ISST Advanced Schema Therapist and Supervisor, EMDR Therapist, working in The Netherlands, The Hague with expats with developmental trauma, in different languages (Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish). PhD Candidate at Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology – Tilburg University.
The role of Enmeshment and Undeveloped Self, Subjugation, and Self-sacrifice in childhood trauma and attachment problems: The link with Self-Concept Clarity.
The link between EMS and a coherent sense of identity has not been investigated yet. This study focuses on the relationship of three specific EMS, Enmeshment and Undeveloped Self, Subjugation, and Self-Sacrifice, their association to developmental trauma and attachment problems, and their link with identity coherence. Self-report questionnaires on these constructs were completed by 360 university students. Path models were fitted to the total scores to test whether the three EMS mediated the association between developmental trauma and attachment problems and self-concept clarity. Developmental trauma was directly related to each of the three EMS, which all mediated the association between trauma and attachment anxiety. Subjugation additionally mediated the relation between trauma and attachment avoidance. Both insecure attachment styles were directly related to self-concept clarity. Attachment anxiety mediated the association between each EMS and self-concept clarity, whereas the effect of subjugation was additionally mediated by attachment avoidance. The results confirmed that developmental trauma is related to insecure attachment styles and to self-concept clarity, and that this relation is mediated by all three EMS. Evidence-based interventions (e.g., EMDR, Schema Therapy, etc.) need to take attachment styles, EMS and self-concept clarity into consideration when working with developmental trauma, making the patient aware of the subtle interconnection between these variables. Key words: Early Maladaptive Schemas, Subjugation, Self-Sacrifice, impaired autonomy, self-concept, self-concept clarity