According to Young, mental patterns are ingrained and enduring patterns that are developed and worked out throughout life. They affect the way we think, feel and act.
Last update: October 10, 2021
As Young explains, when we speak of mental schemes, we are referring to pre-established, rooted and lasting models that develop and occur throughout a person's life.
More simply, they are "our way of being and behaving in the world". If these patterns are dysfunctional, it can happen, for example, to often meet the wrong people, demonstrate toxic or destructive behaviors, disproportionate reactions and, in general, run into problems and unwanted situations.
These circumstances happen frequently. The person is usually unaware of the pattern he creates and feels confused because she is unable to explain what is happening to her.
According to J. Young's Schema Therapy, schemas are considered as a priori truths, they perpetuate themselves, resist change, are dysfunctional, are generated and activated by environmental experiences, and have harmful effects.
Other than that, sometimes mental patterns are fueled or aroused by traumatic or negative experiences, which acquire permanence precisely through the scheme they feed.
Mental patterns condition us
Why do mental patterns affect us? Since this is such a deep-rooted, internal and emotional experience, when we want to think about the situation in which we find ourselves, the scheme has already marked the way forward: has already started.
Think of the situations of your daily life that repeat themselves: emotional dependence in a couple, putting the needs of others before your own, giving in to addictions. It can be any behavior that harms, but which is always there, from which it seems impossible to get rid of despite the suffering caused.
Now let's think: we know that this is not the way to go, that there are other directions to take, that after doing it we feel terrible. But despite this, we continue to behave in the same toxic way. This happens because the pattern has already reproduced the behavioral pattern we are used to.
More, if someone asks us why we continue to behave in the same way, we are unable to give a valid answer. We know that it is not fair, that we are damaging our lives, but it is very difficult or almost impossible to give it up.
This is because the mindset is highly emotional. It is born within us, in the depths. It is the result of various childhood experiences and is like an indomitable beast. When we have that "risky situation" ahead of us, we lose control. The scheme has already done its duty.
How can we change these patterns?
Being passive won't help. It is very difficult for this miracle to happen. We will therefore have to do an exercise in conscious analysis in which decision and will come into play.
there different psychological strategies and techniques that can help, cognitive, behavioral or emotional.
First of all, we need to start recording, monitoring those situations that, in some way, disturb us emotionally. And not only that, but also those that make us act blinded by reason.
For example, a child whose parents are not present enough may develop the "abandonment" mental pattern. In adult life, the person develops emotional dependence and reproduces the same pattern with partners, who end up abandoning it.
It is therefore important to understand and understand the model, visualize it in daily life and control situations in which emotional dependence is present, with all the ensuing consequences.
Once recorded in a personal therapeutic diary, the behaviors and thoughts that these situations have in common can be analyzed. Do you have a tendency to give in in social relationships? Do you find it hard to break off relationships even if they don't bring any benefit?
After identifying the weaknesses, strategies can be devised to prevent it from happening again as much as possible. Breaking the mold means facing, not with opposition but with intelligence, what the pattern asks of us.
If you find it difficult to say no, try not to run away from situations where you need to be assertive. If you build toxic relationships out of fear of being alone, start exploring all the positives that the dreaded loneliness can offer you.
It will be difficult at first and you will have to be willing to tolerate the discomfort. Think that you are not used to choosing this way of acting: your automatisms go in the opposite direction.
On the other hand, sometimes no matter how hard we try, we will have no choice but to live with the remnants of these patterns for a long time.
Thus, it will take longer to change the way we are in the world. But if we extend the Locus of control to our mental schemes, we will achieve our goal.