What is Schema Dynamics Programming


The terminology

“Schema” comes from schema-focused therapy and refers to the maladaptive schemas taxonomy developed by Jeffrey Young, Ph.D., and his collaborators since the ’80s. It is the problem-oriented component of the field, using psychometric questionnaires developed and tested by scientists to evaluate which are the schemas and modes which pathologically influence the emotions, thoughts, behavior, and language of the people. Schemas are triggered by traumas, most likely from childhood and, through complications, when activated, may generate discomfort, stress, challenge, failure, and ultimately, psychiatric illness.

Dynamics” comes from “Spiral Dynamics“, a field founded in the ’70s by Clare Graves, Ph.D., and it refers to the multiple values levels layered in the personality, which may change over time. It is the results-driven component of the field, using advanced psychometric testing developed by professional researchers to discover which type of potential and perspective is enabled to support the transformational development of individuals and societies.

Programming” comes from “Neuro-Linguistic Programming” (NLP), the field developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, Ph.D. starting in the ’70s, centered on using complex practical processes to provide models of excellence. Although sometimes presented as pseudoscience, some fields of NLP, such as metaprograms and values, have been psychometrically tested as scientifically valid models of correctly structuring language, behavior, and personality.

ST (schema therapy) and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) have common roots in Gestalt therapy.

In some NLP Master Practitioner training, the Spiral Dynamics model is studied.



What are the characteristics of Schema Dynamics Programming? How is SDP different from:

  • Psychotherapy?

  • NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)?

  • Spiral Dynamics?

  • SFT (schema-focused therapy)?

  • Coaching?

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) provides the client with flexible processes for personal transformation. This enables the functions of both psychotherapy and coaching: it works both for the traumas in the past and the goals in the future.

SDP provides a directed structure. The schema dynamic programmer knows how to recognize and measure the results of the changes when dealing with personal issues, professional goals, past, present and future. The structure is directed in the sense that the schema dynamic programmer uses both descriptive complex maps and tools to know where the client is, knows where (s)he wants to go, and, after considering the available options (tools, processes, techniques), chooses one or several procedures to follow and monitor.

(keep reading ↓)

To merely give an example, as opposed to coaching, the schema dynamic programmer may offer his/her opinion, contradict the client and give advice if necessary. The schema dynamic programmer focuses on practical exercises and homework, which require a solid amount of effort (emotional, physical, and logistic) from the client. This work is oriented to the past and the future and does not accept the client’s personality as a given but as a starting point in the job done, which is a mere effect of life experiences and environment and may be subject to change.

Using this strategic approach, with the appropriate direction, issues such as introversion, panic attacks, PTSD, psychosomatization, phobias, alexithymia, allergies, emotional stress response, abandonment, mistrust, emotional deprivation, entitlement, abandonment, and others (to name just a few) can be entirely and ultimately removed and replaced with functional systems within the subconscious and the conscious.

As a set of tools oriented towards professional growth, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) can provide clients with life-changing experiences which enable them to advance in the Spiral Dynamics model within months (instead of years) and achieve professional and personal benefits such as:

  • job and career change and performance;

  • happy marriages;

  • increased revenues;

  • status change.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) focuses, as SFT (schema-focused therapy) does as well, on both emotional and cognitive-rational aspects of the change, but where SFT (schema-focused therapy) insists on working with modes (especially considering the psychiatric interventions), SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on working with metaprograms. Where SFT (schema-focused therapy) insists on working with imagery, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) has a much more effective and advanced process designed by its founder. Such methods are similar to several NLP techniques but different from all of them, and it does not necessarily involve trance/hypnosis. NLP is also more focused on fast-solving surface issues, which may work in alleviating effects but not always causes. For example, a metaprogram change can be successful for a healthy adult. Still, it may be undone if there is a maladaptive schema caused by an abusive trauma from the past at the root of the metaprogram change.

Where SFT (schema-focused therapy) insists on analysis, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) insists on homework and delegating as much of the change work to the client once (s)he earns the skills and learns the processes of a model for personal change. While psychotherapy generally insists on the necessity of the process being administered by a state-approved specialist, the SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) processes can be easy, independently learned, and applied by each client, provided (s)he has the appropriate personality and skills inclinations. In this sense, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is nearer to coaching. While the client is encouraged to use some of the processes for the self (s), he is not encouraged to become a dynamic schema programmer with other people without proper supervision.

