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CBT, CFT and Schema Therapy  in Cheshire


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the most effective way to treat many problems. Many studies have demonstrated that CBT is as effective as medication for many common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

CBT explores the relationship between your thought, feelings and behaviour and the impact that these are currently having on you. The aim of therapy is to help you to develop new strategies to manage your problems. It involves you working together with your therapist to improve your life and your current experience. As a result you will develop a range of skills and tools to use to help gain freedom from your problems and then you are more likely to be able to maintain the improvements after therapy. 

Compassion Focused Therapy


I offer a unique blend of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These approaches can be used together, or can be equally effective on their own. 


However, in the majority of circumstances, I will draw from both techniques in my work with clients. 


About Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) 


Paul Gilbert created Compassion-Focused Therapy to specifically address shame and self-criticism, drawing on evolutionary, social, developmental, attachment and Buddhist psychology and neuroscience.


CFT aims to help you to develop skills in compassion and self-compassion, which help you feel safe and more at ease in the world.

Your unique life history 


In our work together, we will begin to understand your experiences in early life.


By understanding your unique history, we can begin to explore what messages you learned about yourself and the world. We can explore the coping strategies you've put in place to help deal with these experiences and the possible unintended consequences of these strategies in your current life. 


We learn to bring compassion to all of this. By doing this, over time, CFT replaces feelings of shame and insecurity with compassion and understanding, so that we can begin to soothe ourselves, accept soothing from others, and generate feelings of contentment and safety in our lives. 


Schema therapy enables clients who feel hopeless and like they are stuck in self-destructive patterns that feel so deep they almost feel like they are part of their identity. 

Schemas, which are negative beliefs, feelings, emotions and memories, can lead to low chronic self-esteem, difficulties feeling connected to others, problems in relationships trusting others or becoming overly dependant on them, excessive worry and rumination. The schemas can also create strong attraction to partners who are harmful to us and can also lead to dissatisfying careers.

Begin with an assessments, clients learn to recognise which schemas they hold and as a result of those schemas what problematic coping styles they developed, understand the origins of these and learn how to make lasting changes.

List of Schemas

  • Emotional Deprivation: The belief and expectation that your primary needs will never be met. The sense that no one will nurture, care for, guide, protect or empathise with you.

  • Abandonment: The belief and expectation that others will leave, that others are unreliable, that relationships are fragile, that loss is inevitable and that you will ultimately end up alone.

  • Mistrust/Abuse: The belief that others are abusive, manipulative, selfish, or looking to hurt or use you and are not to be trusted.

  • Defectiveness: The belief that you are flawed, damaged or unlovable and you will therefore be rejected.

  • Social Isolation: The pervasive sense of aloneness, coupled with a feeling of alienation.

  • Vulnerability: The sense that the world is a dangerous place, that disaster can happen at any time and that you will be overwhelmed by the challenges that lie ahead.

  • Dependence/Incompetence: The belief that you are unable to  make your own decisions, that your judgment is questionable, and that you need to rely on others to help get you through day-to-day responsibilities.

  • Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self: The sense that you do not have an identity or “individuated self” that is separate from one or more significant others.

  • Failure: The expectation that you will fail or the belief that you cannot perform well enough.

  • Subjugation: The belief that you must submit to the control of others or else punishment or rejection will be forthcoming.

  • Self-Sacrifice: The belief that you should voluntarily give up your own needs for the sake of others, usually to a point which is excessive.

  • Approval-Seeking/Recognition-Seeking: The sense that approval, attention and recognition are far more important than genuine self-expression and being true to oneself.

  • Emotional Inhibition: The belief that you must control your self-expression or others will reject or criticise you.

  • Negativity/Pessimism: The pervasive belief that the negative aspects of life outweigh the positive, along with negative expectations for the future.

  • Unrelenting Standards: The belief that you need to be the best, always striving for perfection or that you must avoid mistakes.

  • Punitiveness: The belief that people should be harshly punished for their mistakes or shortcomings.

  • Entitlement/Grandiosity: The sense that you are special or more important than others, and that you do not have to follow the rules like other people even though it may have a negative effect on others. Also can manifest in an exaggerated focus on superiority for the purpose of having power or control.

  • Insufficient Self-Control/Self-Discipline: The sense that you cannot accomplish your goals, especially if the process contains boring, repetitive, or frustrating aspects. Also, that you cannot resist acting upon impulses that lead to detrimental results.

What problems can CBT and CFT help with?

​CBT has been shown to be effective with many problems including:

  • Phobias 

  • Social Anxiety

  • Health Anxiety

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (which is characterised by excessive worry)

  • Depression

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder


Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and Schema Therapy looks to help those who struggle with shame, self-criticism and interpersonal difficulties. Often these can be the driving forces behind other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Compassion Focused Therapy and Schema Therapy are especially useful if you experience: 


  • Shame 

  • Self-criticism

  • Low self-esteem or negative self-talk 

  • Anger

  • A history of physical or emotional abuse or neglect

  • Difficulties trusting others

  • Sadness

  • An inability to be kind or compassionate towards yourself

  • People pleasing

  • Abuse

  • Bullying

  • Attachment issues

  • Early trauma 

  • And those who work too hard or find it difficult to stop.

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