Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy is an approach to the treatment of psychological problems that do not usually respond to brief therapy. Jeffrey Young has been developing schema therapy for over 25 years in the USA where it is widely used.  It is an integrative therapy that draws on cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), psychodynamic and relational therapies, and experiential and expressive therapies. Schema therapy is also widely used in Europe, particularly in Holland, Germany, the UK and the Scandinavian countries.

Jeffrey Young’s website  offers a lot of online resources


International Society of Schema Therapy


An interview with Jeffrey Young with Eckhard Roediger, current ISST President


Group schema therapy

Inpatient-vs-Outpatient-Addiction-TreatmentRead about Joan Farrell and Ida Shaw’s innovative group schema therapy approach for borderline personality disorder and how it is being integrated with individual therapy to provide comprehensive treatment for many problems.  This treatment integrates psychoeducation about BPD, emotional awareness work, distress management and interpersonal skills with the Schema therapy model of  Jeffrey Young, Ph.D.
The use of schema therapy in Holland was promoted by research on the treatment of borderline personality disorder, a condition that has been found to be very difficult to treat. Two research trials demonstrated that schema therapy is an effective treatment borderline personality disorder (Giesen-Bloo et al., 2006) and research is ongoing in extending the schema therapy model to a wide range of psychological problems. A 2014 study has shown Schema Therapy to be significantly more effective than two major alternative approaches to the treatment of a broad range of personality disorders. Schema Therapy resulted in a higher rate of recovery, greater declines in depression, greater increases in general and social functioning and had a lower drop out rate (Bamelis, Evers, Spinhoven & Arntz, 2014). See the article abstract


The Dutch clinicians and researchers have also contributed to our understanding of the process of rescripting childhood memories (Arntz & Weertman, 1999; Weertman & Arntz, 2007), how to work with schema modes (Lobbestael et al., 2007 & 2008), and how to extend schema therapy to offenders in forensic settings (Bernstein, Arntz and de Vos, 2007).


In the USA, an eight month group therapy program based on schema therapy has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of borderline personality disorder (Farrell, Shaw & Webber, 2009) and this research has led to the development of comprehensive treatment programs that integrate individual and group schema therapy.

Other Schema Therapy Centres

The Schema Therapy Institute Midwest in Kalamazoo run by George Lockwood has a wealth of useful information.

Website of Wendy Behary, author of Disarming the narcissist, and former ISST President has useful resources particularly on the use of schema therapy in working or dealing with narcissistic individuals.

The Dutch schema therapy research and training group (In Dutch)

Melanie Greenberg, a schema therapist based in California uses schema therapy concepts and perspectives in several of her blogs:

When the voice inside your head turns bad 
Why Can’t I Get the Job Done on Time? 
Learning to be present with yourself 


 What are early maladaptive schemas?

Each slide below shows three of the 18 EMSs that we are concerned with in schema therapy.  Might this play a role in your life or the life of your clients?


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adolescent-therapySchema therapy for children and adolescents

Christof Loose based in Cologne has extensive materials and training opportunities on his website  (in English)


musicMusic and songs

Gila Antara’s song A little child beautifully captures the spirit of work with the inner child which is such an important aspect of schema therapy. I often play it at my workshops. It is included on Gila’s new album No rush  and is available at Amazon as an mp3 download.

Online videos and podcasts

15 interviews on YouTube with presenters at the 2016 ISST conference in Vienna, conducted by Travis Atkinson. These provide avideos great way to connect with what schema therapists are thinking and talking about currently.

An earlier ISST Youtube library now has over 20 clips and interviews on topics such as: The unique features of schema therapy (George Lockwood), working the avoidant patients (Arnoud Arntz), reparenting a psychopath (David Bernstein), Schema therapy for couples (Travis Atkinson, Eckhard Roediger, and Wendy Behary), group schema therapy (Joan Farrell and Ida Shaw), schemas in bipolar disorder (Lisa Hawke) and how to make training in schema therapy more effective (Arnoud Arntz).

Round table discussion between Jeff Young (Schema therapy), Allan Fruzzetti (DBT) and Frank Yeomans (Transference focused therapy), showing the differences in theory and central concepts relevant to the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

Arnoud Arntz on ST for borderline personality disorder (In Dutch)

Hear podcasts and see videos on Wendy Behary’s website

Downloadable documents

Using schemas and schema modes as a basis for formulation and treatment planning in schema therapy by David Edwards

List of early maladaptive schemas

List of schema modes

List of research publications on schema therapy

Logbook for schema triggering and mode analysis – pdf version or Word version




couples-bookSchema therapy for couples (ST-C)

Schema therapy is regularly used with couples. See the book Schema therapy for couples: A practitioner’s guide to healing relationships (July 2015). The ISST also offers specialised training and certification in Schema Therapy for couples.

See also;

Featured books

mindMindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation has been practiced for centuries and its value for mental health has been the focus of research for over 30 years. Schema therapists recognize the value of mindfulness meditation and several of them practice it themselves and recommend it to their clients.

This book provides a set of systematic exercises that can be used in group mindfulness training and individually.  There is also a set of exercises to integrate schema therapy methods with mindfulness practice.


transormational-chairworkScott Kellogg is an experienced schema therapist from New York who has given workshops on chairwork for many years.  His new book Transformational Chairwork: Using Psychotherapeutic Dialogues in Clinical Practice (Dec 2014) is a systematic presentation of principles and practice.   It looks at a wide range of clinical issues and gives practical guidelines on how to use chairwork when working with them.  The book will be very useful to schema therapists.

Or see it at Amazon UK or or Takealot (South Africa)


John and Karen Louis’ wonderful summary of current attachment theory-informed parent training framed within the schema therapy approach.  For parents who want to understand how to effectively parent their children.  For clients who were misparented to help them understand what went wrong and what they still need.  And for schema therapists to remind us what is involved in offering reparenting to clients.

See it at Amazon UK
or Takealot (South Africa)

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