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Schema Therapy Shows Promise for Personality Disorders

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Understanding of this form of therapy is still limited:

What sets schema therapy apart from all the other major treatments for personality disorders, including treatments like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is its use of limited reparenting. This involves the therapist doing more to directly meet the early core emotional needs of the patient.

Limited reparenting is organized around modes, or parts of the self.

The therapist works to get past modes like the Detached Protector and Punitive Parent Mode to reach the Vulnerable Child Mode.

Direct access to the Vulnerable Child is the key to the therapist being able to meet these needs and is the cornerstone of treatment.

All the major alternatives involve the therapist talking to the adult patient about their vulnerabilities and thus are more focused on adult to adult interactions.

Schema therapy focuses on direct contact between the therapist and this vulnerable or child part of the self.

This sets a very different tone to the treatment; one that patients respond readily to and that is believed to be the reason for the unusually low dropout rate.

The adult side of the patient is gradually brought in as it becomes healthy enough to take over for the therapist.

Personality disorders are common (3-15 percent of the general population) and are associated with high personal suffering for those with the disorder and for those in their life. They also result in high societal costs.

Psychotherapy is considered the primary treatment for personality disorders though research into its effectiveness with this population is still in its infancy.

Thanks, Adam!  Yes, that's captures the crux of it!

You're welcome Tina. It's amazing how little is known. The research is still in the early stages.

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