Schema Focused Therapy: The Basics


Have you been working as a therapist in shorter-term therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)? In many countries, practitioners are encouraged - if not mandated - to work in well-researched, "gold standard" therapies such as CBT; they are held accountable for certain outcomes. Yet not all clients respond equally well to therapies such as CBT, which usually include no more than 20 sessions and often less than that. While cognitive-behavioural programs can help reduce, or even eliminate clients' presenting symptoms, underlying disorders may continue to make their lives miserable, with ripples throughout their life spheres and wider communities. Schema focused therapy (also called "schema therapy" or sometimes "schema focused cognitive therapy") is an integrative approach to treatment which combines the best aspects of cognitive-behavioural, attachment, Gestalt, object relations, interpersonal, and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model. This course examines the basic theoretical components, assumptions, and phases of schema therapy, with a brief look at the tools the therapists use. You will see how it is different from the several therapies from which it draws.



Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to: Define schema therapy and list its main characteristics; Describe the theoretical components of schema therapy, including five domains comprised of eighteen early maladaptive schemas, the schema modes, and common maladaptive coping responses; Identify the chief assumptions CBT therapists make about their clients which do not hold true for many schema therapy clients; Explain the key characteristics of personality disorders; Name the phases of schema therapy treatment, and what is contained in each; Describe the chief therapeutic tools used by schema therapists; Discuss the chief differences between schema therapy and approaches such as CBT and psychoanalytic therapies.