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Highlights of INSPIRE 2016
Thanks for joining us in Vienna to focus on mode work in schema therapy. We hope you had an inspiring experience.

INSPIRE 2016: the Premiere Schema Therapy Event

The INSPIRE Experience
Friends and colleagues of the schema therapy world reconvened in Vienna as bright sunshine beamed from above the Reed Messe Wien Congress Center. For three days of INSPIRE 2016, June 30th through July 2nd, a diverse array of clinical and research presentations offered attendees more than 50 workshops, hot topics, case discussions, panels, and selections to choose from.
See INSPIRE 2016 Highlights
Membership Exclusives: If you're an ISST member and enrolled on the ISST website, you will be able to watch select keynote addresses, along with the welcome address by Honorary President, Jeff Young, and the Plenary Panel Discussion. You will be able to view key moments that set the tone for INSPIRE 2016, from the welcome to the Closing Ceremony.

Remembering Vienna

View video segments that premiered at the INSPIRE 2016 Closing Ceremony

ISST Board Members

2014 - 2016

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Summer School 2017

Barcelona, Spain

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Washington, DC, USA

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Watch INSPIRE 2016 Keynote Speakers

INSPIRE 2016 Highlights Blog

Share your experiences in Vienna! If you're an ISST member, and enrolled on the website, click "Add Post." To add pictures to your post, email us: VIENNA PICTURES

  • 10 Aug 2016 6:30 PM | Travis Atkinson


         By Xi Liu, New York City, USA

    It’s Wednesday morning and I’m slowly waking up for the pre-conference workshop. I dread to think that it is 3am in NYC right now. The conference centre - Messe Wien - is situated in Prater, Vienna, a stone's throw away from an amusement park that holds the oldest working ferris wheel in the world. Vienna, with its long history in psychoanalysis, and of course the birthplace of Sigmund Freud, is a most appropriate place for a psychotherapy conference. 


    From an impressive list of pre-conference workshop options, I signed up for the Schema Therapy for Couples workshop.

    For me, specializing in couples therapy work fell in the same category as dental work - necessary but guaranteed to cause discomfort. Living in New York, the backdrop of the famous Sex in the City TV show - I work with many clients who either strive to be in romantic relationships or are dealing with troubled partnerships. Therefore, I felt it was important to learn more about this important human phenomena from a schema perspective. Also, I didn't want to miss out on an impressive panel of speakers: Travis Atkinson, Eckhard Roediger, Poul Perris, David Edwards, Bruce Stevens, and Chiara Simeone-DeFrancesco.

    While CBT for couples has been well established, schema therapy for couples is a relatively new innovative approach. Schema therapy for couples focuses on identifying the unmet needs of each partners and how they can be met in the context of the relationship. However, it is not simply "individual schema therapy x 2". A breadth of existing research and clinical material is integrated into schema therapy for couples counseling, including work from John Gottman, Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, psychodrama and more.  

    I thoroughly enjoyed the role play activities and watching the wonderful video demonstration of couples chairwork by Chiara. The powerful schema therapy model applied to couples work 

    I must say, I feel seduced by the prospect of working with more couples. Pun intended.


    At the end of a long but stimulating day, we were treated to some wonderful poster presentations. I was particularly impressed to meet the delegates from countries where schema therapy is not widely practiced and where therapists are flying solo as beacons of schema therapy. These wonderful researchers and clinicians are part of the Ambassador’s program for ISST. In particular, Javad Najmabadizade and Marzieh Mottaghian worked on group schema therapy for couples and children in Iran, after translating Jeffrey Young’s Schema Therapy bible into Persian. I also met with presenters from Belgrade studying the relationship between Early Maladaptive Schemas and war related experiences - very important work in light of the refugee issues facing most of Europe and the world. 

    It was truly wonderful to see schema therapy applied in such innovative ways across the world. There is always been a gap between Western modern psychology and the dissemination and representation across cultures. But I’m glad to see the efforts ISST is making to bridge this gap. I look forward to hearing about more applications of schema therapy in nonEnglish speaking countries in years to come.


