Mervin Smucker. The Nature of Core Maladaptive Schemata

Core maladaptive schemata are deep-seated, stable and enduring beliefs about oneself that develop as a result of negative interactions with significant others in childhood (e.g., caregivers, family members, teachers, peers) and are elaborated throughout one’s lifetime. These core negative schemata are unconditional in nature, highly believable and resistant to modification, emotionally charged, overpowering and often overwhelming when activated. Confronting and modifying negative schemata, while possible, is generally a challenging and long-term endeavor, as schemata tend to self-perpetuate and self-reinforce via maintenance mechanisms that distort information in order to maintain the schemata (e.g., by magnifying data that confirm the schemata and screening out data that refute the schemata).

Dr. Mervin Smucker is an international trauma consultant and author of numerous articles and books on trauma and cognitive-behavioural therapy interventions.