Name it to Tame it

“Then she accused me of being the bully!” Sandro was beginning to rant. His face was red and his eyes were moist. His ex-partner had just denied him access to their 6-year-old son. I asked him how he felt. “Sh*t!” He replied. “But what kind of sh*t”, I queried. He looked at me with blank confusion. Lisa Starr and her...[ read more ]

The Mistrust and Abuse Schema

“You can’t trust anyone!” Clara announced. “They might act nice, but at the end of the day they are only out for number one”. Clara’s employer was funding psychology sessions to treat depression and alcohol addiction. She was reluctant to attend and even more reluctant to open up. “At the end of the day, you work for my boss!” she...[ read more ]

Little Wounds, Limbic Scars and Holes in the Street

German researchers recruited 110 people who were in hospital for Major Depressive Disorder. They scanned their brains with an MRI machine and gave them a questionnaire about childhood maltreatment. Two years later, they contacted the participants and asked them whether they had experienced in any depressive episodes since first contact. The researchers found that people who had experienced childhood trauma...[ read more ]

The Defectiveness Schema: Wishing you were someone else…

We are born small and weak. Baby ungulates walk within minutes of leaving the womb. And yet here we are weak and tender for years on end. We are not capable enough to care for ourselves and if we perceive and believe that we aren’t good enough to be independent, its because its true. It won’t be true forever, but...[ read more ]

The Abandonment Schema

Humans have developmental needs. Although infants and children have many needs, a simple way to describe these needs is to separate them into two categories: the need to grow as an individual and the need to grow as a member of the social group. The latter of these, the need to socially connect and fit in, is first met by...[ read more ]

Little World / Big World

Your mind on Imagination Researchers at the University of Boulder, Colorado recently taught 68 people to fear a harmless bell. They did this by repeatedly pairing the sound of the bell with an electric shock(!). They then placed these people into a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machine which maps brain activity. They then played the bell to some of...[ read more ]

Are My Problems First World Problems? The Internal vs External Enemy

Are my problems First World Problems? Yes. Your problems are probably First World problems. If you are reading this from Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, and you have problems, then your problems are First World problems. More broadly, if your problems are not those that are likely to immediately hasten your death, no matter on which...[ read more ]

Emotional Deprivation Schema – The Emotional Stranger

Toby* doesn’t want to be in therapy. A 42-year-old, currently unemployed, former army captain, Toby has seen people who need therapy and he’s not one. “I’ve got mates who are seriously traumatised, thinking about ending it all. These blokes need help, not me”. It’s true – Toby says that he’s not depressed or anxious, and definitely not suicidal. “I had...[ read more ]

Self-Sacrifice Schema

Penny* is perpetually tired. A nurse by training, she currently works as a 2IC for a disability services provider. Her boss is personable, but disorganised and Penny feels like she’s always picking up the slack. Things aren’t any easier at home. Penny sometimes ‘jokes’ that she has a second (unpaid) job managing the household. Sometimes however, she’s unable to joke,...[ read more ]

What is Schema Therapy? Part III

Part III: How we cope Grace has had no trouble forming friendships, it’s keeping them that she finds difficult. “People act nice, but eventually you find out they just don’t care” she often says. When a friend doesn’t return a call, or fails to follow through on commitment to her, she becomes angry. She has lost friends because of this...[ read more ]

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