About Us
SDS Trainers
CBT Courses
In-House Training
Distance Learning
Free Materials
Register on SDS Site
SDS Blog SDS on Twitter SDS on Facebook SDS on YouTube

Schema Therapy: Introductory Course

This two-day evidence-based experiential introductory course gives you an excellent starting point for learning about Schema Therapy - a modern integrative approach to treatment based on the principal aspects of cognitive-behavioural, experiential, and interpersonal therapies - and their practical applications.

What is Schema Therapy and what can it help with?

Developed by Jeffrey Young in the 1980s, Schema Therapy is an integrative approach that builds on traditional cognitive therapy by adding ideas and techniques from other approaches, such as Psychodynamic and Gestalt therapies. It is a warm, compassionate approach that focuses as much on the healing relationship between therapist and client as it does on changing ways of thinking and behaving.

Originally developed for clients with borderline personality disorder, schema therapy (ST) has been enhanced and modified to treat all of the personality disorders, as well as treatment-resistant Axis I problems such as long-term depression and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and addiction, OCD, panic disorder, low self-esteem, difficulties in relationships and similar problems that a standard course of CBT alone may not be enough to successfully treat.

The central idea in Schema Therapy is that everyone has unmet needs from childhood – such as the need to be loved, protected and valued as a unique human being. When these core needs are not met, for any reason, we develop a 'schema' – a pattern of thoughts, feelings, memories and body sensations that gets triggered throughout the rest of our lives. For example, we may have a Defectiveness schema, because our parents were overly harsh or critical, or made us feel we were bad or worthless in some way. When we are harshly criticised as an adult, or are placed in a stressful situation that echoes childhood experiences, this schema gets triggered and we may feel extremely anxious, unconfident or upset; we might also remember all the times we have felt the same way before, or times when other people criticised or hurt us.

“Early maladaptive schemas are self-defeating emotional and cognitive patterns that begin early in our development and repeat throughout life.” Jeffrey Young

How is Schema Therapy different to other therapeutic approaches?

  1. Schema therapy is transdiagnostic. Unlike CBT, where each disorder has a specific treatment protocol, the same overarching schema therapy model is applied to every psychological problem, from treatment-resistant depression or anxiety disorders to personality disorders. This model is adapted using case conceptualisation and treatment plans, tailored to each individual client and their unique set of problems.
  2. Because schema therapy is transdiagnostic, there is less focus on symptom-reduction (as in standard CBT) and more on deep-rooted, long-lasting, personality-level change. This is especially important when treating complex cases, which often stem from childhood trauma, abuse or neglect; and which require a long-term, wide-ranging treatment approach.
  3. Schema therapy has been proven to effect profound personality-level change, even with hard-to-treat disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder or anorexia. An RCT comparing schema therapy to transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) found that 52% of those patients receiving schema therapy achieved a full recovery, while 70% achieved a clinically significant improvement, with around half the dropout rate than those receiving TFP.
  4. The concept of ‘limited reparenting’ means that schema therapy is especially helpful for clients with a history of childhood abuse, trauma or neglect, who may feel nurtured and lovingly parented for the first time in their lives. This includes extensive between-session contact, especially during crises, as well as the use of transitional objects (such as flash cards, audio/video messages and gifts) to help clients feel connected to and ‘in the mind’ of the therapist between sessions.
  5. There is a strong emphasis on experiential and emotion-focused techniques such as relational/transference-focused techniques, imagery rescripting and chair work, which effect deep, schema-level healing – purely cognitive or behavioural techniques are often insufficient to effect change at this level.
  6. The concept of ‘empathic confrontation’, in which specific ‘modes’ of a client can be identified and challenged, is extremely helpful when treating clients with narcissistic traits – selfish, unkind or damaging behaviours can be challenged and reduced without conflict, problems in the therapeutic relationship or client dropout.
  7. As an integrative approach, schema therapy combines CBT, attachment-based, Gestalt, object relations, constructivist and psychoanalytic schools into a unified conceptual and treatment model. It draws from the best of each approach, for example combining the effectiveness and structure of CBT with the attachment-based focus of psychodynamic work.
  8. Schema therapy expands on traditional CBT by placing much greater emphasis on the childhood and adolescent origins of psychological problems (when schemas are formed and maladaptive coping modes adopted). This includes working with the ‘Vulnerable Child’ mode, both in imagery rescripting and mode work – this mode represents the client as a child, allowing the therapist to access painful early memories and protect, soothe and nurture the client in stressful or upsetting situations from their childhood and adolescence.
  9. Unlike in most other modalities, schema therapists are encouraged to be authentic and use self-disclosure as a primary therapeutic intervention. This is a key part of limited reparenting, creating a strong, human-to-human bond and relationship, validating and normalising clients’ distressing or shame-inducing experiences.

