List of maladaptive schemas

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This is a list of maladaptive schemas, often called early maladaptive schemas, in schema therapy:[1]

Disconnection and rejection[edit]

The belief system involving the sense that significant others will not be able to continue providing support, connection, strength, or protection because they are unstable, unpredictable, unreliable; because they will eventually die; or because they found someone better.
The belief system involving the sense that others will intentionally hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie manipulate, take advantage, or neglect.
Emotional deprivation
The belief that one's standard for emotional support will not be met by others.
The belief that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or unworthy. This include the fear of insecurities being exposed to significant others, accompanied by hypersensitivity to criticism, rejection, and blame.
Social Isolation/alienation
The belief that one is isolated from other people; the feeling of not being a part of any groups.

Impaired autonomy and performance[edit]

The belief that one cannot handle daily responsibilities without the help of others.
Vulnerability to harm or illness
The belief system involving the exaggeration of fear that catastrophe will strike at any time; the catastrophes may be medical, emotional, or external.
Enmeshment/underdeveloped self
The belief system that one must please others at the expense of self or social development.
The belief that one will fail in everything.

Impaired limits[edit]

The belief that one is superior to others, which allows one to have special rights and privileges.
Insufficient self-control/self-discipline
The conflict between life goals and low self control, perhaps seeking comfort instead of trying to perform daily responsibilities.


The belief that one should surrender control to others, suppressing desires in order to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment.
The belief system involving excessive selflessness, focused on meeting the needs of others at the expense of one's own desire.
The desire to gain approval, recognition, or attention from other people at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self.

Overvigilance and inhibition[edit]

The belief system involving the overemphasis on the negative aspects of life including pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, or things that could go wrong; neglecting positive aspects of life.
Overcontrol/emotional inhibition
The belief system involving the inhibition of actions, feelings, or communications to avoid negative consequences.
Unrelenting standards/hypercriticalness
The belief that one must strive to meet very high personal standards, usually to avoid criticism, leading to hypercriticalness toward self and/or others.
The belief that people should face consequences for their mistakes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The many reference books that list these schemas include, for example: Figure 1.1: Early maladaptive schemas with associated schema domains, in: Young, Jeffrey E.; Klosko, Janet S.; Weishaar, Marjorie E. (2003). Schema therapy: a practitioner's guide. New York: Guilford Press. pp. 14–17. ISBN 9781593853723. OCLC 51053419. And: Klosko, Janet S.; Sanderson, William C. (1999). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression. Clinical application of evidence-based psychotherapy. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson. pp. 72–73, 184–192. ISBN 0765701529. OCLC 37837798.