Schema Therapy (ST)

What is Schema Therapy (ST)?

ST is a therapeutic intervention that integrates elements of many therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, attachment therapy and emotion-focused therapy. It is based on the idea that, if we can meet our own emotional needs, we can reduce distress.

What does it look like?

A schema is a pattern of behaviours of thoughts that developed in early life and continue to apply in adulthood. There are 18 different schemas, and they can be either helpful or unhelpful. If it unhelpful, it is likely to be impacting our ability to function in our daily lives. As such, ST aims to improve our ability to meet our own emotional needs by helping us to identify early maladaptive schemas, evaluate their merit, and replace them with more helpful and adaptive schemas. This is done by reducing the intensity of emotional memories and physical sensations. ST also helps us to identify our coping style and behave in more adaptive ways. ST is typically provided over 6-10 weekly or fortnightly 50-minute sessions (or however many sessions you require) and can be used in combination with other interventions.

How effective is it?

ST is a well-researched and established therapy that has been found to be effective for many disorders, especially personality disorders.