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Approved by the Executive Board in October 2021 and effective immediately

1.    Entitlements of ISST certified schema therapy supervisors and trainers

1.1.    An ISST Certified Supervisor is entitled to:

  • provide supervision in schema therapy to trainees preparing to apply for ISST certification as well as to other certified schema therapists. This ISST certified supervision counts towards the supervision hours that trainees need in order to apply for certification as a schema therapist. It also counts towards ISST Continuing Education Credits.

FULLY Supervisors can OBSERVE AND OR COACH DYADIC EXERCISES in training SESSIONS under the direction and responsibility of training program director. They can be counted in the 1/20 ratio allowing more participants

1.2.    An ISST Certified Trainer, in addition to providing ISST certified supervision (as above), can contribute to, an existing approved ISST Certified training course or Training Program under the direction and responsibility of that program’s director and to apply for approval of a certification training program of their own

2.    Application requirements for ISST certification as a supervisor.

2.1.    Applicants for certification as a Schema Therapy Supervisor must provide documented evidence of all of the following:

  • having engaged in at least 2 years of Schema Therapy clinical work after the date of achieving Advanced Certification.
  • having provided schema therapy to at least four clients for six months or more duration (at least 20 sessions each); of these, two must have a diagnosis of a personality disorder (or severe personality disorder traits).  Adaptation of this requirement for Schema Therapy for Children and Adolescents, Schema Therapy for Couples, and Group Schema Therapy will be determined by the respective Training and Certification Committees and published in due course.
  • having completed the ISST 12-hour Supervisor Skills Development (SSD) workshop webinars. You are eligible to take the workshop once you will have two years post advanced accreditation by the END of the workshop
  • Post completing the SSD the Supervisor candidate is able to begin certification supervision for a maximum of TWO supervisees. During this time the Supervisor Candidate is required to:

a) Have regular supervision of their supervision by a certified supervisor – trainer, for every 2-3 supervision sessions provided. This needs to total a minimum of SIX HOURS of supervised practice.

b) Use the STSVRS to discuss supervision experience - Download the form here.


d) It is recommended that supervisors are to use this supervisor evaluation form to assist in the delivery of supervision and evaluate its effectiveness. Download the form here.

2.2.    Applicants for certification as a Schema Therapy Trainer must include documented evidence of all of the following:

  • Having spent at least one year engaged with schema therapy clinical work and supervision work from the date of achieving Certification as a Supervisor.
  • having provided Schema Therapy treatment, during this one year period, to at least 2 patients of 6 months or more duration (at least 20 sessions each), of whom both must have a diagnosis of a personality disorder (or severe personality disorder traits).  Adaptation of this requirement for Schema Therapy for Children and Adolescents, Schema Therapy for Couples, and Group Schema Therapy will be determined by the respective Training and Certification Committees and published in due course.
  • having provided at least ten hours of supervision each to at least two candidates who are preparing to apply for ISST Certification at Standard or Advanced level. The data will be included in the application form under client’s details, with the mention that the client was a supervisee.
  • having served as a co-trainer in an ISST Approved training program for at least twelve hours. This includes presenting didactic material as well as supervising experiential exercises. Confirmation of this must be given in a letter of recommendation from the ISST Certified Trainer who led the program.

3.    Notes. 

3.1.    All the requirements and conditions set out must be from activities of the applicatant in the same certification category as that in which s/he is certified and is applying for the higher level of certification (i. e. Schema Therapy for Children and Adolescents, or Schema Therapy for Couples, or Group Schema Therapy).

3.2.    All exceptions for present rules regarding year of starting the training or date of receiving Advanced certificate will end on 31st December 2021.

Continuing Education in Schema Therapy 

12 hours of continuing education (CPD) activity - i.e., ST workshops, added supervision, presentation in ISST special interest group - are required for all ISST Trainer-Supervisors every 2 years (6 hours per year; Please refer to Continuing Education Policy).

CPD Reporting

The CPD requirement will be reported and documented with the following:

  • certificates of attendance for workshops
  • signed letter from supervisor for supervision hours
  • signed letter of the chair of the Special Interest groups for presentation in the special interest groups (not more than 3 hours out of 6)


    Independent Tape Raters for ISST certification

    Tape raters must be certified at the Advanced level and have met the Trainer/Supervisor education requirement. Tape raters for certification must be independent. "Independent" has been defined by the ISST Executive Board as:  an ISST certified Supervisor/trainer who is not the director of the applicants training program, a supervisor or a participant in their training – didactic or role-play portions. We realize that there will be situations where this definition cannot be met completely – for example, a country with only one training program or very limited number of certified supervisor/trainers, forensic settings with limitations regarding taping or the removal of tapes from the institution. In those situations, please write to the ISST training and certification coordinators to request an exemption. We took this position to remove the possibility of naturally occurring bias when the trainer and independent rater roles overlap.  We are also in the process of having the STCRS validated empirically and establishing an inter-rater reliability standard for independent raters to meet.

    Please note that for Advanced level certification 2 different independent raters must be used - one for each tape. In addition two different patients must be used. The full rating form with the summary sheet and case conceptualization must be sent in when applicants apply to ISST for certification. Tape raters can get access to the Schema Therapy Competency Rating Scale (STCRS) here.    

    Fast Tracking

    To be considered for fast tracking in certification please find the policy here: 

    Application for fast tracking to become an ISST certified supervisor

    *Supervision can start after the first session of the Supervisor Skills Webinar.

    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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