- The 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas
- Emotional Deprivation Schema
- Abandonment Schema
- Mistrust / Abuse Schema
- Defectiveness / Shame Schema
- Social Isolation / Alienation Schema
- Dependence / Incompetence Schema
- Vulnerability to Harm or Illness Schema
- Enmeshment / Undeveloped Self Schema
- Failure Schema
- Insufficient Self-Control / Self-Discipline Schema
- Grandiosity / Entitlement Schema
- Subjugation Schema
- Self-Sacrifice Schema
- Approval-Seeking / Recognition-Seeking Schema
- Negativity / Pessimism Schema
- Emotional Inhibition Schema
- Unrelenting Standards / Hyper-Criticalness Schema
- Punitiveness Schema
- The Five Schema Domains
- Treatment Techniques
- Scientific Research
- Reading List
Early Maladaptive Schemas
Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMSs) are negative patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that develop in response to early life experiences. These patterns can become deeply ingrained and can influence a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a negative way. EMSs are also known as “schemas,” “schema domains,” or “schema modes.”
“Schema” is a term that refers to a cognitive structure that organizes and simplifies information. Schemas are often used to understand and make sense of the world around us. In the context of EMSs, schemas are negative patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior that can become deeply ingrained and influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a negative way.
“Schema domains” refer to the different categories or areas of life that can be influenced by EMSs. Examples of schema domains include relationships, self-image, and coping styles.
“Schema modes” refer to the different ways in which EMSs can manifest in a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Schema modes can be thought of as the different “modes” or “settings” in which a person’s schemas can be activated, and can include behaviors such as avoidance, overcompensation, or surrender.
EMSs can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being and can make it difficult for them to form and maintain healthy, fulfilling relationships. It is important for people with EMSs to work on identifying and changing these negative patterns in order to improve their mental health and well-being. This may involve therapy, self-help, or other forms of treatment.
The 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas were developed by cognitive therapist Jeffrey Young as a framework for understanding and addressing psychological problems. Young proposed that EMSs are negative patterns of thinking and behaving that are thought to be at the root of many emotional and relationship problems. He suggested that EMSs develop in childhood or adolescence as a result of negative experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or trauma, and that they persist into adulthood unless they are addressed and changed. The EMS framework has been influential in the field of cognitive-behavioral therapy and has been widely used in research and clinical practice.
There are 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas that have been identified. These schemas are:
- Emotional Deprivation: This schema involves a belief that one’s emotional needs will not be met by others.
- Abandonment: This schema involves a fear of being abandoned or rejected by others.
- Mistrust/Abuse: This schema involves a belief that others are untrustworthy or that one will be mistreated or taken advantage of by others.
- Defectiveness/Shame: This schema involves a belief that one is flawed or unworthy, and a tendency to feel shame or self-hatred.
- Social Isolation/Alienation: This schema involves a belief that one is different from others and does not belong.
- Dependence/Incompetence: This schema involves a belief that one is unable to manage one’s own life and needs to rely on others.
- Vulnerability to Harm or Illness: This schema involves a belief that one is vulnerable to harm or illness, and a tendency to worry excessively about one’s health.
- Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self: This schema involves a difficulty in maintaining boundaries and a lack of a sense of self.
- Failure: This schema involves a belief that one is a failure and will not be successful in life.
- Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline: This schema involves a belief that one lacks self-control or self-discipline, and a tendency to engage in impulsive or reckless behavior.
- Grandiosity/Entitlement: the belief that rules don’t apply to you, might involve a disregard for others, disregard for the long term consequences of actions, etc.
- Subjugation: This schema involves a tendency to give up one’s own needs and desires in order to please others.
- Self-Sacrifice: This schema involves a tendency to put the needs of others before one’s own needs, often to the point of neglecting one’s own well-being.
- Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking: This schema involves a need for excessive approval and recognition from others.
- Negativity/Pessimism: This schema involves a negative outlook on life and a tendency to expect negative outcomes.
- Emotional Inhibition: This schema involves a tendency to suppress or hide one’s emotions, and a difficulty in expressing feelings or needs.
- Unrelenting Standards/Hyper-Criticalness: This schema involves holding oneself and others to extremely high standards and being excessively critical when these standards are not met.
- Punitiveness: This schema involves a belief in punishment and retribution and a difficulty with forgiveness and compassion.