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available with Hannah Lewis 

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As children we all have a number of core needs which are important to be met to support healthy emotional development. These needs include:

feeling safe and cared for,

understanding realistic limits and having self control,

having the freedom to express our opinions and emotions,


being able to play freely,

feeling in control of our lives and able to make choices

and having clear self-identity.

If these are not met consistently or at all we can develop “negative life beliefs” e.g. believing that the world is an unfair place, or that other people will let us down. These “ negative life beliefs” are known as Schemas and they shape how we see ourselves, other people and the world around us. Strong Maladaptive Schemas which developed as a result of childhood needs not being met can cause a range of problems e.g. low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with life and difficulties forming and maintaining relationships. 

Schema Therapy aims to help people understand their Maladaptive Schemas by addressing unmet childhood needs and breaking rigid patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving which are causing problems for the individual and for people around them. It was developed to help people who have tried previous types of therapy without experiencing lasting success. It brings together a range of approaches and focuses on building a strong, boundaried relationship with a therapist as a foundation for making meaningful change. 

Schema Therapy can be suitable for people who might have tried other types of therapy or counselling before but struggled to make progress or for people who have not tried therapy before. People who are experiencing relationship difficulties, low self-esteem or problems understanding and managing their emotions could be suited to Schema Therapy. In addition, if an individual has noticed a pattern in how they think, feel and/or behave across their life Schema Therapy can help make sense of this which can help ease distress. 

Research has found that Schema Therapy can contribute to individuals experiencing fewer mood changes, better social and general functioning  and a decline in a decline in general stress symptoms (Videler et a, 2014; Renner et al, 2013; Bamelis et al, 2014). Schema Therapy can be adapted to the needs of the individual and has been found to be effective with older adults and individuals with Autism Spectrum Condition (Videler, 2017; Oshima et al, 2020).

If you are interested in reading more about Schema Therapy “Reinventing Your Life” by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko is a good starting point.


You are welcome to refer yourself for an initial Schema Therapy assessment session with Hannah Lewis. 


Bamelis L.L, Evers SM, Spinhoven P, Arntz A (2014) Results of a multicentre randomized controlled trial of the clinical effectiveness of schema therapy for personality disorders, American Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 305-322

Renner, F., Arntz, A., Leeuw, I., & Huibers, M. (2013). Treatment for chronic depression using schema therapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 20(2), 166.

Oshima, F., Murata, T., Ohtani, T., Seto, M., & Shimizu, E. (2020). A preliminary study of schema therapy for adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder: A single-arm, uncontrolled trial.

Videler AC, Rossi G, Schoevaars M, van der Feltz-Cornelis CM, van Alphen SP (2014) Effects of schema group therapy in older outpatients: a proof of concept study, International psychogeriatrics, 26, 1709-1717

Videler, A. C., Van Royen, R. J., Heijnen-Kohl, S. M., Rossi, G., Van Alphen, S. P., & Van der Feltz-Cornelis, C. M. (2017). Adapting schema therapy for personality disorders in older adults. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 10(1), 62-78.

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