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Schema Therapy

So without going into my life dramas, I have many labels and two happen to be BPD (dx 1992) and c-PTSD (dx 2017). I have done many hours of psychotherapy over the years without improvement. I have had three hospital stays (two for S, one for "treatment") and done components of CBT, ACT and DBT. I was recommended for the public funded DBT program after one particular hospitalisation but when I went along to meet the person in charge was told "you don't SH and didn't actually attempt therefore you don't qualify"!!

So recently I finally started with a terrific psychologist who is working on Schema Therapy with me. It makes perfect sense and has allowed me to get a better understanding of who I am and what makes me tick.

Would anyone like to provide anecdotes or other information to help me on this journey? Or even join me on my journey for support?



Re: Schema Therapy

I have heard schema therapy can be good. Developed in Netherlands?  So it must be good ... ha ha ... joke ... I am half dutch.  Some of the best trauma-informed work is from there .. for good historical reasons ... or are they bad reasons??

My siblings and I have fallen between the diagnoses cracks.  Smiley Frustrated

Some MH workers need a course in manners and respectful communication.Smiley Embarassed

Hope people sign up for the ride as it is probably worthwhile.Smiley Happy



Re: Schema Therapy

I'll admit I don't know too much about this form of therapy @darwinemma. But am willing to learn through your eyes, if you don't mind.

I'll hop on your bus through this journey. I say 'bus' because I am currently in Acceptance & Commitment therapy and as the ACT 'guru' Russ Harris as likened thoughts as passengers on a bus (driving through our journey of life). I like that analogy, so have taken to referring to my journey as my bus too.

I'll have a look at some of it's concepts via good ol' Google now! Smiley Wink

Re: Schema Therapy

Hi @darwinemma, thank you so much for sharing your story. I have never joined a forum before, but I stumbled across your post and I had to reach out..

My story is almost identical to yours - diagnosis, admissions, therapies, experience - everything. The only difference is the dates - BPD dx 2006 and PTSD dx 2016. I also have a few other labels thrown in for good measure too Smiley Wink 

Like you, I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours and poured every last cent I had into trying to get better but I got nowhere, in fact I got much worse.. then everything changed 2 years ago when I (accidentally) found the most incredible Schema Therapist. I had never heard of it before and had no idea what it was all about, but I was clutching at straws and was willing to try anything - and I am so glad I did.

I am by no means 'recovered' yet, but I am finally moving in the right direction - and its really bloody exciting! I have made more progress in the last 2 years than I did in over 15 years with other therapies... so I was so happy to see your post and find someone else on a similar road.. and I would love to join you in this journey if you are keen. @darwinemma 

I have been doing schema work one-on-one with my psychologist and I just started the 10 week group program which I am loving. It is so helpful to hear other people's experiences and to really solidify my understanding of the different modes and schemas. At first, the idea of sitting in a circle with a bunch of strangers was absolutely terrifying, but I am slowly getting used to it. If you are able to find a group program near you I highly recommend it, plus its free!

I also have the book based on schema therapy called "Reinventing Your Life" by Jeffery E. Young which is really helpful too. Unfortunately it looks like a cheesey 1980's American 'self-helpy' book on the outside, but rest assured the inside is good Smiley Happy 

If you have any questions or want to chat I am all ears Smiley Happy 


Re: Schema Therapy

Thank you @lostgypsy for replying.

We have no group programs here however I am hoping to attend one in Melbourne early next year which is a 4 week inpatient intensive. I will continue to work one on one with my therapist here for as long as the people who pay my bill keep

I wish I had come across this therapy many years ago. I have lost so much in my life because of inappropriate treatment and the inability to actually afford to pay for good treatment.

It comes too late to save my marriage of 14 1/2 years and the relationship with my daughter (which I hope one day can be salvaged) but I know I am on the right road now and I am free to do this for me (which is a strange concept - self care - what is that?? lol)


Re: Schema Therapy

Hi @darwinemma, @lostgypsy, @Appleblossom & @Queenie,
I haven't heard of Schema, sorry, I can't help there.
Can I ask you though, would you be interested in learning coping strategies from someone who has lived with Bipolar Disorder, anxiety, depression etc for 20 years? Not from a psychiatrist, not a health professional but someone living with the illness.
I'm really excited because today Malcom Turnball announced there will be new mental health online programs. I'm visualising an online coaching / mentor program for people with Mental Illness including BD, Depression, Anxiety, alcolism, psychosis, suicide etc.
Do you think an online help program would help you?

