Schema-based Couple Therapy
Schema therapy helps by first recognising the client’s negative schemas and coping styles, before working towards changing them and forming healthier beliefs and behaviours. In Schema Therapy for Couples (ST-C), it uses the same approach but in the context of relationships to help you manage your dissatisfactions in the relationship.
ST-C is effective in managing:
- Indirect and overt conflicts
- Lack of emotional connection
- Trust issues
- Unsatisfying physical intimacy
- Poor and negative communication
- Lack of shared interests, values, and goals
- Personality and mood disorders
- Abusive relationships
Schema Therapy applies the 18 early maladaptive schemas (Refer to image below) that are typically developed from traumatic childhood experiences. These schemas drive the formation of unhealthy coping strategies which may become dysfunctional when affecting attachments, relationships, or day-to-day activities. As schemas are mental shortcuts, they tend to affect one’s judgements and perceptions of ambiguous situations, causing undesirable reactions.
Can I go for ST-C alone?
ST-C is still valuable even if you come or comply with teachings of the therapy. You will still learn to address your individual maladaptive schema and develop your own sense of direction and determination to fulfill your own unmet needs. This does not require the agreement nor consent of your partner. At the same time, you will develop greater self-awareness and better coping methods to improve your relationship.
- Intake: You and your partner will be assessed based on your interactions and identification of problems and strengths.
- Assessment phase: Your therapist will conduct interviews and inventories to conceptualise the relationship dissatisfactions, while identifying the maladaptive behaviour and thinking patterns.
- Analysis: Your therapists will select the qualities to develop and focus on and devise a customised “road-map” of the treatment plan. Frequency and duration of the treatment process will be discussed before proceeding.
- Treatment: Behavioural experiments, role-playing and education to achieve goals discussed.
Techniques used in ST-C:
- Guided imagery: You will be asked to form images of upsetting childhood memories which developed associations between past experiences and current triggers
- Limited reparenting: Your therapist will provide guidance and validation to fulfills the unmet needs you have
- Empathic confrontation: Identification of maladaptive thoughts and behavioural patterns
- Role-playing: Rehearsal of learned adaptive behaviours and coping strategies
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