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For understanding, the psychological system uses existing structures to reduce complexity. In parts of current psychology these are called schemata (such as: <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Schematherapie</a>). Any information offered, each situation, invokes a schema which fits it (learning something, addressing someone, asking for something, reporting something etc.). Schemata can be seen as frameworks within which we think, using preconceptions about things, people and the form of their relationships. Schemata are automatically accompanied by expectations. One ‘knows’ how it will continue or how it will pan out, i.e. one fills in the gaps through one’s own assumptions: a row of dots turns into a line.

This form of understanding has a number of consequences. The information for which schemata already exist, quickly becomes relevant. One drives into the dark and recognises the known! Therefore, one realises what fits better to the schema and one can classify and explain it more easily (reference framework). At the same time, schemata constantly accumulate in this way; they are altered and changed. As a counsellor, therefore, it is important to

1. know one’s own schemata

2. investigate the schemata of the client

3. recognise that everything the client recounts has been run through these schemata, and, therefore, tells as much about the client as it does about his environment.

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