Core Childhood Needs

When attuned parents raise children, they develop a healthy attachment style of relating in intimate relationships. When a child’s needs are not met, the child will develop ‘early maladaptive schemas’ (EMS). This term is used in Schema Therapy, one of the most successful modalities for working with people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Many therapists won’t work with BPD, because it is notoriously hard to treat. When I think of BPD, I think of Complex Trauma straight away. I have yet to meet anyone with a BPD diagnosis who has not experienced some kind of Complex Trauma. It scares me to think that the people in our society who most need our help (those who have grown up in dysfunctional and traumatic environments) are being defined as ‘untreatable’. Perhaps, it is not the person that is untreatable, but the methods that are unsuitable?

Now, back to ‘early maladaptive schemas’ (EMSs). Remember these schemas arose out of unhealthy and toxic interpersonal relationships. When we are in a dangerous place as a child, we do whatever we need to do to stay safe. That is sensible and natural. Adapting to survive. The problem is that many of these EMSs are carried into adulthood and cause problems in life.

Know that schemas CAN be changed. I have walked with many people through this journey of healing and transformation and witnessed with awe the power of the human spirit.

So much love on your healing journey,



Farrell, J. M. & Shaw, I, A. (2018). Experiencing Schema Therapy from the Inside Out. The Guildford Press: London, UK.