chapter  2
13 Pages

The Schema Concept in Psychodynamic Theory

ByJoseph W. Slap, Laura Slap-Shelton

The schema concept has been given more attention in cognitive and psychoanalytic theory. This chapter reviews the use of the schema concept in these fields and discuss the relation between these various uses and the schema model. J. Piaget introduced the concept of the schema as a key feature of his theory of intellectual development in early childhood. In Piaget’s theory, motivation is understood to derive from a natural process of seeking to maintain an equilibrium between assimilatory and accommodatory processes and to maintain a unified and coherent psychic organization. A. T. Beck’s cognitive theory of depression relies on the construct of negative self-schemas as part of the psychic structure of the depressed patient. The work of M. Horowitz has evolved with the aim of redefining psychodynamic theory in terms of cognitive as well as dynamic processes.