are located in Bondi Junction within The Good Mood Clinic. Gemma is also able to recommend suitable schema therapists with whom she works.
About 1 in 6 clients who seek therapy come as part of a couple. Couples seek counselling for many different reasons including coping with life’s changes; managing and resolving conflict; improving their parenting skills and dealing effectively with separation and divorce just to name a few. During your first one or two appointments your therapist may spend the majority of the time gathering information about your current relationship difficulties and background.
You may also be asked to complete one or two questionnaires (ie, schema questionnaires such as the YSQ and the SMI) after your initial session to help gain a more comprehensive picture of your issues. During the course of the therapy it may be recommended that each person has 1 or 2 individual sessions to gather more in depth information about personal history and background. This process is something which will be discussed with you together in the first couple of sessions.
Many couples unfortunately leave therapy as a last resort and this can make the process more difficult as there is often a lot of built up resentments and heated emotions to deal with. It is generally more effective to be pro-active and seek help sooner rather than later, as this can make a big difference to the success of therapy.
Many couples can’t understand why they seem to always “push each other’s buttons” so to speak. When schemas are frequently triggered, couples experience quite a lot of misunderstandings and one or both of them often end up feeling “hurt”, “rejected” or “controlled’ in some way. This is a common dilemma in many relationships. Couple’s often put this down to simple “communication problems”, but the issue is usually a lot more intricate than that and often involves multiple schema-driven factors. When we experience reactions that seem to be ‘irrational’ or disproportionate to what our partner has done or said (ie, ‘over the top’ reactions), then it is likely that one or more schemas are involved.
A Schema Therapy Approach to Couples Therapy can be very helpful at getting to the real core of the issue and helping couples become more aware of what is really going on. Once this is achieved, clients are more able to learn new and useful communication skills and learn how to emotion coach each other and avoid heated and hurtful conflict escalations.
Finding a Suitable Partner
Many clients, both women and men have a history of difficulties associated with finding a partner who is emotionally available, stable and reliable. This is a common issue in the community and many people find that they have always been attracted to a certain ‘type’ of partner or have typically found themselves involved with perhaps the ‘wrong’ type of person for them.
Sometimes the partners we are most attracted to (on a chemistry level) are the ones that turn out to be the least emotionally suitable for us. There is a very fundamental relationship between our early parenting experiences (ie, our ‘model of love’) and the type of partner we seek out to meet our love needs in adulthood.
There is usually little co-incidence in the world of mating and partner selection, as these behaviours are very much influenced by our family of origin experiences and relationships with caregivers mainly on a sub-conscious level. If you have observed a ‘pattern’ in your love life which you think is unhelpful or you feel compelled to have relationships with a particular type of person, then we can help you gain key insights and make some positive changes for the better.
If you have been looking for a partner who is emotionally available and reliable, but you have not been able to secure such a relationship, therapy can most likely assist you in that process. We can also help you with internet dating and navigating your way through some of the pitfalls associated with that method.
Gemma is currently available to see couples seeking schema-based therapy. Clinic rooms are located in Bondi Junction within The Good Mood Clinic. Gemma is also able to recommend suitable schema therapists/couple’s therapists with whom she works.
For information and appointments please call (02) 9388-0534 or visit www.goodmood.com.au