I hope that there might be some fundiing to help make this website more user friendly.

Re: Schema Therapy

Apologies for my last comment about this website. I'm very grateful to have it and to find others here that are going through the same thing.

Re: Schema Therapy

Hi there,

Like both of you @darwinemma and @lostgypsy, I have had a bunch of different therapists, medications and diagnoses (BP2 then 1 and some hinting at borderline traits). Hinting until today when the psychologist I have been seeing this year finally hit the nail on the head and agreed I have BPD. Think I have known for a while really but without SH as a symptom it just doesen't feel right. But then I read the symptom list in DSM V again and slapped my forehead! That's me!

Anyway, I have been through DBT for a year as well as some CBT years before. I found DBT really helpful but as I am a mum of two currently with a full time job I just am unable to 'get to' practicing or even learning some of the skills. You can also forget about mindfulness! Putting myself first is a struggle, yet not sometimes, yet I'm staring down the rabbbit hole of impending emotional crisis again so I think more help is needed. 

Today my therapist mentioned 'reparenting'. Apparently discredited but I think she means in terms of adressing what damage my childhood has left. She mentioned she is trained in schema therapy so I think that is where I am headed. I'm completely and utterly exhausted from this battle. SI is my go to numbing technique and I have spent hours of my life concocting its end. Not literally though. Anyway, I'd be interested to hear how this therapy goes for you. All the best.

Re: Schema Therapy

Hi @darwinemma,

I am so sorry to hear about your marriage and your relationship with your daughter.. it's just heartbreaking and I really feel for you. It hurts hey. Relationships are so so hard with BPD.

I don't know if it is of any comfort to you.. but I grew up with a Mum with really intense BPD, and when our BPD universes collided in my early teens - whoah. Carnage. I know all too well what it feels like to be on the receiving end of someone elses BPD demons.. all the while wrestling with your own from the inside out. It's not easy being in either boat and my relationship with my mum has been very fractured, often completely broken.

Now, 17 years on, we are both working really hard to understand ourselves and each other. I am 30 and she is 67 and we are just starting to rebuild our relationship, tiny piece by tiny piece. It's rough, and it's hard, I have grieved deeply for the time I have lost with my Mum, and for the relationship I had hoped we could have had.. but I am hopeful we can build something new. I of course have no idea what the situation is like with your daughter, but I guess one thing you do have is time.. time to one day build something new with her. Borderlines are many things, but when we love - we realllly love. The depth and intencity of that love is unmistakable and unforgetable. Even if you are not in contact with your daughter and things feel irreperable - I am convinced she will never ever forget your love for her, and that love will eventually bring her back to you. Heart Hang in there x 


Re: Schema Therapy

Hi @darwinemma,

I did some Schema Therapy for a while- I found it very helpful. It involved filling in a questionnaire with hundreds of questions .... then the therapist collates your answers and gives you your 'schemas'. 

The schemas are basically ways of thinking or understanding the world that we all developed when we were very young. They are ingrained ways of thinking that we are usually not aware of. We don't even question them.... they are sort of like 'part of us'. 

(Sorry, I am no expert- this is just my understanding.... which I'm sure is limited!)

One of my major schemas was "emotional deprivation". (sounds sad Smiley Sad)

This means that I basically go through life believing on a very deep level that my emotional needs will never get met. I'm not even aware that I believe this- because the belief came into being when I was extremely young and so this belief just feels normal. If I ever had to think about it (which I never did), then I would simply conclude that everyone felt the same way. I would assume that my reality was everyone's reality.

When in fact, there are vast hordes of people out there, who go though life believing (knowing) that their emotional needs are valid and that their are plenty of people in the world who are capable and willing to meet them! Wow. Smiley Wink

My schema has effected me by making me into an extremely independent person (which is kind of good). It has also made me into a reserved, secretive and mis-trustful person. I don't share my feelings easily- and if I do, I always have a 'plan B'.... which tends to involve running away. 

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