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Wise Counsel Interview Transcript: An Interview with Jeffrey Young Ph.D. on Schema Therapy

David Van Nuys, Ph.D.
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David Van Nuys: Welcome to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC covering topics on mental health, wellness and psycho therapy. My name is Dr. David Van Nuys, I'm a clinical psychologist and your host. On today's show we'll be talking about Schema Therapy with Dr. Jeffrey Young.

Dr. Jeffrey Young is Founder and Director of the Cognitive Therapy Centers of New York and Connecticut, and the Schema Therapy Institute. He is also on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He received his undergraduate training at Yale University and his graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Aaron Beck, and went on to serve there as Director of Research and Training.

Dr. Young has lectured on cognitive and schema therapies internationally for the past 24 years. He has trained thousands of mental health professionals, and is widely acclaimed for his outstanding teaching skills.

He is the founder of Schema Therapy, an integrative approach for personality disorders and treatment-resistant patients. He is published widely in the fields of both cognitive and schema therapies, including two major books: "Schema Therapy: A Practitioner's Guide," written for mental health professionals, and "Reinventing Your Life," a popular self-help book based on schema therapy.

So, now let's get into the interview.

Dr. Jeffrey Young welcome to The Wise Counsel Podcast.

Jeffrey Young: Thank you.

David: You're founder and director of the Schema Therapy Centers in New York. What is schema therapy?

Jeffrey: A schema therapy is a therapy that's an extension of cognitive therapy, and I started to developing it in the let's say mid 80's, mid 1980's, and it's a therapy designed to work with long standing lifelong problems using a more active and directive, structured approach.

So in my way looking at it, it's a sort of combined benefits of many other approaches.

So it has the kind of active structured nature of cognitive therapy, but it goes much deeper than cognitive therapy usually does and in the same way that you might, for example, in psychoanalysis, dealing with early childhood problems and early scenes that developed when you were very young in life.

So it's kind of has both depth to it because it's designed to work with these deep rooted problems, but it also does it in very practical and active way.

David: That's pretty interesting because, in a way, the psycho therapy world was split in half for a long time with the psycho dynamic camp on one side, and the behavioral camp on the other side. So it sounds like you made an attempt here to really integrate the two.

Jeffrey: Yes, although originally it wasn't my conscious attention to do that, but what I was trying to do originally was... I was originally trained by Aaron Beck, the developer of cognitive therapy as one of his first students.

So I was doing cognitive therapy with the patients at his clinic in research study, and it was extremely effective when you have a research study when you have people who are depressed, but they've screened-out because they didn't have other problems, like personality disorders.

But then when I went into private practice, I started discovering, when you don't have a well-screened research study. You have patients with much more complex problems. That we were getting in our research project. I realized that for the patients who had lifelong problems, I had to add something to cognitive therapy in order for it to be effective with these lifelong kinds of problems. So I started looking other places to get ideas for things that I might want to add in that would deepen the therapy and allow me to work with them.

I found that there were many psychodynamic concepts that were helpful. Also, there were many aspects of gestalt therapy that were helpful and attachment theory. I drew from those different elements to try to create an integrated therapy that would have the advantages of all of those.

While it was never a conscious attempt to bridge the gap, I think that's how people now see it; as a therapy. If an analyst hears you and the analyst will say, "Well, there's lots in here that's similar to what I do, but there's a lot that's different." And that's just was a cognitive therapist would say.

So therapists, from both approaches, can be comfortable with it because there are elements of both approaches in the model.

David: OK. Now, my guess is that most of our listeners will not be therapists. So we might need to back up and simplify some of these terms. So for example, maybe you could briefly characterize what we mean when we say psychodynamic versus what we mean when we say cognitive behavioral versus gestalt therapy.

Jeffrey: Sure. I'll describe a little bit about each one of them.

David: Great.

Jeffrey: Basically, the earliest therapy, of course, was Freudian therapy. Freud's approach came to be called psychoanalysis or, as it's sometimes called more recently, psychodynamic psychotherapy, which is like psychoanalysis except that in the original psychoanalysis as Freud did it, the patient would lie on a sofa and come in with his back to the therapist and would come in four times a week and get psychotherapy.

