Leone Centre Glossary

Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy in CBT

Schema Therapy is an approach in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which addresses deep-seated patterns of thinking and behaviour. This combines cognitive, behavioural, and experiential actions to help individuals recognise and change negative schemas (patterns) that influence their lives.

Persistent Patterns

Schema Therapy is particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with chronic psychological issues, such as long-standing depression, anxiety, and relationship problems. It addresses core beliefs and patterns that have developed from unmet emotional needs in childhood.

Therapeutic Integration

Schema Therapy combines cognitive, behavioural, and experiential approaches to identify and change negative schemas. These schemas are self-defeating patterns that have been formed early in life and are strengthened by life experiences. Schema therapy focuses on understanding where these schemas come from and developing healthier alternatives.

About Schema Therapy

Schema Therapy, developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young, extends traditional CBT by addressing entrenched, maladaptive patterns. It is particularly useful for treating personality disorders, chronic depression, and other complex psychological issues.

How It Helps

Schema Therapy helps individuals recognise and change deep-rooted negative schemas. By doing so, it promotes healthier thinking patterns and behaviours, leading to improved mental health and well-being.

How It Works

The therapy involves several stages: identifying schemas, understanding their origins, and applying cognitive, behavioural, and experiential actions to change them. Activities include cognitive restructuring, behavioural pattern breaking, and experiential exercises such as imagery and role-playing.


What is a schema?
A schema is a deep-seated belief or pattern that influences how we think, feel, and behave.
How is Schema Therapy different from traditional CBT?
Schema Therapy extends traditional CBT by focusing on deep-rooted patterns and beliefs formed early in life, whereas CBT typically addresses more surface-level thoughts and behaviours.
Who can benefit from Schema Therapy?
Schema Therapy is beneficial for individuals with chronic psychological issues, including personality disorders, long-standing depression, and relationship problems.


  1. International Society of Schema Therapy
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information – Schema Therapy for Chronic Depression
  3. Verywell Mind – Schema Therapy
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision