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Our ISST Premiere Blog: Highlighting Unmet Needs and Maladaptive Modes

05 Dec 2014 4:00 PM | Anonymous

by Travis Atkinson

Cathy Flanagan, one of the original contributors to developing the schema therapy model with Jeff Young, recently published a controversial article in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (2014 Vol. 24, No 3, 208-222) offering a new way to approach longer-term mental health issues through addressing unmet needs and maladaptive modes. Cathy describes a matrix of 8 modes healthy individuals experience. Modes are distinct patterns representing coping strategies to help individuals adapt to situations and to satisfy needs. Cathy defines a matrix that differentiates modes to help develop treatments to effectively meet the needs of individuals. 

Three Concerns: In her article, Cathy raises three concerns related to schema mode therapy. First, shifting the focus from early maladaptive schemas to an emphasis on early attachments, unmet needs are not necessarily connected to early maladaptive schema or modes. Second, the number of modes seems to be ever-expanding, even up to 22, raising the complexity of the model. Cathy's matrix concept, she proposes, is a way to identify and differentiate between coping modes linked to unmet needs and early maladaptive schemas. Third, advances in cognitive science may contradict views that patients only have one coping style, or that cognitions, emotions, and behaviors change synchronically--rather, they change independently of one another, she states.

Definitions: Cathy defines modes as adaptive strategies to satisfy cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of needs. The goal, she writes, is to help individuals meet core needs through developing more flexible and effective modes. Strategies to meet core needs can be increased to help core needs be met.

Cathy's Gift to ISST Members: Cathy has generously provided us with a copy of her article in its entirety. To read Cathy's work, please click: Flanagan_(2014)__Unmet_Needs___Maladaptive_Modes.pdf

Cathy Flanagan is a Certified Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer. She has a private practice in Manhattan, and is one of the original founders of the schema therapy model.

Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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