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. 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.
and Breaking negative relationship patterns (2016).
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
- 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 York: Schema 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.
Kalamazoo: The 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.
See this series of short videos on working with schema modes in therapy.
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).
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.
Cambridge Guide to Schema Therapy
This book, published in July 2023, provides the reader with a thorough understanding of the model of Schema Therapy, methods and techniques used throughout the process of Schema Therapy treatment. Experienced trainers in Schema Therapy, the authors provide a unique understanding of the questions, challenges, and points of issue experienced by practitioners learning the model. Designed for the practitioner with a specific focus on the theory and practice of modern schema therapy, the book discusses the powerful techniques and cutting-edge developments of the Schema Therapy model, with step-by-step guidance and clinical examples. A comprehensive resource for both students and experienced practitioners providing valuable examples of the model in clinical practice and solutions to the challenges and questions practitioners face in applying the model. Part of the Cambridge Guides to the Psychological Therapies series, offering all the latest scientifically rigorous, and practical information on a range of key, evidence-based psychological interventions for clinicians.
Your Coping Skills Aren’t Working
Dysfunctional coping modes are often the relics of damaging childhood experiences. But your past doesn’t need to dictate your future. The coping modes we develop in childhood are often the result of stressful or traumatic experiences. While they once worked to keep us feeling safe, they do not serve us well in adulthood. This book uses the schema therapy approach to case conceptualization to offer a clear, innovative and evidence-based approach to helping people break free from the coping habits that keep them stuck in self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors. It will help readers identify their maladaptive coping patterns, understand why they developed them, and learn how to change those destructive habits that standing in the way of having a happier and more productive life.
The book offers effective strategies to help readers give voice to their unmet needs; and learn to cultivate clarity, security, and confidence.
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.”
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
The song, A 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
These are two books by Remco van der Wijngaart, one of the leading trainers in schema therapy.
Drawing on his longstanding and very rich experience as a therapist and teacher, he presents these guides to imagery rescripting and chairwork in a manner that is practical and helpful.
You can easily check them out at your favorite online store