Schema Therapy

What is schema therapy?

Schema therapy is a psychotherapy developed specifically for treating complex and long-standing emotional difficulties. It incorporates elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoanalytic therapy and gestalt therapy.

Schemas refer to painful self-beliefs, usually develop early on in life, which underlie emotional and relationship problems. For example, an individual may see themselves as fundamentally unloveable (a "defectiveness" schema) or strive to meet impossibly high standards (an "unrelenting standards" schema). When groups of schemas become activated, they are called "schema modes”. When modes dominate how a person thinks and behaves, emotional difficulties often arise.

Schema therapy aims to change the negative self-beliefs and modes which lie at the root of psychological problems. It does this using the most effective clinical techniques used in different psychotherapies, including the relationship between the client and the therapist.