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Why I love Schema Therapy

A Personal View

Schema Therapy is closely aligned with many of my personal values. Authenticity is very important to me. In a world with so many opportunities for inauthentic self-portrayal, I find Schema Therapy refreshing. In my experience, mental health professionals can all too often hide themselves behind complex defences, whether to do with their own issues, or the trappings of their profession or ideology. In my opinion, effective psychotherapy is based on a genuine encounter between two (or more) humans. Schema Therapy affords me the opportunity to be  a real person and to treat you as such.

Whilst I love a good theory, I don’t believe in dressing things up or making them more complex than they need to be. Schema Theory is both complex enough to explain an enormous variety of psychopathology, and simple enough to be really accessible. In fact, it’s as close to a ‘common sense’ form of psychology as I’m aware of. Good psychology needs to be direct and engaging, not using overly complex concepts that can create barriers to true connection and understanding. The Schema Model is not only powerful but keeps things simple, direct and to the point.

Schema Therapy also gives me a platform to be explicit about my feelings. Since emotional expression is critical to the healing process, it would be odd (and counterproductive) if your therapist were too detached or emotionally inhibited. I wish to be neither! Schema Therapy affords both the therapist and the client a vital opportunity for freedom of expression. 

Over the years, I feel that I have personally benefitted from some of the best psychological guidance available. I have been taught and supervised by many esteemed individuals in the Schema Therapy world, who have imparted their considerable wisdom. It is my privilege, and mission, to share some of this directly with my clients and supervisees.

I love getting to heart of the matter. I tend to feel dissatisfied with interventions designed to help people cope with their emotions, rather than really getting to the cause of their distress. Of course, we do all need ways to cope with our emotions, especially if we are so distressed or unstable that we aren’t able to function well in the moment. Whilst learning coping skills can help people to manage their emotions, in my experience this is not a good longer term strategy. Rather, it can turn into a complex game of ‘whack-a-mole’, with the person essentially avoiding or neutralising their feelings. In the long run this can be exhausting, and may not be conducive to personal growth.

Schema Therapy isn’t about short-term fixes: it gets to the formative experiences associated with how we make sense of events. It helps people form new perspectives and get beyond the points in their emotional development where they got stuck in the past. For me, the experience of therapy is most satisfying when I know that we’ve got to the root.

My sense is that people have breakdowns, crises and experience distress as a natural mechanism of life that offers us opportunities for healing and growth. They are a necessary part of maintaining good health in a world with so many opportunities for suffering. People have a natural tendency to ‘eject’ the material they need to for their health, both physically and emotionally. When our distress ‘wants to come out’ it best to listen and find ways to safely enable this. Ultimately, that is how I see my role as a psychotherapist: to facilitate you in expressing, understanding and reprocessing those aspects of your life that keep coming to the surface. It is my privilege to be trusted to offer guidance where needed, to encourage growth and facilitate acceptance.