What is Schema Therapy?

schema therapy
Schema Therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young for use in treatment of Personality Disorders

Schema Therapy (short for Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy) is a therapy approach which brings together many of the best aspects of cognitive-behavioural, experiential, interpersonal and psychoanalytic therapies into one unified model.

Schema Therapy was developed by Jeffrey Young for use in treatment of Personality Disorders and chronic DSM Axis I disorders, such as when clients fail to respond or relapse after having been through other therapies (for example, traditional cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT). Schema Therapy is proven to be an effective and cost-effective treatment for Personality Disorders (such as Borderline Personality Disorder) and longstanding Axis-I disorders, more so than other treatments. It is evidence-based and being used by a growing number of therapists and psychologists from around the world.

Schema Therapy empowers people to change long-standing patterns or themes in thinking, feeling and behaving (coping). In Schema Therapy clients work together with their therapist to address and modify these deeper patterns or themes, also known as “schemas” or “lifetraps.”

The schemas that are targeted in therapy are enduring and self-defeating patterns that typically begin early in life (during childhood and adolescence). Schemas develop in response to our needs not being met (needs such as safety, stability, emotional connection and validation) and are usually repeated throughout our lives within our relationships as adults.

Schemas interfere with us getting our emotional needs met as adults. They can often lead to difficulties interacting and forming connections with other people, as well as a general sense of dissatisfaction with life. If our emotional needs remain unmet within our relationships, it is virtually impossible to develop a sense of well-being or happiness in life.

In Schema Therapy clients work together with their therapist to identify and explore the origins of their schemas. After understanding why their schemas have developed, the emphasis is on working towards healing the schemas. The aim of Schema Therapy is to truly shift the way a person feels about themselves and others, not just to change the way that they think.

We have designed Secure Nest as a therapeutic tool for Schema Therapy, which aims to support therapists and clients. If you are new to Schema Therapy, Secure Nest can provide a framework to assist with treating your clients and helping them to understand the model.

Please don’t hesitate to signup for a free trial (signup as an individual, signup as a therapist), if you haven’t already. As Secure Nest is currently only designed for clients who are working together with their therapist on the platform, we would encourage interested clients to share the website with their therapist to see if it is something you can trial together (once a therapist has created an account a client can create theirs, linking their accounts in the sign-up process, see ‘Getting Started With Secure Nest‘).

The Secure Nest Team


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Secure Nest provides personalised online therapy tools designed specifically for schema therapy. Read more here or register for your free trial.