This both highly practical and evidence based seminar will cover:

  • The course will begin with a history of schema therapy, which was founded in 1990 by Jeffrey Young, a student and close associate of Aaron Beck’s. Becoming frustrated with the limitations of standard cognitive behaviour therapy, especially when treating clients with personality problems, Young developed a new form of schema-focused cognitive therapy, incorporating theories and techniques from Gestalt, constructivist, attachment, object relations and psychoanalytic schools to create a rich, integrative therapeutic model.
  • Course participants will gain a thorough knowledge of the 18 Early Maladaptive Schemas (EMS), the relationship between temperament and childhood/adolescent experience and schema formation, the primacy of core needs in ST, as well as an insight into their own schemas. They will also be introduced to the research on and rapidly expanding evidence base for ST, as well as the main inventories used for assessment.
  • The concept of ‘modes’ will also be introduced, and both schemas and modes will be illustrated using case studies. The similarities and differences between standard CBT and ST will be explained, as will the key concepts of maladaptive coping styles, limited reparenting and empathic confrontation. Teaching will also focus on case conceptualisation and the length and structure of a typical course of ST.
  • Further teaching will include the history, theory and applications in ST of both chair work and imagery, especially imagery rescripting. Additionally, attendees will learn about the key role of therapist authenticity and self-disclosure in ST, the primacy of the therapeutic relationship, managing between-session contact and endings.
  • Exercises will include formulating a client’s schemas, drawing up a ‘Mode Map’, challenging the Punitive Parent using chair work, imagery rescripting for a Vulnerable Child, and discussing relational techniques/therapist authenticity/between-session contact in the context of participants’ own practices. These will include video demonstrations by highly experienced schema therapists, skills practice in pairs, small and large-group feedback, guidance and discussion.

Course Price:

Early Bird Price: £250 + VAT (£300) per delegate to include refreshments and course materials. This discount is available on bookings made more than 1 month prior the course date event.
Regular Price: £280 + VAT (£336).

Certificate of Attendance:
You receive a Certificate of Attendance for 14 CPD training hours after completing the training.

Course Outline:

Please make sure that you arrive in time for 9.30 AM start (sharp!).
Make sure that your travel arrangements enable you to be present until 5 PM every day of the course. We very much appreciate your co-operation on this matter.

Every day consists of the morning session commencing at 9.30AM sharp, and the afternoon session, finishing between 4.30-5.00 PM.

Refreshments provided during your morning (11.15) and afternoon (14.45) break.
Lunch break (1 hour) – lunch by own arrangements (12.30 – 13.30).
Due to the INTENSIVE NATURE of this training we advise you to have extra drinks of water with you and layers of clothing to adjust effectively to the temperature in the room.