The way psychoanalysis is currently practiced, which is called psychodynamic therapy, many of the same principals from Freud are still part of psychoanalysis, but now the therapist will face the patient, instead of with their back to the therapist. They are able to look at each other, face-to-face and they only come in once a week or twice a week.

So, in that sense, it's deviated from the way it originally started with Freudian therapy. But in every day language, I'd say what psychoanalysis is, whether the original or the newer versions of it, is trying to look at people's childhood experiences and trying to get patients to have insight into their childhood, with the hope that the insight alone, for the most part, will be enough to cure their current problems.

They also believe that the therapy relationship is one in which the therapist can show the patient how they're kind of acting out the same problems they had with their parents are now being played out with the therapist. And if the therapist can point out how they do that, and give them insight into how they're replaying their childhood in the therapy, then the patient will again, gain insight into it and the insight alone will be enough for them to get better. That's psychodynamic therapy.

The reason that cognitive therapy developed was because one of the main people was Aaron Beck, who developed cognitive therapy, and he had been trained as an analyst. He felt that the psychoanalytic approach, first of all, insight probably is not enough to, for example, get someone out of a depression. He felt that they needed to do more than that. Also perhaps, that psychoanalysis was too convoluted. It had very complex explanation to things that were actually much simpler. For example, psychoanalysts believe that depression is anger turned inward, if your anger turned against itself.

David: Yes.

Jeffrey: But when Beck actually studied depression, he found that anger was simply having a negative view of one's self, a negative view of the world, a negative view of the future. Most of the time, it wasn't actually anger at other people turned toward one's self; it was simply a negative view of pretty much everything.

David: Depression is, yes.

Jeffrey: So...what's that?

David: You're describing depression. That was his view of depression, that it was a negative outlook...

Jeffrey: Right. He set an example, though, of an area where he thought the Freudian way of approaching it and understanding it just was not right. He developed cognitive therapy, which simply said, "Let's look at what the patient's thinking when they're in particular situations, " and look at the way in which depressed people, for example, distort or misinterpret what's happening in their life.

So if a depressed person, for example, is looking at maybe...say someone walks by them and doesn't say hello. Instead of being able to say, "Well, maybe the person didn't notice me, " the depressed person says, "Oh, they hate me. I'm a terrible person. No wonder they didn't talk to me." The depressed person interprets events in a very negative way.

Beck's idea was to look at how patients are interpreting events in a way that is negative, and to help them see a more realistic, and objectively accurate way of looking at what was happening. By doing this in one situation after another and teaching the patient how to correct their own negative thinking, the patient would gradually be able to come out of the depression.

But, it was very different, and so it was very active and very focused on what's happening right now. You take a situation in the patient's current life, see how they're examining it, try to help the patient see, "Is it realistic or not?", and then give them suggestions of ways to change how they're viewing it. Unlike psychoanalysis, where again, it could take years to try get someone to gain insight into the childhood origins of their depression.

David: Well, what was the good part of psychoanalysis that you brought in? Because you do say that you utilize some elements of...

Jeffrey: Yes. Well, I think that the mistake in psychoanalysis is to believe that looking at the childhood origins of the patient's problem was enough to get somebody better. The basic idea in psychoanalysis is that insight is the solution to psychological problems, and what I feel is that it is, in fact, very helpful for people with long-term problems to know the origins. It is very helpful to work on their problems when they come up in the therapy relationship, but that that isn't enough.

I think what I took from it was...well, there were several things, but what I took from it was the idea that it was important to look at a child who was... Which cognitive therapy, because it was sort of a rebellion against psychoanalysis, rejected the idea that there was any real value in looking at childhood or looking at where a person's problems came from. It just looked at the present -- that would be enough.

