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JUNE 24 - 26, 2021 / WORLDWIDE




12.00 - 1.00


TRACK 1: Reformulating Schema Therapy Theory

with Arnoud Arntz

Reformulating Schema Therapy Theory

Keynote Presenter: Arnoud Arntz

Co-authors: Marleen Rijkeboer, Edward Chan, Eva Fassbinder, Alp Karaosmanoglu, Christopher William Lee & Marta Panzeri

In this LIVE keynote I will discuss the reformulation of the theory underlying schema therapy, that resulted from the work by an international workgroup. This workgroup was formed to prepare the basis for a new Schema Mode Inventory, as the number of modes proposed to play a role in personality pathology has increased considerably in the last 10 years.

Instead of just incorporating all modes that have been proposed on the basis of clinical impressions, we decided to have a fresh look at the theoretical basis of schema modes.

As schema modes were hypothesized by Young et al. (2003) to result from the combination of an activated early maladaptive schema (EMS) and a specific way of coping with that activation, and EMSs are hypothesized to result from frustrated core emotional needs, we started with a critical reflection on core emotional needs.

On the basis of new empirical and theoretical insights, we propose that two emotional needs should be added to the 5 proposed by Young:

(i) the need for Self-Coherence and a Meaningful World (based on Dweck’s theory (Dweck, 2017))

(ii) the need for Fairness (based on empirical research).

Frustration of these needs is proposed to lead to three new EMSs:

1. Lack of a Coherent Identity

2. Lack of a Meaningful World

3. Unfairness

Next, we critically re-examined the ways of coping with EMS activation proposed by Young. Keeping in mind that the three ways of maladaptive coping are internal mental operations that can be applied to all EMS, we propose to rename the “surrender” coping mode “resignation,” and the “overcompensation” coping mode “inversion.”

Lastly, we systematically combined each EMS with the three types of coping, leading to new modes that help us understand a much wider range of clinical problems. The reformulated theory thus offers a better coverage of psychopathology, offers new tools for clinicians, and forms the foundation of the next step in this international project, that is to create a cross-culturally valid new schema mode inventory.


Arntz, A., Rijkeboer, M., Chan, E., Fassbinder, E., Karaosmanoglu, A., Lee, C. W., & Panzeri, M. (2021). Towards a reformulated theory underlying schema therapy: Position paper of an international workgroup. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-021-10209-5

Dweck, C. S. (2017). From needs to goals and representations: Foundations for a unified theory of motivation, personality and development. Psychological Review, 124, 689–719. https://doi.org/10.1037/rev00 00082


Young, J. E., Klosko, J. S., & Weishaar, M. E. (2003). Schema therapy: A practitioner’s guide. New York: Guilford Press. 

About the Presenter

Arnoud Arntz

Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with an affiliation at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. His main research interests lie in the fields of PTSD and personality disorders, both applied and fundamental. He also practices as a psychotherapist at PsyQ in Amsterdam, where he treats patients with trauma and personality disorders. Together with Adam Radomsky he was editor of the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.


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Why Schema Therapy?

Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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