Schema Therapy vs CBT

Schema Therapy vs CBT

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Schema Therapy vs CBT
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Is Schema Therapy Effective? And how does Schema Therapy work for you?

The headline for this article promises a lot of answers. So we’ll do our best to make sure you get all the information you need to understand what Schema Therapy is today. We’ll be comparing Schema Therapy and CBT so you can get a better grasp of their differences. This will give you a better idea about whether Schema Therapy is a type of therapy you could consider.

You’re probably here because you’re going through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) right now. But something about it isn’t working. You’re not getting the results you desire.

You’re searching for alternatives to help you reach your goals more effectively. This is a common search among those who feel CBT is failing them. But you must understand this one thing before reading this article – not all therapy types are right for everyone.

Our minds are complex and scientists don’t have a full understanding of how they work just yet. So finding the right therapy for you can be a ground-breaking experience. But you have to be willing to accept that not all therapy types can or will work for your specific needs and goals.

If CBT isn’t working for you, this article will show you the differences between CBT and Schema Therapy so you can decide if it’s a therapy style you’d like to explore more.

So let’s jump straight into our differences between Schema Therapy and CBT…

What is CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)?

CBT is a very common psychotherapy style. Its main focus is to look at your thoughts and feelings and examine how they affect your behaviour. Doing this can help you understand your automatic thoughts – thoughts that come up without you prompting them. Your automatic thoughts shape the way you behave in certain circumstances.

CBT Therapists help their patients change their automatic thought patterns. And doing so can help you overcome your emotional problems.

A basic way of looking at CBT is that it changes the way you think so you feel better.

What is Schema Therapy?

Schema Therapy is a process-based therapy that combines Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with many existing therapeutic approaches such as psychoanalysis. It is designed to help people who are stuck in recurring, unhelpful patterns of emotion, thought and behaviour.

Schema Therapy takes a more detailed look at your schemas and coping mechanisms you’ve adopted throughout your life to take a deeper dive into why you think and behave the way you do.

You’ll often hear schema therapists talk about your inner child. That’s because schema therapy looks to your early life and childhood experiences to help you overcome your emotional problems. It attempts to fix the effects of your past experiences.

Both CBT and Schema Therapy are commonly used to help treat:

● Borderline Personality disorder (BPD)
● Eating disorders
● Depression
● Trauma
● Anxiety

You can read more about Schema Therapy on the International Society for Schema Therapy website –

What is the difference between Schema Therapy and CBT?

Although Schema therapy uses CBT techniques in its approach, there are some major differences between the two therapy types.


Both schema therapy and CBT can help you overcome similar emotional problems, but they don’t necessarily share the same end goal.


As mentioned above, schema therapy looks at your existing schemas and attempts to change them. CBT does this too but on a smaller scale.

The Focus on emotional problems

Schema therapy and CBT are completely different in their focus on your emotional problems.

The focus of the therapy

Schema therapy and CBT are also completely different in their therapeutic focus.

Therapy style

Although a therapist can practice both CBT and Schema therapy, they will have different therapeutic styles for the sessions. Both are active therapy styles which means you’ll be very involved in the conversation and given homework to complete outside of sessions.

Therapy session structure

You’ll notice a vast difference in the therapy session structure between CBT and Schema therapy.

Length of treatment

The length of treatment can vary from patient to patient but in general, Schema therapy will require more sessions than CBT.

Is Schema therapy more effective than CBT?

After looking at the main differences between schema therapy and CBT you’ll have noticed that Schema therapy looks at your unmet needs and other negative experiences as a child. It aims to address these by looking into your inner child and developing your healthy adult self.

It has less emphasis on cognitive function and more on unconscious thoughts and feelings.

Schema therapy, although still in its early stages, has proven to be very effective. And has helped patients where CBT has failed to provide results. But as we mentioned above, not all therapy types will be right for everyone.

We recommend you talk to your doctor about the option of receiving schema therapy.

Find a Schema Therapy Therapist near you

Looking for an English-speaking schema therapist in Barcelona? Dr Steven Joseph is one of the only doctors in Barcelona to offer Schema Therapy.

You can book a consultation to discuss your options with us by contacting us through WhatsApp

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