Schema Therapy

jeffry-youngSchema 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.  It is an integrative therapy that draws on cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), psychodynamic and relational therapies, and experiential and emotion-focused therapies. Schema therapy is now widely used internationally, with a growing presence in Europe,  including in Holland, Germany, the UK, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.  There are also several training centres in Australia and a growing number in South America and Russia.

USEFUL LINKS:   Jeffrey Young’s website  offers a lot of online resources


The website of the International Society of Schema Therapy


The use of schema therapy in Holland was promoted by research on the treatment of borderline personality disorder, a condition that has usually been considered be very difficult if impossible to treat. Two research trials demonstrated that schema therapy is an effective treatment for borderline personality disorder (Giesen-Bloo et al., 2006) and since then researchers have extended the schema therapy model to a wide range of psychological problems. A 2014 study showed 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) …..

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?

Group schema therapy

Group schema therapy  for borderline personality disorder (BPD) was developed by Joan Farrell and Ida Shaw in Indianapolis.  It is a program that integrates psychoeducation about BPD, emotional awareness work, distress management and interpersonal skills within the Schema therapy model.

It has been shown to have a significant impact on emotional dysregulation and other severe symptoms.  It is now being integrated with individual therapy to provide comprehensive treatment for many problems.


Schema therapy for couples (ST-C)

Schema therapy is regularly used with couples and the ISST offers specialised training and certification in ST-C.

See Schema therapy for couples: A practitioner’s guide to healing relationships (2015)

and Breaking negative relationship patterns (2016).

Training in ST-C: Travis Atkinson
                              Chiara Simeone-DiFrancesco



Schema therapy for children and adolescents (ST-CA)

The ISST has a separate certification category for ST-CA.

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

Schema therapy resources

Online videos and podcasts

See interviews with David Edwards by Travis Atkinson

  • A summary of his Presentation at the ISST conference in Vienna in June 2016 on YouTube
  • A discussion of his workshop at the ISST summer school in Barcelona in June 2017 on YouTube

See  a March 2017 interview with Jeffrey Young the founder of schema therapy “From Cognitive Therapy to Schema Therapy and Beyond” on YouTube

Travis Atkinson interviews Eckhard Roediger, former ISST President about his workshop at the 2017 Barcelona Summer School on the use of metacognitive and interpersonal perspectives and techniques in schema therapy on YouTube.

Travis Atkinson has also done 14 other interviews on YouTube with presenters at the 2016 ISST conference in Vienna. These provide a great way to connect with what schema therapists are thinking and talking about currently.

An earlier ISST Youtube library 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.

Hear podcasts and see videos on Wendy Behary’s website.


Schema Therapy Centres

There are schema therapy training centres in 20 countries worldwide.  Just a few are linked below.


New YorkSchema Therapy Institute. Jeffrey Young’s site.  You can find information about ordering the schema therapy assessment inventories here.

New Jersey: Schema Therapy Institute of New Jersey. Website of Wendy Behary.

KalamazooThe Schema Therapy Institute Midwest  run by George Lockwood has a wealth of useful information.

North Carolina: Schema Therapy South East

San Diego and Los Angeles:  California Schema Therapy Training.  Featuring the book Ghost Mothers which is a very useful book on emotional deprivation.

United Kingdom

London (Covent Garden)

London (North)     London (West)

Surrey        Cardiff            Scotland



iModes    –  David Bernstein’s psychoeducational cards

David Bernstein has developed a range of resources for use in schema therapy.

These include a set of cards illustrating the various schema modes (25 in all).

See his website for more information and details.


Working with modes and iModes

David Bernstein’s book Using the iModes in schema therapy and beyond features his iModes and other psychoeducational resources and gives many useful practical suggestions on how to use them to help clients more effectively.

Order it from his website.

Featured books

Schema therapy for therapists

Joan Farrell and Ida Shaw have long been leaders in the development and dissemination of schema therapy. Although strongly associated with their pioneering work on group schema therapy,  they have contributed broadly to schema therapy in many other areas from working with complex cases to methods of training.

This book, published in January 2018 is  a wonderful resource for schema therapists.  Like most forms of psychotherapy, schema therapy is not just a set of techniques applied to patients by therapists in a mechanical way. Therapy depends on building a personal relationship with clients and that calls for the schema therapists to develop their own self-awareness, openness to experience, and capacity to identify and work with their own psychological issues. This workbook provides a useful practical guide to this.  Therapists who use this book will learn more about themselves in a way that they can directly apply to their work with clients.

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

Contextual schema therapy

Roediger, E., Stevens, B. A., & Brockman, R. (2018). Contextual schema therapy: An integrative approach to personality disorders, emotional dysregulation, and interpersonal functioning. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Therapists today may find themselves asking how they can fit together the plethora of psychological concepts that bombard them from many directions? Schema therapists may ask whether schema therapy by itself is enough or whether they need other therapy approaches too. The authors of Contextual Schema Therapy show how important concepts that are well articulated within other approaches – such as mentalization, mindfulness, acceptance, metacognition and human values – can be integrated into the basic schema therapy model. Indeed, many of them are already implicit in it. In addition to showing the integrative power of the schema therapy model, this book offers a fresh and readable account of its central ideas and rich clinical examples of their application, all well-grounded in the current academic and clinical literature.

See it at: Amazon UK   or

Creative Methods In Schema Therapy

I was fortunate to get a preview of this book before it was published by Routledge in 2020.  Here is the recommendation I wrote that appears in the front of the book:

“This book lives up to the promise of its title and is a welcome addition to the resources available to clinicians practicing schema therapy, whether just beginning or already experienced. Psychotherapy is a craft and within the integrative framework of the schema therapy model for conceptualizing cases, there is considerable room for the creativity and artistry of the therapist in responding the challenges we inevitably meet when responding to the unique features of the individuals we work with.  Extensively illustrated with accessible clinical examples, the chapters of the book provide clear and helpful perspectives on assessment, case conceptualization and the application of a wide range of specific interventions (including imagery, chairwork, relational work with reparenting, and standard  CBT methods).  These are applied to a range of clinical problems including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, trauma and complex trauma, eating disorders, forensic populations, and working with couples. There are contributions from a diverse range of authors who reflect the originality, diversity, creativity and clinical acumen that increasingly characterise our schema therapy community. I look forward to recommending this book to my colleagues and supervisees.”

See it at     or    Loot (South Africa)

Schema and Mode Cards from Bearinmindpsychology


Schema cards, Mode cards and Core Needs cards are available at their shop.





Books on schema therapy



Music and songs

musicThe song, little child, by Gila Antara 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 album No rush  and is available at Amazon as an mp3 download.



Guides and worksheets

(to download)

Understanding psychological problems in terms of schemas and schema modes by David Edwards

List of early maladaptive schemas

List of schema modes

List of research publications on schema therapy

STISA triggering diary and schema / mode analysis – pdf version or Word version