Schema Therapy is an innovative psychotherapy developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young who worked closely with Dr. Aaron Beck at the University of Pensylvania. Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy is the treatment recommended by the University of Oxford's professors as the treatment of choice for complex presentations, chronic difficulties, developmental trauma, and personality disorders.
The schemas that are targeted in treatment are enduring and self-defeating patterns that typically begin early in life. The patterns consist of negative/dysfunctional thoughts which have been repeated and elaborated up and which pose obstacles for accomplishing one's goals and getting one's needs met. Some examples of schema beliefs are: "I am unlovable", "I am a failure", "People don't care about me", "People will leave me", "Something bad is going to happen", "I will never be good enough", and so on.
In CBT, recognizing automatic thoughts and how they make patients feel and behave is sufficient and approporiate.
However, in complex cases, Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy's focus is to do all of the above while changing the schemas so that they are no longer a hindrance to the patient’s adult life.
Studies have shown Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy to be effective in treating:
A- Personality Disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Others)
B- Chronic Disorders & Complex Cases (Including Developmental Trauma)