Write about the thoughts and feelings stirred up in you by reading about
the schemas that seem most relevant to you. You don't have to put huge amounts
of time into writing-just ten to twenty minutes at a stretch, whenever a compelling
thought or feeling comes up and you have a chance to jot it down in a private
1. Don't censor your thoughts. Be completely
open, saying things you might not tell anyone else. Remember, this journal is
for your eyes only. The more honest you are with yourself, the better. This is
your chance to say whatever you'd like to tell someone else, but feel inhibited
about saying to them. Put it all in your journal.
2. Write whenever
and wherever you have the inspiration and are free to do so. Don't feel you
have to write every day, but keep the momentum going by writing when you feel
moved. It may help to do your writing in a private place where you feel secure
3. Write about both the objective facts and your feelings
about them. As your emotions well up, really let go, putting it all down on
paper. Free-associate-just let it all pour out.
4. Don't worry about how
it sounds or looks. No one is grading you; you don't have to be careful about
spelling or grammar. if you hit a block, just write over again whatever you've
5. Keep this journal for yourself. Don't write with someone
else in mind whom you might want to show this to someday. If you do that, you'll
start editing it with that person in mind, or you'll try to justify what you say.
6. Keep at writing over the course of several days, weeks, or even months,
if you find it helpful. Your thoughts, feelings, and insights will change as you
delve deeper into working with your schemas.
7. As you remember the
events in your early life that seem to have shaped your schema, consider writing
a letter-which you don't need to send-to the people or person in your life
who was most involved. It might be a self-absorbed parent who made you feel emotionally
deprived or a group of kids at school who made you feel left out. Vent your feelings
about their behavior in the letter. Make it part of your journal. This can be
an extremely effective way to give the frozen little child at the core of a schema
a way to express feelings, disappointments, and needs.
is another reason to keep a private journal if you are going to embark on this
inner journey. If you start early on, it becomes a way of tracking your progress
along this path if you note what triggers your most troublesome schemas, the thoughts,
feelings, and actions that go with them, and how often they come up.
in the journal will give you a place to pull together your insights on
the sources and origins of your schema, the situations that trigger it, and to
gradually piece together a fuller picture of your typical emotions, thoughts,
The journal also gives you a way to reflect
on your deeper feelings about the relevant issues in your life as well as on the
early experiences that seem to have shaped the schema. And it gives you a chance
to vent your feelings without having to confront people in your life.
several months of doing this work, your journal should help you track changes
in the thoughts and feelings that come up, in how you react. If your work with
schemas is having an effect, you will notice a gradual decrease in the number
of times in a given week or month you have schema attacks, or a lessening of their
intensity, or how long they last.
- Bennett-Goleman, Tara, Emotional Alchemy:
How the Mind Can Heal the Heart, Harmony Books: New York, 2001.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Reflection Exercise #2
The preceding section contained information
about schema therapy. Write three case study examples regarding how you might
use the content of this section in your practice.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION
What is the benefit of writing in the schema journal? Record the letter
of the correct answer the .