Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Disorders of Personality

What is the history of the schema approach?

The general concept of schemas grew out of psychoanalytic theory. In the beginning of psychoanalysis, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the focus was largely on the battles between drives and defenses, between sexual and aggressive instincts, and the need to inhibit them. With time, noted psychoanalysts such as Otto Rank, Melanie Klein, D.W. Winnicott, Harry Stack Sullivan, and W.R.D. Fairbarn expanded that rather narrow focus to include their patients’ characteristic ways of engaging with the world around them. To some degree, all of these pioneering psychoanalysts linked the personality traits of their adult patients to their early childhood relationships with parents. This approach later became known as object relations, and included an assumption that early childhood relationships impacted adult personality by etching a particular picture of the world into the patient’s mind.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App