I came to find that with these patients with lifelong problems, it was extremely helpful for them to look at where their problems came from, to understand why do they keep getting, for example, in these self-defeating patterns? Why do they keep picking selfish partners? Why is their anger out of control and they can't seem to understand it? Why am I acting this way? Having insight into "why" was very helpful, but it wasn't enough; but it is very valuable. That's just one example.

David: OK. That makes a lot of sense to me, so that you do like to explore the history, and where the problems originate, and how they developed, but the behavior therapy as a second, practical, concrete step to move toward change. You also imported some thesis from gestalt therapy, so maybe you could say a little bit about that.

Jeffrey: Sure. Gestalt therapy was developed by Fritz Perls. Gestalt therapy is quite very different from both cognitive and psychodynamic therapy in that, without going into the theory behind it, much of the therapy involves doing exercises, like imagery exercises or dialogues between two parts of the self when you move back and forth between two chairs. But they're exercises designed to stir up emotions and get the patient in touch with emotions that they blocked out.

This whole idea of using imagery, of doing things that bypass conscious thinking. The idea here is that just talking rationally and logically about something won't change it as well as getting the person to emotionally feel whatever it is that's bothering them. The idea of gestalt therapy is if you can fully understand and get in touch with your feelings, you will then get better.

Again, it had the same problem as the other two therapies, which is that alone, I found wasn't enough, but it was extremely useful for patients to be able to learn, to practice things like imagery... I'll have them close their eyes and picture themselves, for example, as a child with their parents in which they're having something upsetting, some upsetting memory from their childhood. In doing so, that stirs up the feeling of, whether it's inadequacy, anger, shame, guilt, and in a way that talking about it never can do.

So, I found that the use of these gestalt techniques, such as imagery, was really invaluable, but again, no one of these approaches was enough by itself. That's why I felt that integrating, in a sense, the imagery and other emotion-focus techniques in Gestalt therapy; looking at childhood and therapy relationships in psychoanalysis; combined with focusing on practical solutions to present problems that we do in cognitive behavior therapy; but putting them all together came up with a very powerful approach.

David: Yeah, very good. I think most therapists these days are...certainly, a great many describe themselves as eclectic...

Jeffrey: Yeah.

David: ...and drawn from different therapeutic currents, but you've kind of systematized this and given it the structure and coherence that, from what I read on your website, really makes a lot of sense.

Jeffrey: Yeah, I think that that is a difference between eclectic therapy and schema therapy, is that in eclectic therapy, the therapist is open to trying many different approaches, but they don't actually integrate them, meaning they don't have a model in how to blend the different approaches together in a systematic way. So, for example, they might start with cognitive therapy, and if that doesn't work, they simply switch to gestalt therapy. If that doesn't work, they'll switch to psychodynamic approaches.

But there's no conceptual model, no theory, that unifies the different parts of the therapy; whereas in schema therapy, we have a whole model based on the ideas of schemas, that draws together the different elements of these other therapies. It's not just a hit or miss, trial and error thing, but more you have a systematic rationale for why you first use this technique, and then you blend it with this technique, but in a much more systematic way.

David: Yes, I was impressed by that as I went through your site. Although, the name "schema" sounds a little technical. It communicates to me as a psychologist to the average person out there who's looking for some therapy, I'm not sure what that would communicate to them. [laughs] You have any sense of that?

Jeffrey: That's the same problem as cognitive. Until people learned what it was, no one knew what the word "cognitive" was, originally, when we were doing cognitive therapy.

David: No.

Jeffrey: "What's cognitive mean?" So it's a similar thing. But schema, in the way I present it in the self-help book, "Reinventing Your Life, " which had Klosko, we actually call them life traps.

David: Yeah.

Jeffrey: Which is more understandable for someone who's not a therapist, so maybe I'll explain it more that way, because I think it's easier to grasp it that way.

David: Yeah, great. That was the very next thing on my list here, because I noticed, on your website, which is full of very rich material... And I'll give people that web address before we're done.

Jeffrey: Sure.

David: So yeah. Go ahead, tell us about the life traps.

