Schema Therapy (ST) was developed by Jeffrey E. Young and is an approach to the treatment of a wide variety of psychological disorders that integrates cognitive, experiential, (emotion-focused) and behavioural pattern-breaking interventions. It is a seriously comprehensive model that strategically integrates aspects of other approaches and has been successful in treating many of the types of psychological issues that have not responded especially well to other treatment modalities.
Schema Therapy was developed initially for bordeline personality disorder has been very successful in treating this disorder. More recently there is good evidence for its use in the treatment of avoidant personality disorder, social anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse, and several other disorders.
In many ways Schema Therapy picks up where CBT and RET leave off, exploring the core beliefs of our psychological structure that ultimately relate to identity and thus self-esteem. While involving all the standard CBT / RET type tools it was designed to be able to alter underlying personality patterns and as such also incorporates many elements from directly emotion modifying paradigms and also core behavioural pattern modification by targeting maladaptive schema modes rather than specific symptoms or disorders.
The core components of Schema Therapy (ST) include education about the Schema therapy model and assessment of dysfunctional schemas, limited reparenting, schema mode awareness, mode management and cognitive, experiential, and behavioural pattern-breaking change work.
Due to the core nature of the beliefs and early stage of development at which many of them were derived, Schema therapy has a stronger focus on exploring specific aspects of the past where necessary, but with very specific goals to understand and sometimes rewrite key events in a way that the adult client is able to free themselves from the primitive emotional and behavioural responses of the child that originally experienced them.