Schema Therapy Melbourne

For clients seeking an integrative approach including Schema Therapy in Melbourne, we have compiled the below information to help you understand this type of therapeutic approach and we explore it’s uses and benefits.

What is Schema Therapy?

Schema Therapy is an evidence-based and integrative psychotherapy developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young. Schema Therapy combines theories and techniques from other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, attachment theory, psychoanalytic object relations theory, and Gestalt therapy.

Schema Therapy is particularly useful for identifying and resolving the personality dynamics of individuals with chronic emotional and relationship problems. 

While therapies such as CBT and DBT are seen to be effective in reducing acute symptoms, schema therapy is effective in reducing chronic symptoms as well as pinpointing and treating negative life patterns and deeply ingrained emotional themes. It also seeks to build resilience and build on the individual’s key strengths.

What are Schemas?

Schemas, or what we refer to as Early Maladaptive Schemas, can form as a result of core basic needs being significantly unmet in childhood. When needs such as safety, predictability/consistency, love/nurturance/attention, acceptance/praise, empathy, guidance/protection, and validation are not provided for, Early Maladaptive Schemas can occur as a result. EMS can be otherwise be defined as deep unconditional beliefs about oneself, one’s relationship to others and one’s relationship to the wider environment.

There are five basic schema domains and organised within these five schema domains are 18 specific early maladaptive schemas (EMS).

List of Early Maladaptive Schemas

Disconnection and rejection

Defectiveness/ shame

The belief that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or unworthy. This includes the fear of insecurities being exposed to significant others, accompanied by hypersensitivity to criticism, rejection, and blame.

Social Isolation/ alienation

The belief that one is isolated from other people; the feeling of not being a part of any groups.

Emotional deprivation

The belief that one’s standard for emotional support will not be met by others.

Abandonment/ instability

The belief system involving the sense that significant others will not be able to continue providing support, connection, strength, or protection because they are unstable, unpredictable, unreliable; because they will eventually die; or because they found someone better.


The belief system involving the sense that others will intentionally hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie manipulate, take advantage, or neglect.

Impaired autonomy and performance

Dependence/ incompetence

The belief that one cannot handle daily responsibilities without the help of others.

Vulnerability to harm or illness

The belief system involving the exaggeration of fear that catastrophe will strike at any time; the catastrophes may be medical, emotional, or external.

Enmeshment/ underdeveloped self

The belief system that one must please others at the expense of self or social development.


The belief that one will fail in everything.

Impaired limits

Entitlement/ grandiosity

The belief that one is superior to others, which allows one to have special rights and privileges.

Insufficient self-control/ self-discipline

The conflict between life goals and low self-control, perhaps seeking comfort instead of trying to perform daily responsibilities.



The belief that one should surrender control to others, suppressing desires in order to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment.

Approval-seeking/ recognition-seeking

The desire to gain approval, recognition, or attention from other people at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self.


The belief system involving excessive selflessness focused on meeting the needs of others at the expense of one’s own desire.

Overvigilance and inhibition

Overcontrol/ emotional inhibition

The belief system involving the inhibition of actions, feelings, or communications to avoid negative consequences.


The belief system involving the overemphasis on the negative aspects of life including pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, or things that could go wrong; neglecting positive aspects of life.

Unrelenting standards/ hypercriticalness

The belief that one must strive to meet very high personal standards, usually to avoid criticism, leading to hypercriticalness toward self and/or others.


The belief that people should face consequences for their mistakes.

Source: Klosko, Janet S.; Sanderson, William C. (1999). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression. Clinical application of evidence-based psychotherapy

Schema modes

A schema mode consists of a cluster of schemas and coping styles that can be described as momentary mind states which any individual can experience from time to time.

Life situations that arouse bad memories or disturb or offend a person are referred to as “triggers”. These triggers activate the schema modes. A psychologically healthy individual would experience these modes more mildly whereas in an individual with a personality disorder schema modes are more severe and pervasive.

There are 10 identified Schema modes grouped into four categories:

Schema Therapy Melbourne - Schema Modes: Child modes - Vulnerable Child, Angry Child, Impulsive/Undisciplined Child, Happy Child. Dysfunctional Coping modes - Compliant Surrenderer, Detached Protector, Overcompensator. Dysfunctional Parent modes - Punitive Parent, Demanding Parent. Healthy Adult mode.Schema Modes – Schema Therapy Melbourne

Schema Therapy Treatment Techniques

In addition to the basic healing components of the therapeutic relationship or ‘therapeutic alliance’, treatment plans in schema therapy generally include three basic classes of techniques:


Cognitive strategies can include this such as listing positive and negative aspects of a schema, or facilitating a ‘conversation’ between the “schema side” and the “healthy side”.


Experiential strategies include a technique referred to as ‘Imagery Re-scripting’ which expands on Gestalt therapy psychodrama and imagery techniques.


Behavioural pattern-breaking strategies include things such as role playing, setting homework and a process called ‘limited reparenting’ which is one of the most unique and defining elements of treatment in schema therapy.

Seeking treatment?

Mindview Psychology offers Schema Therapy treatment in Melbourne with experienced and passionate psychologists. Our practice location in the Melbourne CBD is both convenient and discreet and offers a safe and peaceful environment for individuals to explore their life’s challenges with the support and understanding of a compassionate and capable team.


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The path forward starts here...

 It can take courage to seek support when you are in need. Our experienced team of psychologists in Melbourne are ready to provide the safe space that clients need to explore their challenges and work towards lasting and meaningful change in their lives.

We aim to gather information about your goals, your history and your current challenges so we can feel confident that we’ll match you with the right Melbourne Psychologist. This matching process is what sets us apart as we strive to support our clients and our psychologists to develop meaningful and successful relationships.

If you have any questions or queries about our practice and psychologists we encourage you to call (03) 9052 4365 or send us an email. If you're ready to get started, you can head to our online booking page, we look forward to working with you. 

Get in touch

If you have any questions or queries about our practice and psychologists we encourage you to call (03) 9052 4365 or send us an email. If you're ready to get started, you can head to our online booking page, we look forward to working with you. 

Contact us

03 9052 4365

F  03 8513 6204

Our Location

Melbourne CBD

Suite 48
Level 4, 12 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000