Jeffrey: Yeah. What I was going to say is that a life trap, or a schema, which ever word you prefer to use, it's basically a life theme or a life pattern. And we've tried to find out what are the most common life themes, life patterns, that people have in their lives that tend to repeat themselves from childhood on, and that keep getting us in trouble. And then we've given names to these individual life traps.

So, for example, we have one called abandonment, abandonment life trap, or the abandonment schema. And this is the feeling, the sense, that you have that whoever you're with or whoever you're close to is going to leave you at any time. So it's this sort of anxiety all the time that, let's say if you're in a relationship, your partner's going to find someone else and leave you.

David: Sure.

Jeffrey: Or that they're going to die and leave you. But you always worry, all the time, that whoever you're with is going to somehow abandon you.

David: Sure.

Jeffrey: And usually it starts out because one of the parents abandoned the child. Perhaps there was a divorce, and the parent just left the home and never had any contact anymore. In some instances, you have parents who would leave the child for like hours at a time in their crib at a very young age and would never come when the child would cry.

These early life experiences of having people either not there or they're there, but they may just disappear, it's scary to a child. And they develop this pattern, which we call abandonment, which makes them sensitive throughout their life to this whole theme of people abandoning them. Even when people aren't abandoning them, they feel as if people are.

David: OK.

Jeffrey: So someone with an abandonment schema, for example, if anything that their partner does that might suggest that maybe they have somebody else in their lives...

Let's say, for example, that a husband finds his wife is on the phone talking to another man. Rather than asking who the man is, he just assumes that the man is some threat to him and that the wife's going to leave him for this man on the phone, rather than asking and finding out that the guy on the phone might be her boss, or it could be a friend, or someone that's not a threat at all to him. But when you have abandonment, you're oversensitive to it and you read it into situations where it doesn't really exist.

David: Definitely. So what are some of the other dysfunctional patterns that you refer to as life traps?

Jeffrey: Sure. Well, we have 18 of them that, again, it's taken us 20 years to define these 18.

David: Wow.

Jeffrey: We think these probably capture most all of the main life themes that people have that start early in life.

David: Wow.

Jeffrey: Although, in the book, "Reinventing Your Life, " we only have 11 of them, because basically, they didn't want the book to be that long, so we picked the 11 most common ones. But some of the other common ones--I'll just name a few--are, for example, defectiveness, which is the feeling that you're basically unlovable or something, that if people really got to know you, they would reject you or would never stay with you.

Another one, called mistrust abuse, which is a sense of not trusting people, that people are going to try to hurt you, they're going to try to humiliate you or put you down or cheat you or take advantage of you. That would be a mistrust schema.

One called, unrelenting standards, which is the sense that you have to do almost everything almost perfectly. So, it's a kind of perfectionism. For someone with this life pattern, they're constantly under pressure to do almost everything almost perfectly. So, it's very hard for them to relax and enjoy life because they're always trying to do everything perfectly and it strains them.

Those are a few of them. We have many more, but those were some of the common ones.

David: You know, these patterns, the way you describe them, they're instantly recognizable. I mean, I think we would all... I certainly can think of... See elements in myself or people that I know, or have known, that fit the patterns you're describing. And the terminology feels a lot less blaming than the diagnostic and statistical manual, the way it describes disorders. I like your approach better [laughs].

Jeffrey: I appreciate that. We actually... A lot of them will say that when therapists will say, "Well, why use this list of themes?" I say, "Well, one difference is, it's a lot... that a client feels much better being told that they have an abandonment issue, which is they're sensitive to being abandoned than they do being labeled 'hysteric' or 'borderline personality disorder.' It fits betters with what people actually feel and it doesn't have that sort of pejorative label that these other diagnoses have.

David: Yeah, exactly.

Jeffrey: And most patients, even when they just read the list with a one-sentence definition, can even... Most people, not just patients, but people in general, when they read the list, they can usually see at least four or five of them that easily apply to them. So it's not even hard for someone... It's not like you have to go through months of work to help someone recognize these themes. They're immediately understandable to most people.

It also is a good way of teaching people about lifelong issues, because the concepts are easy to grasp.

