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ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 12
Review paper

Young’s theory of early maladaptive schemes from the perspective of the neurodevelopmental theory of depression

Monika Talarowska, Piotr Gałecki

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2017; 12, 3: 101–107
Online publish date: 2017/11/30
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Is it possible to indicate biological foundations for personality traits? There is no explicit answer to this question, which additionally raises controversies. If we allow ourselves to accept such a perspective, then a new question arises regarding the actual impact of psychotherapeutic effects on a change of reinforced templates of our functioning (understood as personality traits or cognitive schemes).

In the presented work, the authors made an attempt to find the common denominator for J. Young’s theory of early maladaptive schemes and the neurodevelopmental theory by P. Gałecki and M. Talarowska.

Young’s theory belongs to the so-called third wave of cognitive and behavioural therapies. It is a long-lasting therapy which combines concepts of the cognitive and behavioural approach, the psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach, and the interpersonal approach. Its techniques are applied (and turn out to be effective) among others in the treatment of personality disorders. The neurodevelopmental theory of depression integrates the contemporary understanding of the aetiology of depression, and emphasises the role of biological factors and three development stages (the prenatal period, early years, and adolescence).

Functional and anatomical changes in cooperating regions of the brain, i.e. the amygdala – the hippocampus – the prefrontal cortex (excessive activity of the amygdala in response to negative emotional stimuli associated with difficulties in inhibiting such content by the prefrontal cortex), seem to be a common element determining the shape of maladaptive cognitive schemes and personality traits predisposing to the occurrence of symptoms of depression.

In our opinion, the answer to the question presented in the introduction is positive and the universality of the neurodevelopmental theory fully justifies it.

neurodevelopmental theory, depression, schema therapy, early maladaptive schemes

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