What is Schema Therapy?
Schema Therapy is an integrative psychotherapy developed by Dr Jeffrey Young. Dr Young originally developed the approach as an extension of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Schema Therapy draws its influence from CBT, Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic Theory and Humanistic/Experiential approaches including Gestalt Therapy.
Schema Therapy differs to CBT in that it focuses upon self-defeating life patterns, characterological problems, interpersonal relationship difficulties, and deep-seated emotional themes which contribute to significant distress and suffering. Schema Therapy addresses these difficulties by applying affective change strategies, utilising the therapeutic relationship, emphasising limited reparenting (adaptive parenting), meeting core needs and re-scripting harmful internalised messages from childhood.
Schema therapy has been developed to address chronic psychological problems in which the client's difficulties are entrenched, resistant to change and present with difficult interpersonal styles which can make getting good outcomes from therapy difficult. Problems that Schema Therapy is well suited to treat include long standing difficulties which have not responded well to other types of psychological therapies including; long standing depression, problems resulting from childhood traumatisation, including complex post traumatic stress, as well a range of attachment based difficulties in which the person has developed ways of coping that contribute to their long standing and intractable difficulties.
Schema therapy has been demonstrated to be a highly effective therapeutic approach, based on controlled outcome studies, for individuals with a range of complex and enduring psychological problems arising from their childhood experiences. Schema therapy is well suited for clients who wish to develop an understanding of their difficulties but wish to meld this with a systematic, flexible and active approach to addressing their difficulties.