David: I was interested to see that forgiveness is an important step in the process, and I've been reading about forgiveness recently and I know there's been some very interesting research on the power of forgiveness. Can you comment on that?

Jeffrey: Actually, we added this on as one of the later parts of the therapy - adding forgiveness. Because, what we were finding was that an important part of therapy, as I mentioned, was looking at origins. Many, many clients - not just clients, I'll use clients, but I think it's true of most people in general, but when you start looking at where you developed lifelong problems, very often they do go back to things in your childhood, related to your parents.

We were finding that a lot of patients were, as they came to understand the things their parents did that were wrong, and how those hurt them, they would start to be angry at the parents or resentful towards them for having made these mistakes when they were young.

We realized that while that was an important step in the therapy, to recognize that "it's not my fault" or for a client to realize it's not their fault that they keep, for example, putting themselves down all the time; but in fact, that's what their parent did. They are simply doing to themselves what was done to them early in life.

But once they get better and they learn how to stop doing that to themselves, then we feel it's important for them to be able to forgive the parent. Because of course, the parent, in most cases, didn't intentionally hurt the child. They did the best they could, they just weren't perfect parents.

We've decided that forgiveness was very important or else our patients, by the end of therapy, were leaving feeling better in terms of their life problems had been solved, or pretty much solved, but they left angry with their parents and going around with a lot of resentment and anger about what had happened in their past. We realized that really wasn't healthy either. We started working on helping clients at the end of therapy to begin to sort of look at the client's... the parents' own life traps. So it's not just the patient has his own life traps, but so does the parent.

If you could understand that the parent has their own life issues and their own life patterns, and that's why they did things they did, you can be more sympathetic and understanding, and forgive them for the things they did, instead of resenting them and continuing to be angry at them.

David: Right. What about self-forgiveness? Isn't that an important dimension as well?

Jeffrey: Yeah. Although when we put it in the book, we're referring really to forgiving other people. But, yes, forgiveness is central to many of these life traps. Because many of them do involve blaming one's self, being critical of one's self, perfectiveness, unrelenting standards... Many of these punitiveness... Many of these involve various ways in which we're hard on ourselves, blame ourselves, and are not forgiving.

We've learned that to teach people to be forgiving of themselves when they make mistakes, instead of beating up on themselves all the time, for people who have that life trap, it's a very important step.

David: OK. So, who needs schema therapy? What kinds of cases is it best suited for?

Jeffrey: Well, now are we're talking from the perspective of the therapist or of a... Because many people who aren't even patients, for example... We have an amazing network of people who read "Reinvent Your Life," and say that they weren't a client, they didn't have serious mental health problems like depression or things... And yet, they found they could benefit a lot from schema therapy, or the ideas of schema therapy.

So, I think that if you ask me the honest truth, I think the majority of people probably would actually benefit from some schema work, in which they came to understand what their lifelong patterns were; how they keep playing themselves out, and learning how to control them and how to heal these schemas.

So I think that it's appropriate for most people, but now if you ask more from the therapy point of view, from a therapist, who is the patient who comes into therapy who you'd most want to think of as being appropriate for schema therapy? I would basically say any client who comes in where their problem dates back to earlier in their life. Anyone who's had psychological issues or problems since they were teenagers or children. Even if the problems might not have shown themselves until they were older than that. If the origin of the problem starts relatively early in life, then schema therapy is likely to be helpful.

In particular, this is true of relationship problems; people who keep getting in - repeating negative patterns over and over again in the same kinds of relationships. For partners who can't be intimate - people who can't be intimate in relationships, or people who have anger problems, or people who can't trust other people, or people who keep putting themselves down in relationships. So I think anyone who has consistent problems across relationships is usually a good candidate for schema therapy.

David: You mentioned people with problems in relationships and that makes me wonder if you have any, sort of an approach for working with couples.

Jeffrey: That's also one of our newer aspects of the therapy is actually developing... We developed a model for using schema therapy in couples, which involves trying to look at which life traps each partner in a couple has, and helping the couple to see how their schemas clash with each other.

