Schema Therapy Effective in Treating Personality Disorders

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Personality disorders are known in therapist circles for being difficult to treat.  Our personality is so deeply part of who we are that it permeates all of our behaviors, patterns of reactions and the way relate to others.  Change in this area can seem impossible.  Schema therapy has been shown to offer hope to those suffering from personality disorders.  A recent study showed that schema therapy was significantly more effective than other types of therapy.

Schema therapy is relatively new, and goes to the root of childhood experiences that have resulted in maladaptive schemas.  For example, if I experienced the loss of a parent as a child, I may develop an abandonment schema.  The goal is to heal schemas, and stop using coping styles that prevent us from getting our emotional needs met.  Schema therapy was developed by Dr. Jeffery Young and draws from Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Gestalt and psychoanalytic therapies.

Dr. Jeff Riggenbach, Director of Brookhaven’s Outpatient Center, specializes in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and said this about the innovative therapy, “Schema therapy is especially effective for individuals with BPD. It expands upon traditional cognitive treatment models by getting to the “root” of peoples problems while maintaining a structured, practical, problem solving focus. Schema therapy focuses on connection and developing authentic relationships that foster genuine healing and improved quality of life rather than simply skill building and symptom management.”  There is hope for recovery from a personality disorder.

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