Basic concepts in Schema Therapy

The four basic concepts of the Schema Therapy model are:


  • The Early Maladaptive Schemas
  • The Basic Categories of Early Maladaptive Schemas (Schema Domains)
  • The Maladaptive Coping Strategies of Response to the Schema (Cοping Styles)
  • The Schema Modes


The Early Maladaptive Schemas


The early maladaptive schema consists the basic conceptual structure of Schema Therapy. It has a self-destructive character and is characterized by basic patterns we have preserved by repeating them in all of our life. The early maladaptive schemas consist the core of personality disorders. According to Young, the early maladaptive schema:


  • Consists a wide and stable pattern
  • Consists of memories, emotions, knowledge and physical senses
  • Regards the persons themselves and their relationship with others
  • Is developed during childhood or adolescence and evolves throughout a person’s life
  • Is dysfunctional at a high degree


Schemas are created when the core emotional needs of the child that is developing are not met. It is the result of deficient experiences of childhood and, although they are clearly dysfunctional, there is a strong tendency to be preserved in adulthood. They are part of the identity of a person, they consist the way they experience themselves and, therefore, they are absolutely familiar. They make the person malfunction, but, at the same time, they consist a part of their reality, they are “what” they know, and this is why it is very difficult to change them. These schemas determine to a significant extent the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and relates to others.


You can read about the eighteen Early Maladaptive Schemas in the relative PDF file at the webpage of the Greek Society of Schema Therapy at the following link:


Early Maladaptive Schemas