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Schema Therapy

What is Schema Therapy?

Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy is an integrative treatment approach that combines dimensions of therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, attachment theory, and emotion-focused therapy.

The focus of Schema Therapy is to work with your clinician to identify, uncover and understand your own core “Schemas”.
A 'schema' is like a pair of glasses that were given to us in childhood.


We see everything through these glasses – we see ourselves, our relationships, other people, all situations, and the entire world through these glasses. However, these glasses were never really quite clear, they induced many optical illusions in childhood, and they’ve only become more faded, tight, and uncomfortable the longer we’ve worn them. The more we move through life, the more difficult it is for us to see clearly through the lenses– images get distorted, entire stories become warped and yet the glasses remain stuck in place. Often, we may not even know we are wearing these glasses, yet we find ourselves experiencing emotions, memories, thoughts and beliefs which are powerfully distressing, and which may not even be close to reality, as they are entirely based on what we are seeing through those blurry glasses.

Very often, we will find ways of coping with these experiences, however these ways of coping will often make the glasses even tighter, they may upset people around us, and ultimately, they tend to keep us stuck. For some people, their pair of glasses have become so tight, and so problematic, that the other therapies have not been quite strong enough to release them. That is why Schema therapy was developed – to help anyone who has been stuck to finally take those glasses off and change life-long patterns once and for all!


Schema Therapy Focus 

Schema Therapy is a medium to long-term treatment and can employ a variety of techniques, with treatment interventions based on four groups:

  1.  Interpersonal: These techniques help you examine your current relationships to identify how your schemas are impacting them.

  2. Cognitive: They involve identifying and challenging harmful thought patters, examining life experiences that support or contradict the established. 

  3. Emotion Focused: This involves using emotions to counter schemas.

  4. Behavioural: These techniques help you learn to make positive choices by changing behaviours patterns that result from your coping style. 


The Goal of Schema Therapy 

  • Identify and begin healing current maladaptive schemas

  • Identify and address maladaptive coping styles that impede emotional needs

  • Change patterns of feelings and behaviours that result from schemas

  • Address core emotional needs and ensure that they are met in healthy, adaptive ways

  • Learn how to adaptively manage frustration and distress when certain needs can't be met

Schema Therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in treating 

  1. Eating Disorders

  2. Mood Disorders

  3. Anxiety Disorders

  4. Substance related Disorders 

  5. Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders

  6. Personality Disorders

  7. Dissociative Disorders 

Further information about Schema Therapy can be found at:


If you would you like to talk to us more about Schema Therapy and whether this approach fits you, please contact us on

9555 4810 or email us at

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