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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 health difficulties such as depression and anxiety, and clients who are recovering from life trauma.

There are three stages of the therapeutic process within Schema Therapy. The first stage is the exploration and mapping of childhood/historical events, whereby the therapist will look to build a client history to formulate an image of significant events that may have shaped coping patterns. The second stage looks to acknowledge how and why coping patterns from childhood may not be relevant or appropriate in adult life, and works with the client to recognise the repeating patterns of difficulty and negative core beliefs which are causing issues. The difficulties encountered or experienced by a person who requires Schema Therapy may only have happened late in adult life, but how they respond to that event or series of events is very much rooted in their childhood. By the age of 8 or 9, a blueprint for such response is formed, and is based on the limited knowledge of the world and skills for coping that you are equipped with at that time. Largely, these responses will also have been influenced by parents or care-givers, and this is all accounted for through the second stage of therapy. The third stage looks at reframing negative behaviour patterns into more positive ones that are more meaningful in adult life.

Though Schema Therapy is available through self-referral, the majority of our clients are referred via the Family Justice System. It’s a hugely adaptable model and can lend itself well to working within a range of mental health conditions. It’s 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.

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