Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy Geelong

Schema therapy is long-term evidence-based- psychotherapy and effective treatment for borderline personality disorder, complex personality difficulties and other longstanding interpersonal problems.

Schema Therapy can also treat:

  • Complex trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD)
  • Addictions
  • Relationship Issues & Couples work
  • Eating Disorders
  • Neglect
  • Attachment related difficulties
  • Narcissism
woman pressing her temples

Understanding Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy developed out of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Schema Therapy is an integrative therapy and combines approaches, attachment theory, psychoanalysis, Cognitive Behavioural, and humanistic therapy.

The main idea behind schema therapy is we all have core emotional needs as children, including secure attachments, realistic limits and self-control, freedom to express needs and emotions If these needs go unmet due to attachment difficulties, neglect, or traumatic experiences, then schemas and mental health issues including personality difficulties can develop.

Schemas are a way in which we have learnt to view the world, ourselves, and other people, they contain beliefs, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and body sensations.

An example of a schema “Abandonment Schema”

Jane becomes anxious every time her partner has to leave town and go interstate for work, this often leads to an argument, as she begs him to stay, and then calls him and texts him repeatedly once he has gone. This puts a strain on their relationship.

Going back to her childhood Jane lost her father when she was young when he left to go overseas and never came back, because of this experience Jane has developed an abandonment schema, believing that everyone who cares for her will always leave. Her schema is triggered every time her partner has to leave to go interstate for work.

Jane’s schema contains beliefs, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and body sensations.

To stop our schemas from becoming triggered, we develop coping styles of protection. Our coping styles are developed during early childhood or adolescence and were once adaptive in childhood but have become maladaptive as an adult.

The Goal of Schema Therapy

The goal of schema therapy is to help clients get their emotional needs met this is achieved through the client strengthening their healthy adult mode and replacing old maladaptive behaviour with healthier choices.

Treatment Length

The treatment length varies:

  • less complex 20 sessions
  • more complex problems 1-2 years

Phases of treatment: Assessment and Education Phase

The assessment phase includes several questionnaires and experiential techniques. In this phase, the therapist helps the client understand and identify their schemas and their origins, clients also learn their maladaptive coping styles, behaviour and how this helps to reinforce their schemas. By the end of this phase, the client and the therapist have developed a collaborative treatment plan, to guide the rest of the treatment.

The Change Phase

This phase is the most active part of the therapy, and the therapist will draw from the following based on the needs of the client and the case formulation.

  • Cognitive techniques
  • Experiential techniques
  • Behavioural pattern-breaking
  • The therapist relationship

There is an emphasis on experiential work in the change phase including imagery work and imagery rescripting (a way to provide schema healing a process where traumatic or upsetting childhood memories are reprocessed). In addition, other experiential techniques are used during the change phase including roleplays and chair work.

Schema Therapy is a long-term therapy that enables a deep understanding of long-term patterns of behaviour, unhelpful thinking, relationship patterns, personality difficulties, and other long-term problems.

Enquire today and see if Schema Therapy Geelong is a good fit for you.


​Dave is an experienced social worker, mental health clinician, and psychotherapist who has experience treating a range of issues including personality difficulties, relationship issues, trauma, and longstanding interpersonal problems. Dave is currently completing certification in Schema Therapy as recognised by the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST).

Dave Temme

Dave is a trauma focused therapist that has done advanced schema training.