What Is Schema Therapy?

What Is Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy is a treatment that grew out of CBT and combined other therapy styles such as Gestalt Therapy, Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. The approach uses “limited reparenting” and emotionally focused techniques such as rescripting and chair work to help people with entrenched patterns of behaviour and personality traits change. Schemas refer to enduring and self-defeating patterns of behaviour in your life. These are created when your emotional needs are not met as a child. Because schemas can be created before we have complex language skills, they can be experienced as cognitions, emotions, and/or imagery as an adult. 

Why Schema Therapy?

  • Schema therapy has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for more complex issues such as narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. 
  • Schema therapy works with core beliefs allowing it to be helpful in managing long standing unhelpful lifetraps. 
  • Schema therapy helps you to learn how to respond to unmet emotional needs in a healthy way.
  • Schema therapy allows the client to be actively involved in the process of treatment as schemas and modes are identified in session as they arise. 
  • Schema therapy helps develop a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms resulting in the long-term unhelpful habits. 

What Does Schema Therapy Involve?

Schema therapy is generally a long-term form of treatment compared to other forms such as ACT or Mindfulness. It is often done after a client has developed a foundation in a form of therapy that assists in understanding cognition such as CBT. Common features include:

An initial assessment – Your initial schema assessment will be similar to a CBT assessment in that your Psychologist will try to develop a formulation of your current issues. However, it will also likely involve completing questionnaires such as the YSQ in order to identify your schemas. Interview questions will also be more focused on your interpersonal relationships. 

Education – your Psychologist will spend time helping you to understand and identify your schemas in daily life. They will also help you to become aware of the coping styles that you use when your schema is activated.

Challenging schemas – Schema therapy aims to help you alter your unhelpful life schemas by shifting the way you respond to them. This generally involves a range of approaches including imagery rescripting, gestalt-based chair work, behavioural experiments, mode work and limited reparenting. 

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Start Schema Therapy With Cadence Psychology

Ready to start shifting your unhelpful schemas and move past those habits that keep causing you problems? We’re ready to help you change those lifetraps. Just give us a call on 0478 876 678 or contact us using the form below to arrange an appointment at our North Sydney office.

You can also get more general information about Cadence Psychology’s approach to treatment, including costs and what to expect, on our Therapy page.