Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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The word schema is used to describe a mental process for efficiently processing and organizing incoming information.

Self schemas are enduring and self-defeating patterns that typically begin early in life.

These patterns consist of negative and dysfunctional thoughts and feelings which have been repeated and elaborated upon over time. They present obstacles for accomplishing one's goals and getting one's needs met. Examples of schemas beliefs are: 'I'm a failure,' 'People don't like me,' 'I'm not important,' 'I'm unlovable,' 'Nothing good ever happens to me,' 'People always leave me,' 'I will never get my needs met,' 'I am never good enough,' and so on.

Although schemas are usually developed early in life (during childhood or adolescence), they can also form later, in adulthood. (AD)

See also Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy.
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