DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastHow Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression
How Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression

How Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression

Update: 2020-03-182
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How Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes

Objectives

– Define schema

– Explain how schema are formed

– Discuss why schema may be inaccurate or outdated

– Identify 5 strategies to address unhelpful schema


What are Schema

– Schema are mental representations or beliefs about a particular person or event that we repeat(and hopefully adjust) throughout our lives

– Schema about ourselves and our goodness

– Schema about going to the doctor

– Schema about job interviews

– Schema about news media

– Schema about flu season

– Schema about the stock market

– Schema about coronavirus

– Schema about the safety or dangerousness of other people

– Schema are a type of metacognition

General Categories of Schema

– Security/ Abandonment

– Trust & Safety / Abuse

– Emotional Support / Emotional Deprivation & Invalidation

– Self Determination / Vulnerability To Emotional or Physical Harm

– Positivity & Optimism / Negativity & Pessimism

– Acceptance And Contentment / Hypercriticalness

– Competence / Defectiveness

– Independence / Dependence

– Self Concept & Esteem /Enmeshment

– Success & Empowerment / Failure

– Self Control / Lack of Self Control & Subjugation

– Belongingness, Connectedness vs. Alientation


How are they formed

– Schema are formed based on the interpretation and memories of experiences

– They are a short-cut the brain creates to help us better anticipate future situations

– Interpretation is impacted by

– The person’s age and prior similar experiences

– The person’s cognitive development and metacognition

– Children tend to personalize, dichotomize and overgeneralize

– People with trauma histories may notice and remember more threats in the environment (Hypervigilant thinking)

– If you have had a bad experience with something, then you likely expect another bad experience (waiting in a doctor’s office; shots; the flu; thunderstorms)


How Schema Become Outdated

– What was dangerous to you as a child may no longer be dangerous (staying home alone)

– What was dangerous to you in the past (abusive significant other, emotional dysregulation) may not apply in the present (current SO, emotional regulation)

– The expectations that applied to something 20 years ago may not apply now (stock market, cancer, HIV)


Why Schema May Be Inaccurate

– Emotional Valence

– We tend to notice threats when we are in a dysphoric mood

– Lack of Knowledge

– Fear mongering headlines

– Conflicting or inaccurate information


Forming Healthy Schema

– Basic needs include:

– Consistency and Predictability

– Responsiveness

– Acceptance and Attention

– Validation

– Empathy and Encouragement

– Safety and Support in Solution Generation


Adjusting Schema

– Identify and evaluate current schema that cause distress

– Evaluate the facts

– Address cognitive distortions (overgeneralization)

– Explore schema related to old situations with “fresh eyes”

– Abandonment

– Safety

– Emotional dysregulation

Schema Restructuring

– Security/ Abandonment

– Trust & Safety / Abuse

– Emotional Support / Emotional Deprivation & Invalidation

– Self Determination / Vulnerability To Emotional or Physical Harm

– Positivity & Optimism / Negativity & Pessimism

– Acceptance And Contentment / Hypercriticalness

– Competence / Defectiveness

– Independence / Dependence

– Self Concept & Esteem /Enmeshment

– Success & Empowerment / Failure

– Self Control / Lack of Self Control & Subjugation

– Belongingness, Connectedness vs. Alientation


Summary

– Schema are lenses through which we predict and interpret situations

– They are only as good as the knowledge and understanding of the situation

– Schema often need to be altered as we gain new information

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How Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression

How Schema Affect Anxiety & Depression

Charles Snipes