Schema Therapy for relationship difficulties: An attachment-informed approach ONLINE WORKSHOP

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Schema Therapy for relationship difficulties: An attachment-informed approach ONLINE WORKSHOP

14 May 2021


Schema Therapy for relationship difficulties: An attachment-informed approach.

Dr Rita Younan & Associate Professor Gery Karantzas

A common and pervasive issue for clients in schema therapy is difficulties in developing and maintaining close relationships. The schema therapy model places emphasis on addressing the role of early life experiences in the development and maintenance of schemas. However, there are many schema therapists who experience significant treatment resistance from clients for whom relationship problems are a core concern. For some, relationship issues centre around chronic issues of abandonment, for others it’s about a fear of commitment or emotional intimacy, and then others experience recurring difficulties initiating relationships.


A way forward to enhance therapists’ knowledge and capabilities to better support people experiencing these and many other relationship issues is through drawing on attachment theory – one of the most influential and widely researched theories in the field of relationships. Moreover, attachment theory is regarded as a foundational theoretical framework that underpins various aspects of the Schema Therapy Model. These aspects include (but are not limited to): core emotional needs, the role of early life experiences with caregivers in shaping schemas, and coping responses. Despite this, very little theoretical, empirical or clinical work has drawn on attachment theory to explicitly guide schema therapists when working with individuals who struggle developing meaningful, positive, and lasting connections with romantic partners, friends, and alike. Therefore, the integration of attachment theory can indeed enhance the power of schema therapy in addressing a many number of pervasive relationship issues in clients


Drawing on cutting-edge research into the study of adult attachment, as well as recent empirical work investigating the associations between attachment styles and schemas, schema domains, and schema modes, this workshop provides attendees with state-of-the-art knowledge on attachment theory and how people’s attachment styles are associated with their early maladaptive schemas. The workshop uses interactive discussions and activities so that the knowledge gained by attendees can be translated into actionable strategies for case conceptualisation, assessment, and practice.


This workshop is designed for professionals and students who have limited or moderate knowledge in attachment theory but are keen to develop an understanding of attachment theory and its application to schema therapy and relationship issues.


Learning objectives: This workshop has nine learning objectives. In this workshop, participants will:


  1. Develop an understanding of the attachment behavioral system and the dynamics that underpin the normative and non-normative functioning of the system.
  2. Learn about attachment functions and how these functions play a central role in the achievement of core emotional needs.
  3. Develop an understanding of attachment styles and learn how to administer and score gold-standard assessments for measuring client’s attachment styles with parents, romantic partners, and peers.
  4. Learn about attachment internal working models and the similarities and differences between attachment working models and schemas.
  5. Present the latest empirical review of the research to learn how different attachment styles are associated with early maladaptive schemas
  6. Learn about the similarities and differences between attachment styles and schema modes, and coping responses.
  7. Learn strategies for how to optimise the therapist as a secure base to enhance the therapeutic alliance and endeavours at limited re-parenting
  8. Learn strategies for how to work with clients who differ in attachment styles, and implications for strengthening a client’s healthy adult mode.
  9. Learn how to apply security priming to schema imagery work and cognitive strategies involving flash cards.


Workshop Overview:

Day ONE: Attachment Theory: Basic Concepts and Current Conceptualisations & ST Theory

Day TWO: Integrating attachment theory with Schema Therapy

Day THREE: Strategies for Working with Insecurely Attached Individuals 

Workshop Dates, Times & Costs 

This workshop will be held on a Friday for three consecutive weeks.  The dates being: May 14th, 21st & 28th.  Workshop will start at 9.30 and finish at 2.30 with breaks in between and will be OFFERED ONLINE VIA ZOOM.  

Workshop Cost is $749 EB by April 30th or $799 thereafter.  Each participant will receive workshop materials which include recommended readings, a list of useful resources (websites, journals, and texts), and workshop notes.

Places are limited, book early to avoid disappointment.


About the Presenters:

Gery Karantzas is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Director of the Science of Adult Relationships (SoAR) Laboratory at Deakin University. He is one of Australia’s foremost experts in adult attachment and is regarded as one of the nation’s leading relationship scientists.  Gery has delivered workshops, seminars and lectures in relationship science to the general public, graduate and undergraduate students, and professionals for over a decade. He has edited and authored over 90 publications including the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Couples and Family Relationships (co-edited with Pat Noller) and Adult Attachment: A Concise Introduction to Theory and Research (co-authored with Omri Gillath and R. Chris Fraley). Gery has received training and collaborated with some of the world’s leading experts and pioneers in adult attachment including: Professor Phillip Shaver (University of California, Davis), Professor Jeffry Simpson (University of Minnesota), and Professor Pat Noller and Associate Professor Judith Feeney (University of Queensland).  His research activities into adult attachment and relationships more generally have been funded by grants from the Australian Research Council, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the National Medical Health and Research Council and beyondblue, totalling over $5 million. Gery writes for the Conversation and Psychology Today, and his articles have received over 2 million reads and regularly contacted by the media to discuss all matters on relationships. He is also the founder of, a website that curates and delivers the science of relationships to target the needs of relationship counsellors and the general public.

Rita Younan is a clinical psychologist and advanced ST supervisor- trainer, and director of Schema Therapy Institute Australia.  Rita is currently the training co-ordinator for the International Society of Schema Therapy and part of the executive board that represents the society.  Rita has provided training, treatment and conducted research in Schema Therapy. Her area of interest include attachment theory, the neurobiology of attachment, trauma and personality pathology.  Rita has presented as various international conferences and is actively involved in the Schema Therapy community.  Rita has been a clinical psychologist seeing patients with varying presentations for almost 20 years.

  • Start:
    May 14 @ 09:30 am
  • End:
    May 28 @ 02:30 pm
  • Cost:
  • Event Category:

  • Address:
    172 Buckley Street

    Essendon, Victoria 3040 Australia
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  • Phone:
    0455 668 028