Schema Therapy Special Interest Group

Schema Therapy

This Special Interest Branch of the BABCP focuses on promoting the practice of Schema Therapy in the United Kingdom, as well as supporting research.


  • Create a forum for discussing the role of Schema Therapy in developing a conceptualisation for complex psychological problems across a diverse range of mental health settings
  • Bring Schema Therapy further recognition in the wider CBT community
  • Make training available in Schema Therapy to and to promote good practice
  • Develop the role of research and the empirical basis for Schema Therapy
  • Participate in conferences and workshops
  • Cultivate a strong UK network whilst making active international links in developing the field within a CBT context

Committee Members

Role Name
Co-Chair Ruth McCutcheon and Saskia Ohlin
Secretary Anna Sagredou
Branch Liaison Natalie Sarjveladze-Weeks


Contact the Schema Therapy Special Interest Group by emailing

What is Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy is an innovative form of psychological therapy, developed for people who have personality disorders and longstanding recurrent mental health problems. This modality defines ‘schemas’ as enduring patterns of thoughts, memories, feelings, pre verbal information and behaviour that have developed from childhood through to adulthood.

This approach conceptualises schemas as evolving due to core emotional needs that were not met in childhood which can result in people making choices which perpetuate their unmet needs in adulthood. In this way, the Schema Therapy approach views everybody falling on a continuum of having ‘schemas’ to some extent, but some have stronger maladaptive or unhelpful schemas which impact significantly upon the quality of their life.

An example of this could be someone who feels very rejected because they have a deep sense of disconnection, alternatively another person might tend to be directed towards others and prioritise these needs at the expense of their own.

Jeffrey Young’ developed the foundations of Schema Therapy which can be seen as an adapted version of Cognitive Therapy. The main differences with Cognitive therapy were the greater focus on schemas and the integration of relational and experiential approaches. Arnould Arntz, based in the Netherlands, developed an expanded form of Cognitive Therapy to include childhood trauma processing for Borderline Personality Disorder.

In a number of RCT's conducted over more than 20 years Schema Therapy has shown evidence to be effective in the treatment of BPD (Nadort et al, 2009; Arntz et al, 2015), chronic depression (Renner et al, 2016), anxiety disorders (Cockram et al, 2010), eating disorders (Farrell et al, 2009) and forensic populations (Bernstein et al, 2012). There is also growing evidence that Schema Therapy is effective in the treatment for clusters B and C personality disorders (Bamelis et al 2014).

Schema Therapy is increasingly used within UK NHS services across a range of settings including personality disorder, forensic, eating disorders and primary care settings. The increasing interest in ST is reflected in the choice of Arnoud Arntz as one of the keynote speakers at the BABCP conferences both in 2010 and in 2017.

Teaching Resources

If you are interested in available teaching and resources for Schema Therapy, the Committee will be considering establishing a set of resources and to build a network for trainers to share ideas while offering Schema Therapy training courses in the UK. Please feel free to contact us for further information at

Links for UK Schema Therapists and Researchers


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