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An Interview with Jeffrey Young, Ph.D. on Schema Therapy

David Van Nuys, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 22nd 2007

download this podcast read the transcript

Jeffrey Young, Ph.D.For years, psychotherapy has been split into various camps or schools, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and person-centered or humanistic therapy. Each therapy school has different ideas for what therapy should accomplish, and how to go about doing therapy. Faced with this complexity, many working therapists have become eclectic, meaning they try to use techniques from multiple schools at once. Eclecticism can easily become very confusing and muddy for therapists and patients, however, making it difficult to know precisely what the goals are that the therapy is attempting to achieve.

Originally trained as a cognitive-behaviorist, Dr. Jeffrey Young is the founder of Schema Therapy, which represents an effort to systematically and coherently integrate techniques from the various therapy approaches. Though a general purpose therapy, Schema Therapy has been designed with the goal of helping personality disordered and otherwise treatment-resistant patients find relief.

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About Jeffrey Young, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Young, Ph.D.Dr. Jeffrey Young is Founder and Director of the Cognitive Therapy Centers of New York and Connecticut, and the Schema Therapy Institute. He is also on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He received his undergraduate training at Yale University and his graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Aaron Beck, and went on to serve there as Director of Research and Training. Dr. Young has lectured on cognitive and schema therapies internationally for the past 24 years. He has trained thousands of mental health professionals, and is widely acclaimed for his outstanding teaching skills.

He is the founder of Schema Therapy, an integrative approach for personality disorders and treatment-resistant patients. He has published widely in the fields of both cognitive and schema therapies, including two major books: Schema Therapy: A Practitioner’s Guide, written for mental health professionals, and Reinventing Your Life, a popular self-help book based on schema therapy.

Beyond this, Dr. Young is co-author of a psychotherapy outcome study evaluating the effectiveness of cognitive therapy in comparison to antidepressant medication. He has also served as consultant on many cognitive and schema therapy research grants, including the NIMH Collaborative Study of Depression, and on the editorial boards of journals including Cognitive Therapy and Research and Cognitive & Behavioral Practice. Dr. Young was awarded the prestigious NEEI Mental Health Educator of the Year award in 2003.

Reader Comments
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Probably Schema Therapy is Reinventing the TA Wheel! - Fuat Ulus, M.D. - Nov 14th 2010

Like the other contributors to this article, I too ask why TA has not even been mentioned within the line of references. Actually, TA has "cognitive therapy" component within the perspective of "adult," "patient oriented & humanistic therapy" component within the perspective of "child & adolescent" and "psychodynamic" component within the line of "parent..." While I have my utmost respect for Dr. Young, I think his Schema Therapy may be thought of reinventing the TA wheel and perhaps for this reason, TA has not been referred and these inquiries of participants have not yet been answered :-)   

There is an answer for the TA similarities - Dr. Ray Montella, PhD. - Jan 15th 2010

That was a lovely quote about everything is repeated but the ethics code say not to claim that the stuff you write is your own if it is not.  Simply giving credit where credit is due would do.

TA & schema therapy - carrie - Jul 13th 2009

I am a transactional analyst & have also wondered why TA appears not to be acknowledged in schema therapy despite the obvious connections? I also notice that the last person to ask the same question does not appear to have had a response.

Editor's Note: It's a good question (e.g., contribution of TA to Schema Therapy) to which we are not sure the proper answer. 

Thank you - Kelly - May 21st 2008

Thank you for interviewing Dr. Young. I read Reinventing Your Life and thought that schema therapy sounded like the only thing that would help me change. There is no schema therapist near me (New Hampshire) and I would like to ask any therapist who reads this to fight any fear of a boss or coworker thinking less of you and try to fight to get more therapists interested in becoming schema therapists. There are a lot of us patients out here with heavy-duty stuff all the other therapists we've been to have not been able to inspire us to fight to change. Schemas have real strong inertia power and we can't fight them on our own, no matter how much we want to. I'm sure somebody could make the government and HMO's understand how cost-effective schema therapy would be in the long run for so many long-term, costly life problems like mine. I really would fight to make myself competent if I had hope and help.

Have also thought about the connection to TA - Barbara - Dec 20th 2007

Before I read the books about Schema therapy, I have studied some about Transactional Analysis and I also found quite a bit of similarities.

So to me it seems that e.g. "scripts" in TA is the same as "schemas", "stroke economy" (TA) is the same as the schemas "emotional depreviation" and "emotional inhibitation". Also automatic thoughts in Cognitive Therapy seem to be something like "injuctions" and "attributions" in TA.

Thank you for the interview!

Editor's Note:  I think Ecclesiastes said it best.  "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  There is an underlying psychological reality and each generation does its best to use the language and ideas available to it to describe that reality as best as it can.

interview with jeffey Young - elaine Hunt - Dec 13th 2007

I have just listened to your interview with jeffrey Young, I was interested as I have just completed a questionnaire for my therapist and about to embark on what I hope is life changing therapy.  I am a high achiever and successful in my carreer therefore to listen to this has made me realise that I* am nt nuts!!!  I don't have depression, BUT d need to change my pattern of allowing myself to be bullied at work and relationships.

 thank you so much,  I am an Occupational Health Practitioner and will be recommending your site to many others.  I have done a CBT course and had counselling over the years but nothing has made more sense than listeneing to your interview with jeffre Yung


many thanks


ray's way - gianni bopcchetti - Nov 30th 2007
I think your entirely right about the cluster "B" group...

TA and Schema Therapy - Ray Montella - Nov 25th 2007

I am a Psych Asssistant and happened to study privately with a Transactional Analysis expert who studied with Eric Berne. I love Schema Therapy and use it all the time. I could not help noticing how extremely similiar it is to Eric Berne's TA. I was wonder why there are no references or citations to Bernes work.



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