What is schema therapy and how can it help?


To introduce Schema Therapy we first need to define schemas, which are strongly held patterns that include beliefs and feelings about others, ourselves and the world. For example, the sense that we will be abandoned, are defective or will be subject to harm. Schemas cause emotional distress and usually lead to unhelpful coping such as avoidance.


The aim of Schema Therapy is to help you meet your core psychological needs, cope in more adaptive ways, and better manage painful feelings.


This therapy suits savvy and discerning individuals who want to make lasting change by getting to the core of their difficulties as a way of breaking the cycle.

Example: Schema Therapy in action

John wants to apply for a promotion but the thought of this triggers his Defectiveness and Shame schema. Though normally a confident person, he fears he is too flawed and privately worries he'll be rejected for the job. To cope with these painful feelings he watches Netflix. He tells himself he can't be bothered applying for the job (avoidance), which ultimately makes him feel worse.

John and his therapist work as a team to lesson the intensity of his Defectiveness and Shame schema, reduce negative emotions and decrease his avoidant coping. They find more effective ways of meeting his psychological needs instead of avoiding. This ultimately improves his mood and leads to a more fulfilling life.

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Case example

Frequently asked questions

Commitmen How many session is Schema Therapy? Can I obtain a Medicare rebate?

Schema therapy is a medium to long term therapy of around 20+ sessions. Medicare provides clients with 10 rebated sessions per calendar year. These discounted sessions are an excellent way of making a start with Schema Therapy. Though there is no obligation, most patients continue beyond 10 sessions. ​

What types of issues suit Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy is trans-diagnostic meaning it is effective across a broad range of issues such as chronic depression, anxiety etc. Many clients who seek Schema Therapy have tried other therapies (i.e. CBT). They seek to move beyond managing symptoms and learn better ways of breaking dysfunctional patterns and meeting their needs.

Stay tuned for an explainer video.