Course Leader:

Dan Roberts
Cognitive and Advanced-Accredited Schema Therapist

Dan Roberts, a Cognitive and Advanced-Accredited Schema Therapist with a private practice in East Finchley, North London. Before retraining as a therapist, Dan was a health journalist for over a decade, covering all aspects of physical and mental health. He wrote for most national newspapers, including the Independent, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. After that he trained as a counsellor, with a three-year counselling diploma at the Psychosynthesis Trust, followed by a one-year Foundation Certificate in Psychotherapy & Counselling at Regent's College. Later he specialised in CBT and Schema Therapy. He completed his schema therapy training with Schema Therapy Associates and achieving advanced certification with the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST). Dan also has a strong personal and professional interest in mindfulness meditation, especially mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). In addition to teaching Schema Therapy, Dan has taught the theory and practice of CBT, focusing mainly on depression and anxiety disorders, to counsellors and psychotherapists in a number of settings, as well as teaching mindfulness skills to help school children manage their stress. Dan is also the author of Bipolar Disorder: the Essential Guide, and is currently co-authoring a chapter for Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice.

Paul Grantham says:

“Over the years I’ve known Dan, two things in particular have struck me about him. Firstly, his sensitivity when talking about clients; and secondly his amazing ability to take complex ideas and simplify them without losing any of their nuance. I first met Dan as a student on SDS’ Master Practitioner Diploma course in CBT. Since then he’s trained and been Accredited as a practicing Schema Therapist. His insights into clients are unparalleled as is his ability to focus on key issues when complexity rages all around. He’d previously demonstrated this as an author of Bipolar Disorder - The Essential Guide; described as “the most accessible book in the field”. Maybe it is his background as a journalist that’s helped him in this. I am really proud that he’s become part of the SDS training team and is able to bring his expertise in Schema Therapy, along with his excellent communication skills, to SDS’ clients.”

Testimonials about Dan Roberts as a Schema Therapist:

“I’ve suffered from mild to quite severe anxiety on and off for over 20 years. Other forms of therapies have been helpful to a point. However, my deeply ingrained ways of thinking and reacting to certain situations meant that the same old distressing feelings, doubts and fears would always resurface. Over time, these started to have a negative effect on more and more aspects of my life.
Schema therapy has enabled me to understand how I came to be like this. It has helped me to let go of some of the now unnecessary coping mechanisms and thinking patterns I’d developed in my early life. It’s not a quick fix, but I feel that it’s getting to the core of my problems. I’ve seen a steady improvement in the quality of my day-to-day life. I no longer wake up wondering how I’m going to cope with the day ahead. The schema work I’ve been doing with Dan has shown me that I can live a life free of fear and anxiety.” — M, teacher

“With incredible insight, empathy, patience and humour, Dan has helped me challenge and change some really deep-rooted beliefs about myself. Schema therapy got to the emotional nub of my many, often overwhelming anxieties – and struck a chord with me that regular cognitive therapy hadn’t. The ideas behind it are logical and practical, but there’s also something a bit magical about its power to heal and make you a stronger, happier person. Dan is a brilliant therapist and I’d recommend him to anyone who’s struggling with stubborn negative thoughts.” — S, copywriter

(The British Psychological Society)
8 MARCH 2018
Places available
Click on a venue to view more details or enrol in the course.
Booking Conditions
SDS Live Webcast

Be part of SDS events via our interactive live WEBCASTS:

  • Live video feed
  • Live presentation slides
  • Opportunity to ask questions
  • Opportunity to discuss the course with other delegates
  • Voting in polls
  • Additional resources online
Click here to learn more and book.

Download a 42-page
research literature review on
“Third Wave CBT Therapies - Literature Review 2015”

by Paul Grantham and Charlie Cowtan
Absolutely FREE!
First Name
Email address
Latest updates
Compassion Focused Therapy (2 days).
22-23 February, London or via WEBCAST —
Won't be repeated in 2018.

Click Here to book now.
Working with Deliberate Self Harm.
27 February 2018, London —
Won't be repeated in 2018.

Click Here to book now.
Working with Suicidal Behaviour.
28 February 2018, London —
Won't be repeated in 2018.

Click Here to book now.
Essential Supervision Skills (2 days).
March 2018, Birmingham —
Fully Booked.

Click Here to book on the later date.
Schema Therapy: Introductory Course.
8-9 March, London —
New course!

Click Here to book now.
Copyrights © 2003—2017 www.skillsdevelopment.co.uk All Rights Reserved