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Schema Therapy

schema therapy

Schema therapy is essentially the integration of all the best parts of various psychotherapy treatments. This includes CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Attachment Theory, Psychoanalysis and Emotion-focused therapy.

Schema therapy tackles maladaptive schemas which are unhelpful patterns that people develop due to emotional needs not being met during their childhood. These unhelpful patterns can include unhealthy coping methods and behaviours. These can have disastrous effects on your everyday life and the choices you make.

What a Schema Therapist Can Help You With

These are some of the things a Schema therapist is professionally trained to be able to help with:

Treating chronic depression

Chronic depression is what we refer to as depression lasting for 2 years and more. Compared to other methods of treatment, Schema therapy has impressed researchers in the way it treats those suffering from chronic depression. In fact, an average of 60% claim to have experienced significant relief due to the treatment. And during their post-6-month follow-ups, it was found that the treatment’s gains and effects were long-lasting and still prevalent.

Treating anxiety

Schema has proven to be successful in treating anxiety. Especially in a small group of individuals who seem resistant to normal CBT treatment.

Treating PTSD

Schema therapy yields promising results for those suffering from PTSD. It can help mediate the association of the trauma and its subsequent consequences – both mentally and physically.

Preventing an addict from relapsing

Addicts can often feel hopeless and be victims of their own self-destructive thoughts and behaviours. Schema therapy actually gives them a certain sense of control back which in turn drastically reduces the odds of a relapse. Schema therapy can identify problematic coping methods as well as their origins and can help the addict spot potential triggers and red flags in order to make lasting changes to how they respond to things.

Resolving relationship problems

When we talk about relationship problems we are not just referring to romantic relationships. Irrelevant of whether it’s a partner, family member or friend, our schemas impact all of our relationships. And by being stuck in unhealthy relationship schemas we will continue reaping the results of these maladaptive patterns. Schema therapy can help stop these cycles.

Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Schema therapy has been proven to be exceptionally effective when it comes to treating Borderline Personality Disorder. In recent studies, it was clear that the severity of the disorder was decreased with the help of Schema therapy.

This is mainly because Schema therapy addresses the five modes/aspects of the self that those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder are being affected by. Schema addresses the cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, attachment and emotion-focused traditions and uses four core mechanisms of change to effectively treat Borderline Personality Disorder.

Treating eating disorders

Most eating disorders start with destructive thought patterns around an individual’s body and eating habits as well as a deep longing for control rooted in trauma. As with anxiety, eating disorders have also proven to have a small group that appears to be extremely resistant to general forms of treatment and Schema have proved to be very helpful when it comes to this group.

Signs That it’s Time to Reach Out

If you are displaying some of the following signs, symptoms or behaviours it might be time to give Schema therapy a try:

  • You self-isolate
  • If you don’t self-isolate, but withdraw emotionally. In other words, whilst physically present you’re not really there.
  • You have a history of abuse (irrespective of whether it’s emotional, physical or sexual in nature). Something that many overlook due to it sadly being so common is that bullying is also a form of abuse.
  • You have a profound mistrust of people in general.
  • There’s been a time in your life when you experienced an emotional “drought”. This can range in not feeling support from a partner or loved ones, being deprived of nurturing or feeling an absence of understanding or empathy.
  • You are experiencing severe shame.
  • Your life seems to be marred by one failure after the next.
  • You are inexplicably vulnerable to all sorts of ailments and illnesses.
  • There is a sense of grandiosity surrounding you. It is often referred to as a god complex, but a better explanation is that you almost view yourself in the light of being the main character in a movie. The main character so the main character’s point of view, desires etc. is more important than the rest and the same rules and consequences don’t apply to them as it does to the rest of the “cast”. It is, yet again, important to note that someone can have a sense of grandiosity without even being aware of it and will have to go on external (trusted!) feedback.
  • You generally lack self-discipline and it has a profound impact on your life.
  • You don’t seem to control your emotions, your emotions seem to be controlling you.
  • You display approval-seeking behaviour. This can range from voicing opinions in specific company that you know aren’t really yours to “keeping up with the Joneses” behaviour.
  • You are extremely negative and there are very few things in your life that are viewed with any sense of optimism. 
  • You hold yourself to an almost unattainable high standard.
  • You have a punitive mindset, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s you or those around you, when a mistake has been made your immediate response is to punish.
  • When you suffer from extreme anxiety that can even manifest physically with things such as panic attacks.

Why People Don’t Reach Out

There are many reasons why people won’t reach out after experiencing a traumatic event, dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events in their past or simply don’t seem to want to address issues that are very apparent to others. These can include the following:

  • Not wanting to talk to friends and family due to feeling ashamed or not wanting to burden them with their problems.
  • A lack of funds since professional help can be expensive, especially if you don’t have any health insurance.
  • Where they are situated. Some may find themselves in areas where there are no therapists nearby or they may live in such remote areas that it’s a mission just to get groceries, never mind a therapist.
  • A lack of time. Many simply don’t have the time to drive all the way to a practice that’s only open within office hours.
  • Some don’t even know that they have maladaptive thought and behaviour patterns in the first place.
  • They may have tried other treatments that have proven to be unsuccessful.

The Benefits of Online Schema Therapy

This is where online Schema therapy can be incredibly helpful. Except for having all the benefits of any other psychology practice, it has added benefits that address many of the reasons why people don’t want to reach out in the first place. These include:

  • Being able to talk to an objective person that is professionally trained to handle these situations.
  • Since online therapy avoids a lot of in-office overheads and there’s no travel involved it’s much more affordable.
  • It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, a professional therapist is just one click away.
  • Online sessions are much more convenient. You can now squeeze these into your everyday life as and when it suits you, wherever you are.
  • Sessions may uncover trauma and maladaptive thought and behaviour patterns that you were not even aware of and it can address something that may have had a profound impact on your life without you even realising it.
  • As touched on earlier, Schema therapy has been proven to be very successful with groups of people that appear to be resistant to treatment such as CBT.
  • It will help identify and change negative patterns – whether thoughts or behaviours.
  • You’ll finally start processing certain events and deep-rooted emotions and be empowered with life-coping skills from a professional.
  • Your sleep patterns will return to normal.
  • It will bring relief to your PTSD symptoms.
  • It can actually help uncover any underlying mental illnesses and address and treat it.
  • You will experience increased self-awareness.
  • It will help you let go of circular thinking patterns where you essentially just get stuck in an unproductive loop.
  • It will help you overcome any negative self-image inner dialogue and gain a greater sense of self-worth.
  • It identifies and addresses any general perceptions you may have that have been directly caused by trauma and past experiences. For example, that normal disagreements always include an element of violence or that certain ethnic groups cannot be trusted.
  • The treatment has a long-lasting effect and doesn’t just begin and end with one issue or problematic thought or behaviour.

Finding the Right Fit

It is extremely important that you find the professional that’s the right fit for you based on your personality and situation, and we are more than happy to assist wherever we can. So, if you are currently wanting to reach out or have come to the realisation that you probably should, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or at or simply complete the contact form below and we’ll get in touch shortly.