Schema therapy is a psychiatric technique used in the treatment of behavioral disorders, usually when the standard therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy have failed. Schema driven reactions are sorted out in Schema Therapy terms of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, underlying schemas and modes, healthy perspectives and realistic concerns, overreactions, and healthy behavior. A person with a given schema may use a different coping mode depending on the situation, but a dominant coping pattern is likely to occur.

Assessment includes the use of questionnaires to identify the individual’s schemas, coping styles and preferred modes, enabling the client to understand and develop an ability to change their unhelpful thinking styles and patterns of behaviour (International Society of Schema Therapy).

In J. J. Maganavita (Ed.),Handbook of personality disorders (pp. The treatment focuses on the relationship with the therapist, daily life outside of therapy, and the traumatic childhood experiences that are common in this disorder. 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.

In recent years extensive experience has been acquired with the application of schema therapeutic methods and techniques in the treatment of this pathology. Limited reparenting may involve reaching the Vulnerable Child Mode and being reassuring or being firm with or setting limits on the avoidant and over-compensating modes that block access to the Vulnerable Child.

Described are innovative ways to rapidly conceptualize challenging cases, explore the client’s childhood history, identify and modify self-defeating patterns, use imagery and other experiential techniques in treatment, and maximize the power of the therapeutic relationship.