If our needs are unmet as we grow, we can develop maladaptive core beliefs (‘schemas’), such as abandonment, defectiveness, mistrust, vulnerability to harm, emotional inhibition/deprivation, self-sacrifice, and unrelenting standards. These core beliefs can be activated in adulthood by various triggers and can then lead to changes in our thinking, emotions, and behaviour. For example, if you received punishing and critical messages from your parents when you were young you might go on to develop a defectiveness schema and avoid adult relationships or drink lots of alcohol to dull your inner critic. Or alternatively, if you received inconsistent parenting you might go on to develop an abandonment schema and feel very anxious in adult relationships. Schema therapy is an integrative psychotherapy drawing on cognitive, experiential and behavioural approaches. It aims to test the validity of schemas. It typically goes deeper than cognitive behaviour therapy and focusses particularly on developing healthy adult relationships.