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Becoming ISST certified Schema Therapists

 

ISST Guidelines  

Academic training: To begin training in Schema Therapy applicants must have at least Master’s Degree in psychology, social work, special education and rehabilitation or medicine.

 In countries (such as Serbia) where a Masters degree is not the only route to practice psychotherapy, a Master’s degree is highly recommended but not a requirement. This is according to the ISST recommendations.   

License or certification for practice: In countries that certification or license for practice exists, a person must be certified or licensed by either the government body or professional organization, which grants this. Furthermore it is recommended that if no such control exists in a country, the standard of one of the national or international professional psychotherapy organizations must be met to fulfill this requirement. In Serbia, we will adhere to the standards of SUAP (Serbian Union of Associations for Psychotherapy). 

Training Guidelines 

The individual can either attend one ISST approved ST program in its entirety or assemble his/her own certification programs by independent study. In such a case the individual needs to fulfill all the requirements. Only workshops given by Certified Trainers who are part of an ISST Approved Training Programs or have been invited by an approved program to provide a particular module of the ISST certification curriculum can be counted.

All ISST approved Schema Therapy Certification Training Programs (including this one) provide the 25 didactic and 15 dyadic hours required for certification. In addition to these hours trainees need: Supervision sessions, Self-Therapy and Peer supervision. There is a requirement for a certain number of patient sessions and a certain number of cases treated with Schema Therapy. Finally, applicants submit taped sessions and case conceptualizations to an independent rater who rates them using the Schema therapist competency rating scale- STCRS 

The specific requirements differ depending on the level of certification. 

Standard certification

Therapists at this level are certified to practice schema therapy, participate in outcome studies, and to train or supervise other therapists at a basic level only with the supervision of an Advanced level trainer-supervisor. They are not qualified to run a training program, rate sessions, or offer supervision on difficult cases.

The requirements for standard level certification are the following:

  • 25 didactic hours of theory
  • 15 dyadic hours of practice (Whole group or “fishbowl” exercises or Dyadic Practice: Therapists pair up and take turns in the role of patient and therapist).
  • 20 supervision sessions (50-60 minutes each). These may be conducted in person or via Skype
  • Self-Therapy as part of case supervision – Highly Recommended: Max. of 3 sessions out of 20 can be primarily self-therapy
  • Peer Supervision – Highly Recommended
  • Minimum Number of cases Treated with ST – Minimum of 2 cases, at least 25 therapy hours each; one patient with a personality disorder or significant personality disorder features, the remaining patients appropriate for Schema Mode work.
  • Minimum Number of Patient Sessions (at least 45 minutes each) – 80 sessions
  • Duration of supervision – At least one year
  • Session Competency Ratings of Patient – One session with minimum STCRS (Schema therapist competency rating scale) score of 4.0 and one case conceptualization form.  Candidate must receive individual ratings of no less than 4.0 on items 6-9 on the STCRS. 

Advanced certification

Therapists at this level are certified to treat all patients, participate in outcome studies, and to apply for certification as a supervisor / trainer / rate others, and to run training programs after three years of practice as a certified schema therapist.

The requirements for advanced level certification are the following:

  • 40 supervision sessions (50-60 minutes each). These may be conducted in person or via Skype
  • Self-Therapy as part of case supervision – Highly Recommended: Max. of 6 sessions out of 40 can be primarily self-therapy
  • Peer Supervision – Highly Recommended
  • Minimum Number of cases Treated with ST – Minimum of 4 cases, at least 25 therapy hours each; one patient with a personality disorder or significant personality disorder features, the remaining patients appropriate for Schema Mode work. Applicants are expected to demonstrate competence with both the overcompensating modes and avoidant / surrender modes.
  • Minimum Number of Patient Sessions (at least 45 minutes each) – 160 sessions
  • Duration of supervision – At least one year
  • Session Competency Ratings of Patient – Two sessions with minimum STCRS (Schema therapist competency rating scale) score of 4.5 and two case conceptualization forms.  Candidate must receive individual ratings of no less than 4.0 on items 6-9 on the STCRS. The two required tapes must be scored by two different raters.