David: Yes.

Jeffrey: So, as we might say... We might have one partner with mistrust schema and one partner with, lets say, deprivation schema. Then, what happens is each one triggers the other when they interact with each other. We'll look at problems or conflict the couples have and try to show the couple how, it's because of their schemas clashing that they keep having this conflict over and over again.

So that's been one of the most exciting parts of schema therapy recently, has been extending it to work with couples.

David: OK. Yeah, that does sound like a very fruitful direction to be moving in. Do you have any sense...

Jeffrey: That's another thing... Just one more thing about that, too, is we've been interested in this concept called, Schema Chemistry, which is the idea that people are drawn to partners who trigger their core schemas. And this has been extremely valuable, both in working with couples and individuals when we talk about relationships. Realizing that people with these schemas are often drawn to just the kinds of partners who are most likely to trigger the schemas and that explains why so many people, I think, get into relationships with very high chemistry. But unfortunately, they end up being unhealthy relationships.

David: Yes. [laughs] Do you have a sense of the typical length of treatment?

Jeffrey: Well, it would vary a lot, depending on, basically, how severe the problem is. If you have somebody who, lets take the very easy patient, would be somebody who has relatively high function; may have a job, they have a good relationship - in an intimate relationship. They function reasonably well in the world, but they have some problems.

So for example, let's say they have marital conflict where they have arguments all the time, but they don't hit each other or verbally abuse each other, and with someone like that, the therapy... Let's say you have a couple that you're seeing, you know, couples therapy, and both of them are kind of like that... Relatively high-functioning in their lives, but they have particular areas where they have conflicts. That might last maybe 20 sessions or 25 sessions to help a couple like that.

But then we take the other extreme, which would be patients with what's called 'borderline personality disorder.' These are people who cut themselves, they're chronically suicidal, they're often hospitalized for suicide attempts. These patients could take three years in therapy. So, there's an extremely wide range, from relatively easy patients who would just be a few months, to ones who could be a few years. If you ask me on the average, I'd say 9-12 months. But again, there's so much variation that it's misleading a little bit.

David: OK. Now, where do you see schema therapy going? You mentioned that one of the new directions was marital therapy. As you look down the road, do you see this expanding or going in other directions in the future?

Jeffrey: Well, basically, we keep trying to work with disorders that people haven't been that successful treating. So, often we deal with very difficult clients. What I'm always doing, basically, is looking for various disorders, or types of clients where there are not effective therapies that exist right now.

That's why we've been working with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and very recently, in addition to couples, we're very interested in psychopathic patients; people in criminal settings. Because there really are almost no effective treatments for people who are, let's say, rapists, serial killers; people who are really quite extreme, but there really are not good treatments for them.

Yet, we think that schema therapy, because it does look at early life problems, which most of these people have very severe early problems; we think it might be very promising with them. So we're developing treatment programs and research studies with these types of patients.

David: OK. And I gather that you're pretty active in training other therapists in this approach? Is that right?

Jeffrey: Yes. Well, as it's begun to catch on in different countries all over the world now, we're setting up different training programs in different countries actually. We have one in New York that we've just begun. This is the first year of our international training program here in New York. There is one that's starting in Michigan, we're going to be starting in Michigan.

We also have ones... We just started an International Schema Therapy Society, which is for therapists in different countries who are interested in schema therapy. So, there will be training program... There's already one in Holland. We're going to be starting one up in England and Sweden and Norway... Germany, Australia... So, there's a... It's quite exciting right now because it is again, only in the past few years that it's really begun to have really wide-spread interest like this.

David: That's great. How about here in the US?

Jeffrey: What's that?

David: How about here in the US?

Jeffrey: Well, here in the US, it's actually, I would say again, it's slower to catch on here than in other countries partly because of our insurance plans. Because we deal... You know, although I said to you that there are some cases that we can treat a few months, the average patient, as I said, is 9-12 months. The trouble is that most insurance plans won't cover patients for longer-term therapy, which when you're dealing with difficult clients or patients with personality disorders, it takes nine months or a year to treat them. So, a lot of therapists in the US have said, "Well, this is very interesting, but the clients can't afford to pay for it." So, there is a problem in that there is no real short-term, brief treatment for lifelong problems.

