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Originally, schema therapy was created for people who had not had success with other forms of psychotherapy, or who were diagnosed with personality disorders like borderline personality disorder. It’s also a great choice if you’re sensitive, highly emotional, or have a hard time trusting others. 

What is schema therapy?

According to schema therapy, when we act consistently in ways we regret, we are not ‘faulty’. The way we perceive ourselves and others is a self-defeating one that we learn from our upbringing.

It is possible to identify and change this ‘life trap’ or ‘schema’, and we can begin to live out more useful perspectives instead.

Every human being strives for connection, understanding, and growth. Our desire to be known, seen, and recognized shapes us as we struggle to come into contact with parts of ourselves that are frozen, stuck, or suffering. It is possible for our longings to become more profound and painful the more they are thwarted by deprivation, neglect, trauma or loss. We all have a fundamental need to grow, to heal and become our best “selves”. As a result, energy and vitality can be restored.

The Schema Therapy approach recognizes all aspects of neurophysiology. We all possess an inbuilt capacity for growth and healing, according to neuroscience. In a positive, responsive, and safe relationship, chemicals and hormones are produced that enhance the regulation of emotions, stress, and neural firing. With the power of a safe therapeutic relationship coupled with the ability of the brain to change itself, fulfillment is possible. By changing our feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, or general unhappiness, they lead us to a more peaceful existence.

Some clients who begin schema therapy have been in other types of therapy for years, gaining valuable insight, but often frustrated by their lack of progress. Relationship difficulties and chronic depression are among the conditions that can be treated with schema therapy. Substance abusers benefit from it because it prevents relapse. In clients who feel hopeless about self-destructive patterns, schema therapy enables them to change because these habits may seem so ingrained that they are part of who they are.

In addition to low self-esteem, low connection to others, difficulty expressing feelings and emotions, and excessive worrying about basic safety issues, negative life beliefs can lead to low self-esteem. In addition, the beliefs can lead to a strong attraction to inappropriate partners and dissatisfying careers.

In a series of assessments, clients learn to identify the schemas and problematic coping styles that most affect them, understand their origins, and make lasting changes.

In addition to the sessions, clients are given structured assignments to work on outside of those sessions in an effort to confront their negative beliefs on a regular basis. During each session, the client is “empathically confronted” with the reasons for change by their therapist to identify when their unhealthy patterns are repeating. Providing an antidote to some of the client’s childhood needs can help the therapist meet some of the client’s needs.


An example of a ‘schema’

The ‘abandonment schema’ is a common schema. You might sabotage good relationships if childhood sexual abuse left you feeling flawed because you’d rather leave than be abandoned.

There are actually 18 schemas identified. The schema therapist will help you identify which ones are the themes of your life, what caused you to be caught in such patterns, and how to make different choices for yourself moving forward. 

How is schema therapy different than other talk therapies? 

Client-therapist relationships in schema therapy are more dependent than those in other talking therapies, but are always kept within professional boundaries.

‘Limited reparenting’ describes this warm, honest relationship. Having this connection allows you to experience the attachment and trust that you lacked as a child.

Take a step towards finally changing your patterns today 

Have you considered Schema Therapy in one of our London clinics in the city, at Expert therapy? Please contact us by phone or book an initial consultation online. 

What results can I expect? 

You can benefit from schema therapy in the following ways:

  • Get to the bottom of why you behave the way you do
  • React less to challenges by becoming less reactive
  • Take control of your life by feeling more in control 
  • Get rid of repressed emotions that have been holding you back
  • Relationships with others can be improved  
  • Identify your personal needs 
  • Become more trusting of yourself and others
  • You feel more confident about yourself. 

Treatment for borderline personality disorder 

In research, schema therapy has been shown to be very effective in treating borderline personality disorder (BPD). Additionally, it may help with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and other personality disorders. 

What other issues does schema therapy help with? 

In addition to the above, schema therapy can be beneficial if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Anger management issues
  • Attachment anxiety
  • Trauma in childhood
  • Mood disorders
  • emotional dysregulation
  • Intimacy phobia
  • Insecurities
  • Problems with relationships
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Problems with trust. 

Expert Therapy – Changing unhealthy patterns at last

Are you ready to work with a talk therapist who understands your sensitivity and your trust issues?

In addition to having a minimum of five years postgraduate experience, all of our schema therapists have been trained in more than one type of therapy at top UK institutions, and are passionate about what they do. Now is the time to book your first session and stop feeling so alone and misunderstood.  

Additional reading 

  • What is schema therapy, and can it help you break your patterns?
  • What is a schema in psychology?
  • What treatments work for BPD?
  • Dating someone with borderline personality disorder 
  • Compassion for borderline personality disorder (BPD).


Frequently asked questions

What school of psychotherapeutic thought does schema therapy come from?

It combines elements of attachment therapy, cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and gestalt therapy.


What is the difference between schema therapy and CBT?

The cycle between your thoughts, feelings, actions, and moods is the focus of cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea with CBT is that by changing one part of this cycle, such as your thoughts or your actions, you will change your mood. Schema therapy does borrow from cognitive therapies the idea that how we think and act affects how we feel about ourselves. We are trapped in a negative cycle not because of our thinking, but because of maladaptive coping strategies we learned as children. The first step to changing this ‘schema’ is to identify it.


What is the goal of schema therapy?

The main objective is to help you overcome your self-sabotaging behavior and live a happier, more productive life. Additionally, schema therapy can help you even if other therapies have failed.