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Schema Therapy

One of the most popular therapies provided by the team at JSA is Schema Therapy. This therapy is recognised as a fluid combined model that incorporates both humanistic and behavioural psychology in its modern approach to exploring developmental experiences and behaviour patterns.

Schema Therapy was first pioneered by Jeffrey Young in 2003, and is still recognised as one of the most modern practices in psychotherapy. It has evidence-based research both in the wider industry – as well as at JSA – to be particularly effective in the treatment of clients with personality disorders, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and the effects of chronic trauma.

There are three stages of the therapeutic process within Schema Therapy. The process begins with an discussion of the client’s early life and development, in which the therapist will gain an understanding of significant formative events that may have informed their present behaviour.

The second stage involves acknowledging that the coping patterns a client developed in childhood may not be relevant or appropriate in adult life. The therapist works with the client to recognise the repeating patterns of difficulty and negative core beliefs which are causing issues. Lastly, these negative behaviour patterns are adapted and reframed in ways that are more appropriate and helpful in adult life.

The difficulties experienced by a person who requires Schema Therapy may only have developed late in adult life, but the ways in which they respond to this adversity is entirely dependent on their early development. Research indicates that the core beliefs which inform our behaviour are solidified by the age of 8 or 9, and are based on the limited understanding of the world that was possessed at that time. For the most part, these responses will also have been influenced by parents or care-givers.

Though Schema Therapy is available through self-referral, the majority of our clients are referred via the Family Justice System. It’s an extremely adaptable model and can lend itself well to the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions. It is delivered as a medium to long term course of talking therapy, and requires weekly sessions in the first instance, before reducing to monthly interaction for around 6 months to ensure that changes made within the therapy are truly embedded into a client’s life.

Julie Stirpe
Julie Stirpe Director of Practice Innovation

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