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Schema Therapy (or more properly, Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy) is an integrative approach to treatment that combines the best aspects of cognitive-behavioral, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model. Schema-Focused Therapy has shown remarkable results in helping people to change negative (“maladaptive”) patterns which they have lived with for a long time, even when other methods and efforts they have tried before have been largely unsuccessful. Schema-Focused Therapy consists of three stages. First is the assessment phase, in which schemas are identified during the initial sessions. Questionnaires may be used as well to get a clear picture of the various patterns involved. Next comes the emotional awareness and experiential phase, wherein patients get in touch with these schemas and learn how to spot them when they are operating in their day-to-day life. Thirdly, the behavioral change stage becomes the focus, during which the client is actively involved in replacing negative, habitual thoughts and behaviors with new, healthy cognitive and behavioral options.
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