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JUNE 24 - 26, 2021 / WORLDWIDE




2.00 - 2.15


Early Maladaptive Schemas, Childhood Adversity, Depression and Suicidal Thoughts 

with Pam Pilkington, Amy Bishop and Rita Younan

In our first review, we aimed to identify which types of abuse and neglect are most strongly related to each of the 18 early maladaptive schemas (published in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy). We included childhood experiences of both traumatisation or victimisation (e.g., sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse) and toxic frustration of needs (e.g., emotional neglect). In our subsequent reviews we investigated which early maladaptive schemas are most predictive of depression (under peer review), suicidal thoughts, and self-harming behaviour (published in Journal of Affective Disorders Reports)

The findings from these three reviews provides support for the theory that trauma and neglect in childhood lead to early maladaptive schemas and psychopathology in adulthood. This body of research also gives important insights into the specific schemas most strongly related to different types of childhood abuse and neglect, and mood disorder outcomes in adulthood. Of the 18 early maladaptive schemas, two specific schemas were particularly salient across all three reviews. From a clinical perspective, understanding which schemas are most strongly correlated with depression and depression-related outcomes has utility in case formulation and risk assessment. Treatment can then be tailored to focus on healing these schemas, and the underlying experiences of childhood trauma, adversity, and unmet emotional needs.

About the Presenters

Pam Pilkington

Pam Pilkington is an Advanced schema therapist and Clinical Psychologist working in private practice in Melbourne, Australia since the completion of PhD in 2016. In addition to clinical work, Pam enjoys contributing to the ISST as a co-editor of the bulletin, engaging in research, and teaching postgraduate psychology students at the Australian Catholic University. For the past 10 years, Pam has contributed to research on parenting, childhood experiences, and the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop is a clinical psychology graduate, having completed the Master of Clinical Psychology in 2020. Amy has worked extensively in the community mental health field, working within Emergency Departments in Melbourne and Queensland and has a passion for working in community engagement and outreach services. Amy also has a strong interest in complex mental health presentations, psychosis, crisis intervention and trauma. Amy has engaged in research projects involving early maladaptive schemas, depression, suicidality and self-harm, parenting practices and vicarious trauma. Her preferred psychotherapy modalities include Schema Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapies.

Rita Younan

Dr Younan is the director and founder of the Schema Therapy Institute Australia.  Dr Younan works both in Individual and Group Schema Therapy and was the Director of The Schema Therapy Department at The Victoria Clinic, a private psychiatric hospital in Melbourne, Australia.  In collaborating with the founders of Group Schema Therapy, Professor Joan Farrell & Ms Ida Shaw, Dr Younan developed an intensive 4-week inpatient program in Group Schema Therapy for Complex Trauma and subsequent outpatient program.

Dr Younan has been provided with permission to empirically assess the feasibility and efficacy of this treatment program and recently presented the data as part of a Schema Therapy Panel at the 8th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies.  Dr Younan was invited to present this data in Vienna, Austria at the International Conference for Schema Therapy as part of a panel devoted to Group Schema Therapy.

Dr. Younan is a member of the executive board for the International Society of Schema Therapy and holds the position of Training Co-Ordinator; she is also a member of the Group Certification Committee and the Training and Certification Advisory Board for Schema Therapy.

Dr Younan is a clinical supervisor/teacher for Australian Catholic University at the Post-Graduate level and a research consultant with a number of tertiary institutions studying the effectiveness of Schema Therapy across various clinical applications.

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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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