Spiral Dynamics offers a deep conceptual framework that many psychologists and psychiatrists are unaware of, and not even most coaches. On this foundation, a critical SDP premise is that almost any NLP-type process can be run, focusing on developing skills and attitudes once the maladaptive schemas have started to change in intensity. Thus, Spiral Dynamics offers a strategic measuring tool, a chart, a map of transformations, a clear direction of development once the client is freed from many startling issues, and some tools for the most advanced knowledge.


A unified theory of personality psychology

For several decades, clinical psychology and organizational or positive psychology have insisted on different aspects of the human psyche:

  • interpreting the past (retrospection) vs. predicting the future (prospection);

  • problems vs. goals;

  • why vs. how;

  • reflective analysis vs. active experience (exercise);

  • addictions vs. virtues;

  • learning vs. growing;

  • abstract vs. concrete;

  • personal vs. professional;

  • body vs. mind;

  • solving vs. developing;

  • issues vs. potential;

  • negative vs. positive;

  • mistakes vs. performance;

  • comprehension vs. action;

  • reparation vs. fine-tuning performance;

  • emotions vs. reason;

  • awareness for insight vs. awareness for decision/action;

  • static vs. dynamic; 

  • treating vs. training;

  • obstacles vs. resources’

  • linear thinking (Aristotelian) vs. systemic thinking (non-Aristotelian);

  • diffusiveness vs. focus;

  • deliberate slowness vs. witty quickness;

  • cautious desurgency vs. exuberant surgency;

  • relationship vs. task;

  • pain vs. excitement;

  • long-term vs. medium/short-term;

  • acceptance vs. change;

  • diagnosis vs. enhancement;

  • tense strictness vs. moderate willingness;

  • guiding vs. directing;

  • assessment vs. evaluation;

  • teaching vs. knowing;

  • floating vs. flying

and so on.


Differentiating for the future

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is not the only mixed approach available. It may not even be the best. But it works and will be tested on how well it works compared to any of the separate components to which it is compared.

SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is being developed by Marcus Victor Grant as a groundbreaking new field with its own applications and is NOT in direct competition with ST (schema therapy), Spiral Dynamics, and NLP. However, it is important that this field would support the development and, most significantly, the research of these 3 original fields on which it is grounded. It is not intended as a substitute but as an alternative, an enhancer, and a continuation, as it differs from those mentioned above.

However, SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) may enter the competition with the following:

  • regular psychotherapy

  • coaching

Regular psychotherapists and coaches who lack skills and knowledge in these three fields are not accredited, advised, or recommended to clients. As SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is a practical field, the researchers are challenged to devise experimental tests and projects to compare the effectiveness of SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) with either regular psychotherapy or coaching. SDP (Schema Dynamics Programming) is different and superior through techniques, skills, and results to traditional psychotherapy and coaching. This is not a marketing statement; it merely reflects reality based on the obtained. And it’s getting better and better, steady and slow.

People interested in learning these skills are advised to contact Marcus Victor Grant directly.

The theoretical component of Schema Dynamics Programming also integrates models from transactional analysis, positive psychology, multiple intelligences, and motivational psychology, and from landmark specialists such as Jeffrey Young, Clare Graves, Abraham Maslow, Robert Dilts, Anthony Robbins, David McClelland, W. Gerrod Parrot, Robert Plutchick, Edward Deci, Richard Ryan, Brian Tracy (correlating research to be determined) and could be associated in the future with several other theories. You may download here a synthesis pdf.

 None of the contents of this page can be reproduced without the written express consent of Marcus Victor Grant. No exceptions are allowed.

If you liked this article, please also read this:

Schema Dynamics Programming with Marcus Victor Grant (25.12.2016)

Cum să trăiești o viață împllinită./ How to Live A Fulfilling Life


PS: Thanks to Diana Andreea Bădrăgan.

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2017-present, all rights reserved.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.


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