    The new president of ISST, Eckhard Roediger (MD) is a neurologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist from Germany. He showed us a very heartening powerpoint slide: in 2006, at ISST's first conference, only 45 people attended and the atmosphere was more like a "family reunion". Fast forward 10 years and the ISST membership has grown exponentially in size with over 600 people attending this year's conference in Vienna.

    The topic of the Vienna conference was What is it with Modes? The Transdiagnostic Power of Mode work in schema therapy. In the 30 years since Jeffrey Young created the powerful schema therapy model, the shift to looking at schema modes has been critical. The 2006 BPD study and the 2014 Cluster C studies by Arnoud Arntz and colleagues are major milestone studies in our schema therapy world. These developments provided important empirical evidence to show that schema therapy is an effective treatment for personality disorders.

    Over the course of the 2 day conference, presenters from all over the world provided the latest research and clinical applications of the schema mode therapy model on groups, positive clinical psychology, aging, forensics, therapy with family and children, sexuality, autism, addictions and more. It was truly inspiring.

    I wish I could go through and describe every single workshop and symposium that I attended. However, that would be a monumental task and it does little justice to the many workshops and symposiums that I could not attend - as there were 6 streams of wonderful presentations going at most times.

    Each morning of the conference started with a session of Acroyoga - a joyful physical exercise that combines yoga and acrobatics. It aimed to bring out our “Happy Child” - teaching us to fly, tumble and support each other’s weight and exploration. 

    At the closing ceremony, we were treated to a lovely performance by local Viennese performer who really showed us that acrobats and schema therapist have a lot in common- we both require a lot of flexibility!

    The 10th ISST conference was a hit. I felt a tremendous connection to the schema therapy family. The conference reflected the main tenets of schema therapy such as authenticity, understanding and real human connections. It was also wonderful to see Jeffrey Young, the founder of Schema Therapy asking insightful questions at presentations and chatting to old friends at the conference banquet. He and the many schema therapists at the conference has truly created a community akin to a family.  

    I had a final day in Vienna after the conference. I spent the day enjoying the Egon Schiele paintings at the Leopold Museum and walked past this wonderful scene below. The human mind and spirit are truly wonderful. 


    Readings on schema therapy couples work

    Atkinson, T. (2012). Schema Therapy for Couples: Healing Partners in a Relationship, In: van Vreeswijk M, Broersen J, Nadort M (eds). Handbook of Schema Therapy. Theory, Research and Practice. New York: Wiley, p. 323-336

    Simeone-DiFrancesco, C., Roediger, E., Stevens, B. (2015). Healing Relationships: Schema Therapy for Couples, Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Readings for key schema therapy research

    Dickhaut, V. & Arntz, A. (2014). Combined Group and Individual Schema Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: a Pilot Study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 45, 242-251.

    Josephine Giesen-Bloo, MSc; Richard van Dyck, MD, PhD; Philip Spinhoven PhD; Willem van Tilburg MD, PhD; Carmen Dirksen, PhD; Thea van Asselt, Msc; Ismay Kremers, PhD; Marjon Nadort, MSc; and Arnoud Arntz, PhD. (2006):  Outpatient Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder: a randomized trial of Schema focused therapy versus Transference focused therapy. Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 6, pp. 649-658.  

    Wetzelaer, P., Farrell, J., Evers, S.M.M.A., Jacob, G., Lee, C.W., Brand, O., van Breukelen, G., Fassbinder, E., Fretwell, H., Harper, R.P., Lavender, A., Lockwood, G., Malogiannis, I.A., Schweiger, U., Startup, H., Stevenson, T., Zarbock, G., &  Arntz, A. (2014). Design of an international multicentre RCT on group schema therapy for borderline personality disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 14:319. DOI: 10.1186/s12888-014-0319-3

More Content Uploaded Shortly...

Preconference Workshops
Poster Presentations & Welcome Reception
Morning AcroYoga Activity
Keynote Sessions
Morning and Afternoon Selections

Closing Ceremony
Banquet @ the Marina
INSPIRE 2016 App for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices
Ambassadors of INSPIRE 2016
Young Research Award for INSPIRE 2016: Robert Brockman

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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