I think the reason the level of interest has been perhaps less here, than in other countries, proportionate to the number of people, is simply because other countries have national health systems where the government will pay for the people to get a year of therapy. Whereas, that doesn't happen here in our country. That's one of the many problems with our mental health insurance system. This is another example of how it lets down people with actually, the most serious problems.

David: Right. I'm totally in agreement on that. One other thing I noticed on the website was that you also combine it with mindfulness meditation for those seeking a spiritual approach. How did that come about?

Jeffrey: Well, it came about because two friends of mine, who are both actually... Who have both written books and they were both interested in meditation. One is Dan Goleman, who wrote "Emotional Intelligence," a more recent book in social intelligence.

David: Oh, sure.

Jeffrey: And then also, his wife, Tara Bennett-Goleman, who wrote a book called "Emotional Alchemy." Her book, "Emotional Alchemy," is a blending of schema therapy with meditation. The two of them were really the first ones who got interested, to the best of my knowledge, in integrating schema therapy, because they, themselves had been deeply involved in Buddhist meditation. So, they blended many of the techniques from Buddhist mindfulness meditation with schema therapy techniques. They've been the most active ones in doing the therapy, and as I said, Tara actually wrote the book, it's a paperback and widely available called, Emotional Alchemy."

David: That sounds very interesting. Some of our listeners might want to check that out. Well, let me close things off here with a bit of a whimsical question, which is, if you had not become a therapist, what other career would have drawn you in?

Jeffrey: [laughs] That's an interesting question. Well, interestingly enough, the other field I was actually interested in, well, it was actually theater and movie directing.

David: Interesting.

Jeffrey: I love theater and I love movies. I'm actually still very interested in theater and movies, but earlier in my life, I had actually thought about it, because, in a way, being a director uses many of the same talents. It's working with people, trying to help get into their characters and understand the inner workings of the character that you're portraying or the story that you're telling.

So I was very, very interested in that. And I think if I could have been more certain I'd make a predictable income, I might've done that instead. Who knows?

David: Right, right. Well, how can a listener find a schema therapist in their local area?

Jeffrey: Well, the best way would be to send an email--email's probably the easiest way--or call our center here in New York. If they send an email to We're going to give them the website anyway, so maybe I'll spell "schema therapy."

David: Sure.

Jeffrey: Because that way, they can do both the email or the website. It's So they could either go to, our website, or send an email to, and we'd be happy to give them whatever referrals we have that are closest to them.

David: That sounds wonderful! Dr. Jeffrey Young, I want to thank you so much for being my guest today on Wise Counsel.

Jeffrey: Well, thank you very much for having me as a guest. I've really enjoyed it. Thank you, David.

David: I hope you enjoyed this interview with my guest, Dr. Jeffrey Young. Schema therapy strikes me as a particularly sensible integration of some time-tested approaches.

If you are interested in additional information about schema therapy, I would recommend you explore Dr. Young's site at Here, you'll find not only numerous articles and links to other sites, but also a variety of inventories and slide shows. One of the slide shows lists all 18 of the schemas, or life traps, which he alluded to in our conversation. I think his self-help book, "Reinventing Your Life, " might be a particularly good next step for the interested listener.

You've been listening to Wise Counsel, a podcast interview series sponsored by CenterSite, LLC. If you've found today's show interesting, we encourage you to visit sponsored by CenterSite, LLC, where you can add a comment or a question to this show's web page, view other shows in the series, or simply page through the site, which is full of interesting mental health and wellness content. Access the show's page and show archive information via the podcast box on the sponsored by CenterSite, LLC home page.

If you like Wise Counsel, you might also like Shrink Rap Radio, my other interview podcast series, which is available online at Until next time, this is Dr. David Van Nuys, and you've been listening to Wise Counsel.