Log in

"Schema Couples Therapy: Using Modes to Heal Schemas"

by Travis Atkinson & Poul Perris

How do you use the schema therapy model to work effectively with your couples? In this one-day workshop, Travis Atkinson and Poul Perris will be exploring ways to help therapists apply the schema therapy model to help distressed, unstable couple dynamics shift into satisfying, secure connections that endure.

While many couple therapy models offer solutions to help couples, only a few have shown promising, enduring results. Especially for couples who do not improve with traditional couples therapy, how can a couple therapist help partners shift from intense, negative patterns of relating that do not respond well to standard treatments?

Schema therapy, designed as an antidote for deeply engrained personality disorders resistant to standard therapy, provides answers through an expansive approach that targets chronic, negative beliefs and maladaptive coping modes that often reinforce the worst aspects of each belief.

Aims of the Workshop 

1. Identify core destructive cycles in couple dynamics, linking past and present associations with each partner's modes and schemas. Set therapeutic goals as antidotes based on schemas and mode cycles

2. Effectively restructure negative cycles of a couple to address schemas and create new beliefs reinforced through new patterns of emotional connection

3. Solidify safety and security through continued reinforcement of the healthy cycle in a couple to heal injuries and schemas


Join us during this skill and intervention-focused workshop that starts with a brief introduction of how the schema therapy model uses mode work in love relationships to improve outcomes for even the most challenging dynamics within a couple.

Assessment: examining the essentials of schemas, modes, chemistry, mode cycle concept, and mode cycle clash cards;

Interventions: core therapeutic skills in couples work, including rescripting imagery, mode cycle clash cards, schema dialogues, and chairwork

Consolidation: key skills and interventions in the final phase with the couple, including a value road map, dreams of the couple, and how to solidify a secure connection

Each section includes clear illustrations, relevant video demonstrations of real couples, and practical role-plays to help you apply the interventions effectively with your couples. 

Learning Objectives

1. Assess schemas and modes of each partner and the love relationship

2. Apply effective interventions to de-escalate maladaptive mode cycles and to create and reinforce adaptive schemas and modes

3. Consolidate new modes of interaction within the couple, and solidify adaptive schemas in relation to the self, the love relationship, and the world

The workshop is intended for: Beginners through advanced level

Certification Credit: this workshop provides 6 hours of the Couples ST certification program of the Schema Therapy Training Center of New York for those who qualify or 6 hours of Continuing education credits in ST, which are required for all Certified Schema Therapists.

Suggested Readings

Arntz, A. & Jacob, G. (2012). Schema Therapy in Practice: An Introductory Guide to the Schema Mode Approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Atkinson, T. (2012). Schema Therapy for Couples: Healing Partners in a Relationship in Vreeswijk v.M., Nadort M, Broersen J, (eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Schema Therapy. New York: Wiley, p. 323-336.

DiFrancesco C, Roediger E, Stevens B (2016). Schema Therapy for Couples: a practitioner's guide to healing relationships. New York: Wiley.

About the Workshop Facilitators

    Travis Atkinson is the director of the Schema Therapy Training Center of New York. He helped establish the Schema Therapy Institute of New York, and worked as a staff member of the Cognitive Therapy Center of New York with Jeff Young. Travis is a certified advanced individual and couples schema therapist, supervisor, and trainer. He completed his certification as a Gottman Method Couples Therapist at the Gottman Institute in Seattle in 2006, and received his certification as an emotionally focused couples therapist and supervisor in 2010.

    Since 2014, Travis has served as Public Affairs Coordinator for the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST), and chairs the Schema Couples Therapy Workgroup and Committee. Travis has trained therapists internationally for more than 15 years, and is the author of “Healing Partners in a Relationship” in the Handbook of Schema Therapy (Wiley: 2012).  

    Poul Perris, MD, is the director for the Swedish Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Schema Therapy. He is trained in both individual and couples therapy. Poul is a certified advanced individual and couples schema therapist, supervisor, and trainer.

    Poul is the Founding President of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST), and served on the ISST Executive Board from 2008 to 2010. He also served as President of the Swedish Association for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (SACBT), from 2010 to 2016. Poul has trained therapists nationally and internationally for over 10 years and is the co-author of "Schematerapi ­en klinikers handbok & terapiberättelse," (currently only available in Swedish).

    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.

    "Be the Change You Help Create"

    Whether you are a clinician, researcher, educator, or a supporter, we have a place for you in our community. Visit our "Join us" page to find out more about the many benefits ISST offers, and to apply for membership now.
    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software