I recently met up with a family friend who consults for the prisons.
We were talking about punitive beliefs and how destructive it can be.
Punitive beliefs are very common amongst the patients we see. Common amongst our own profession, and I suspect, within our own society.
In schema therapy, a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we refer to this as punitive schemas. It’s a belief that if someone does something wrong, they must be punished. If we do something wrong, we must be punished too.
If one scored high in punitive schema, it can manifest in a number of unhelpful ways....
1. Self criticism
2. Self loathing
3. Difficult to forgive self and others
4. Poor self esteem
5. Chronic frustration
Once we are aware of our punitive schema, we can name it, defuse or distance from it, create space for it, OR hold it with compassion and kindness.
This can then free us up emotionally to focus on what is truly important for us, and create a quality of life that we want.