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  • Writer's pictureTena Davies, Clinical Psychologist, Certified Schema Therapist

To do ST certification or not? That's a good question.

Is schema therapy accreditation worthwhile?

Absolutely! Schema therapy certification will elevate your skills as a schema therapist in a way that you simply couldn’t obtain from regular supervision. Part of the certification process involves showing your supervisor recordings of your client sessions. This may sound daunting but it facilitates rich and specific feedback to refine your techniques. While I initially found the idea of showing my supervisor session tapes scary, I soon realised it was some of the best supervision I could ever received.

My experience of certification was that the process gave me a much greater understanding of the model and helped me deliver interventions with more confidence and ease. I feel I grew both personally and professionally. I now enjoy helping my supervisees with their own certification journeys.

Read the fine print

Undertaking schema therapy certification is a great idea and represents an amazing learning opportunity but be sure to read the fine print first here. Some things to consider are:

· Have you commenced schema therapy training? This needs to commence before Certification Supervision can count towards certification requirements.

· Do you have long term clients suited to ST? A minimum of 25 sessions per client are needed for tape submission

· Are you willing to work from a Schema Therapy framework exclusively for some clients?

· Are you in a position to pay for 20 supervision sessions plus 2 tape ratings? Supervision ranges from AUD $230-300 plus GST (in 2023)

· Do you enjoy schema therapy and want to refine your skills?

You can read more about requirements on the ISST website or from Dr Jo White’s excellent article here.



You can have it all, just not at the same time

Michelle Obama said that you can have it all, just not at the same time. She was referring to meeting career goals and child rearing but it applies equally to undertaking schema therapy certification.

If you are having a baby or are renovating your home, it may be difficult to find the headspace. While there’s never a perfect time, it’s worth considering if you are in a position to dedicate a bit of time and space to this endeavour.

Horses for courses

Besides competence, finding a supervisor who is compatible with your personality is important as it will facilitate a positive relationship. When I receive an enquiry, I usually speak with the prospective supervisee on the phone to see if we are the right match.

Some questions to ask a perspective supervisor:

· Are you an advanced certified schema therapist and supervisor? They will need to have this level certification to guide you through certification and for their supervision to count towards accreditation.

· What ages/presentations do you work with? It’s helpful if the supervisor has experience in working with the ages/presentations you typically see.

· What’s your supervisory style? Ensure their style fits with your preferences and expectations.

The most important factor is that you feel safe with the supervisor emotionally and confident in their ability to guide you. If you’re looking for a schema therapy supervisor, have a look at their website to learn more about their supervision service and the presentations they work with. See if the content and style resonates with you.

Getting the most out of certification supervision

The best way to gain value from supervision is to present cases and to show your supervisor sections of tapes. For example, you could present a case and note that the client flipped into a detached protector mode during imagery. Then show your supervisor a tape of the imagery you conducted with the client.

As a supervisor, I love watching sections of tapes because I can pinpoint opportunities for the supervisee to elevate their skills. It is highly satisfying for both myself and the supervisee.

Know your stuff

Knowing how schemas and modes present and having strategies to address them will aide your interventions. Attending workshops will increase your knowledge and so will reading schema therapy books. I have also written a set of at a glance guides for every schema and common mode here.

Thank you for reading this article. I wish you well with your schema therapy certification journey. Feel free to get in touch if I can help with anything. Please see the FAQs after my bio.

Tena Davies

Clinical Psychologist

Advanced Certified Schema Therapist/Supervisor

Melbourne, Australia

Tena Davies is a Clinical Psychologist and Advanced Certified Schema Therapist/Supervisor based in Melbourne, Australia. Tena enjoys supervising schema therapists and cheering them across the certification finish line! She also supervisees schema therapists who are not undertaking certification. If you’d like to learn more about her service see



Frequently asked questions

What training program should I undertake?

Be sure to undertake “live training” which can be conducted either in person or online. Self paced programs do not count towards the training requirement for certification.

There are many wonderful options available. I received my training from Ruth Holt and Rita Younan and found it very valuable. You can learn more about their courses here.

I’m really nervous about watching myself on tapes of me delivering therapy. How do I overcome this?

I don’t know if the answer is to cultivate radical acceptance or radical desensitisation but if you record and watch yourself often enough it somehow gets better. Having a sense of humour really helps. Once I learned to accept I look like a llama the second half of my life could begin! ; )

Can I record myself using audio instead of video?

It is in your interests to submit a video recording so the supervisor/rater can see your body language and facial expressions. Audio recordings may not fully capture the richness of your reparenting and the effectiveness of your interventions.

How do I find clients who are willing to being recorded?

The thought is scarier than the reality. Most clients are fine with it provided their details are keep confidential. I’ve never had a client say no. When I was undertaking certification myself I usually asked patients if they’d be willing to have our sessions recorded so that I could gain feedback to both refine my skills and to apply learnings to their therapy.



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