Field of Schemes

Jeffrey Young gathered the schemes used in Schema Therapy under 5 domains and 18 headings. Scheme domains may not be separated very clearly. There are different schemes under each scheme domain. Schema Domains are five large categories of unmet needs, grouped together by 18 early maladaptive schemes defined by Young, Klosko & Weishaar (2003). In this article, we will examine these schemes’ domain details.

I – Disconnection and Rejection Domain: Schemes occur when the need for secure connection to others cannot be met are mostly gathered in this domain.

People who have schemes in this area think that their needs such as trust, stability, peace, love and sharing will not be fulfilled, and even if they are now, it is temporary. These schemes are mostly formed in distant, cold, exclusive, unstable, unreliable family environments.


Abandonment Scheme

The basic belief in this scheme is that the individual will be abandoned by their significant others.

People who are together will die, be with someone else, or leave. Ultimately, the coexistence of people are unreliable, inconsistent.

Scepticism/Abuse Scheme

This scheme includes the possibility that other people may hurt the individual at any time.

Others can deceive, humiliate, abuse, or hurt us. People who are active in this scheme tend to adopt the principle of trusting even your father.

Emotional Deprivation Scheme

It is the belief or expectation that the individual’s regular emotional needs will not be met by others.

The people we are with will not like us, will not take care of us, will not be with us in the difficult moment, will not support us, will not listen to us, if necessary, will not guide us and so on. People who are active in this scheme can perceive themselves as stepchildren.

Defectiveness Scheme

Individıals of this scheme feel imperfect in a way that they can’t fully understand or figure out.

These defects can be obvious, such as crooked legs, excess weight, long nose. But these imperfections can be emotional, such as selfishness, jealousy, perverse tendency. This scheme makes people hypersensitive to criticism and accusation. One cannot be comfortable with others, they feel shy and insecure.

Social Isolation Scheme

These individuals feel different than other people and isolated from groups.

One cannot feel part of a group or society. They believe the society will exclude them.

field of schemes 1

II – Impaired Autonomy and Performance Domain: This domain is characterized with beliefs and attitudes that individuals feel insufficient for an active struggle against difficulties, accomplishing tasks, staying alone, being separated from loved ones, working independently.

Family origin, humiliating, make you feel worthless, encouraging addiction, there are excessive protective attitudes.

Dependence/Incompetence Scheme

The individual has difficulty in maintaining his daily work alone.

They have serious problems in making important decisions. They think that the decision or what to do is wrong. Desperation is an intense emotion. They have difficulty starting a business alone. So much so that others can even decide what to wear.

Vulnerability to Harm or Illness Scheme

The individual has expectation and fear that a disaster will occur at any moment.

This fear is greater than the average fear.People who are active in this scheme can not be very comfortable and peaceful, they can not feel safe.

Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self Scheme

The individual feels an excessive emotional connection for one or more people (usually the parents).

They cannot think of themselves as a separate individual. This situation causes people to give up their individuality and sociality. However, this may become overwhelming over time. There may be emptiness, aimlessness, not knowing what to do.

Failure Scheme

The individual believes they failed and won’t achieve success in the future.

The perception of failure here may not be commensurate with reality, but one may avoid doing some work, even though they may succeed because of his belief. One perceives himself as stupid, incompetent, inadequate.

III – Impaired Limits Domain: This domain formed by realistic limits and failure to meet the need for self-control.

These schemes are related to personal boundaries, personal responsibilities and inability to maintain long-term behavior. People in this schema group have difficulty in respecting the rights of others, cooperating and creating personal goals. Typical family characteristics of these schemes include extreme tolerant, pampering, pampering attitudes; not to impose age-appropriate responsibilities on the child and to adopt attitudes that will evoke a sense of superiority. Here, the child may be deprived of appropriate guidance.

  • Entitlement/Grandiosity Scheme: The individual believes that they are superior to other people and have special rights and privileges.

In any case, in conflict, one feels right. One’s feelings of empathy have not developed. To gain power and authority; there may be an excessive focus on superiority. They can compete for their own interests and exert pressure on the other party.

  • Insufficient Self-Control Scheme: The individual avoids to set personal goals and achieve them.

The person has difficulty controlling his urge and emotions. Avoidance of restlessness, pain, distress, confrontation and responsibility is very common.

IV – Other-Directedness Domain: It is a domain where schemes are formed when the necessity of expressing needs and emotions cannot be met.

People in this scheme are often unaware of their anger and desire. Typical family origins are attitudes where care, affection, and approval are conditional. In these families, the wishes of the parent or carer have always been ahead of the child’s.

Subjugation Scheme

The individual feels the need of obligation to leave decisions, control, final word someone else.

The aim is to avoid anger, counter-reaction or abandonment. An indiscriminate transition refers to the suppression of one’s needs, desires, decisions and feelings such as anger. One believes that their needs are not important to others; The events tries to bring a bitty finish. It may form an overcompatible structure. But the harmony here leads to intense anger. This anger can also lead to substance abuse, psychosomatic discomfort, outbursts of anger and closure of emotions.

  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: The individual prioritizes the needs of others even at the expense of his satisfaction; pays excessive effort to meet the needs of other people.

The reasons for this endeavor include avoiding distress to others, avoiding the guilt of selfishness, and maintaining relationships with people who are thought to be incapable. this scheme emerges with exaggerated sensitivity to the suffering of others. From time to time, anger arises against people who do well if their needs are not met.

Approval-Seeking Scheme

The scheme is characterized in extreme sensitivity for gaining approval, acceptance, and interest from others.

These people are very careful to act in accordance with the environment. What is important for a person is how they appear in the eyes of others, how others evaluate their actions.

V – Overvigilance and Inhibition Domain: This domain includes schemes formed by spontaneity and inability to meet the need for games.

In this area, there is excessive control over one’s emotions and impulses. The aim is to avoid making mistakes and to fulfill the expectations. Happiness, self-expression, relaxation is not very important. The typical family origin is perfectionist and oppressive. Entertainment, comfort is not much premium.

  • Negativity/Pessimism Scheme: The individual believes that their life will be worse. They focus on negativity in life rather than positivity.
  • Emotional Inhibition/Over Responsibility Scheme: This scheme is characterized by constant and excessive pressure of natural behavior and impulses.

The aim of repression is to avoid making mistakes, being criticized, not being accepted and not being able to control their impulses. According to them, this control is essential for trust and peace of mind. Typical features include suppression of emotions, excessive regularity, excessive compliance with rules; joy, sexual arousal and suppression of entertainment; difficulty in expressing resentments and expressing needs; excessive emphasis on rationality. One can also try to apply excessive supervision to those around him.

Unrelenting Standards/Hypercriticalness Scheme

The main determinant is the desire to achieve excellence in behavior and task completion.

But perfection is a goal that can never be achieved. The main purpose of excellence is to avoid criticism. They feel compelled to work and do better. Enjoying life, having fun is not very common. Perfectionism, extreme rigor, normality, and strict attitudes to religious and cultural rules stand out.

  • Punitiveness Scheme: This scheme is characterized by the fact that every fault should be punished.

Anger, ruthlessness, and inconvenience to those who do not meet standards, including itself. They have a negative attitude towards forgiving mistakes.

The features of the above-mentioned schemes can be found in everyone. What matters to us is the amount of these features and how they affect our lives.

Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Marilyn Walker

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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