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“The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain.”
         -Gabor Maté

Schema Therapy
Schema Therapy

Sema therapy is an approach developed by Jeffrey Young and colleagues that integrates mainstream therapy approaches such as cognitive-behavioural, attachment, Gestalt, object relations and psychoanalytic.


The four main concepts in the Schema Therapy model are: Early Maladaptive Schemas, Schema Domains, Coping Styles, and Schema Modes.The 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas are self-defeating, core themes or patterns that we keep repeating throughout our lives.


The Schema Domains define 5 broad categories of emotional needs of a child (connection, mutuality, reciprocity, flow and autonomy). When these needs are not met, schemas develop that lead to unhealthy life patterns. The 18 schemas are grouped into these 5 categories, that correspond to specific emotional needs. Coping Styles refer to the ways a child adapts to damaging childhood experiences. For example, some surrender to their schemas; some find ways to block out or escape from pain; while others fight back or overcompensate.


Schema Modes are the moment-to-moment emotional states and coping responses that we all experience. Our maladaptive schema modes are triggered by life situations that we are oversensitive to (our "emotional buttons"). Many schema modes lead us to over or under react to situations and, thus, to act in ways that end up hurting us or others.

The goal of schema therapy is to help patients get their core emotional needs met. Key steps in accomplishing this involve learning how to:

• Stop using maladaptive coping styles and modes that block contact with feelings

• Heal schemas and vulnerable modes through getting needs met in and outside of the therapeutic relationship

• Incorporate reasonable limits for angry, impulsive or overcompensating schemas and modes

• Fight punitive, overly critical or demanding schemas and modes

• Build healthy schemas and modes


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral and Emotional Therapies are brief, scientifically validated therapies that focus on interactions between:

  • Thoughts

  • Behaviours

  • Emotions


Numerous scientific studies have come to demonstrate the effectiveness of these therapies . CBT was originally created to help people with depression, but today it is used to improve and manage different types of mental disorders and symptoms (anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder compulsive, addictions and eating disorders, …).

Cognitive, Behavioral and Emotional therapy emphasizes the importance of thoughts, beliefs, ruminations in determining how we feel and how we act. The analysis of our thoughts allows us to highlight the negative impact of “interpretations” of reality on our quality of life. When we can examine situations with precision and calmness without distorting reality, judgments about ourselves, we are better able to know how to react appropriately in order to feel happier in the longer term. These misinterpretations of reality are linked to our life experiences which often take root in our childhood. Together, we identify those thought patterns that cause us to act in such and such a way and cause us to suffer.


Thus, contrary to some popular belief, CBT is not only based on the study of the present but also relies on all of our experiences, from early childhood until today.

CBT is a so-called “active” therapy. concrete exercises are performed during the session but also at home at home. Notions of psychology ( Psychoeducation ) are also presented during the session to help you make sense of your symptoms. You then become master of your suffering by understanding where it comes from. comes, how it is maintained and you practice concrete solutions to go from a vicious circle to a virtuous circle.


The therapist uses a “bi sensorial”, alternated stimuli going from left to right (and vice versa) via eye movement.

Although less frequent, the stimuli can also be auditive.

In the case of a visual stimuli, the therapist makes vivid finger movements which the patient should follow. In the case of an auditive stimuli, a headset is put on and sounds alternate from left ear to right ear. This activates regions of the brain which are usually not used to be activated. While the eyes are stimulated, emotions are liberated. More  and more emotions are liberated in the session as the process goes.


This stimulation restructures the traumatic information in the cortex and no longer in the limbic brain, normally linked to emotions. This process is usually done naturally and spontaneously by the brain, which is why some most emotions leaves little mark. When a trauma or vivid emotion occur, the traumatic symptoms appear and persist when the memory has over-invested in the emotional brain and could not be processed by the cortex. Recoding induced by eye movements reduces the emotional load associated with that memory.


For nearly 30 years, EMDR therapy has proven its effectiveness through numerous controlled scientific studies carried out by researchers and clinicians around the world. EMDR therapy ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing ) uses a bi-alternating sensory stimulation (right-left) which is practiced by eye movements – the patient follows the fingers of the therapist who pass from right to left in front of his eyes – to treat psychotraumatic disorders.

The goal of EMDR is therefore to decrease the emotional load associated with a traumatic memory or difficult life event.

For nearly 30 years EMDR therapy has proven its efficacy through very numerous scientific studies carried out in place by researchers and clinical psychologists around the world. It is mainly validated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is the scientific name of what is also more commonly known as psychotrauma.

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