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Approved by the Executive Board on 7th July 2020 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.
  • participate as a co-trainer (assistant to the certified trainer) in an ISST approved training program. In this case, the number of “trainers” for calculation of the trainer/participants’ ratio (1/20) includes the co-training supervisor.

1.2.    An ISST Certified Trainer, in addition to providing ISST certified supervision (as above), is also entitled to contribute to, provide, and/or run an ISST Certified training course or Training Program.

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 workshop webinars.
  • having received at least 6 hours of supervision from an ISST Certified Trainer/Supervisor on the Schema Therapy supervision they have provided to one or more ISST members who are preparing for certification as Schema Therapist(s) or to other schema therapists who are already ISST certified.  These 6 hours of supervision may only commence after attending the first webinar in the series of the Supervisor Skills Development workshop webinars (see above).

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.
  • 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.    Those certified as Advanced Schema Therapists on or before September 1, 2017, may make a single application to become a Certified Supervisor and Trainer in accordance with the previous regulations, provided that they submit a complete and correct application by 31st December 2021.

3.3  Those who received Advanced Individual Schema Therapy Certification between September 2, 2017 & September 1, 2018 may decide to comply with either the previous Supervisor/Trainer policy or the new Supervisor/Trainer policy.

Trainer-Supervisor Level Certification Information

 The highest level of certification in Schema Therapy is the Trainer-Supervisor level. The requirements to qualify at this level for each of the specialty areas of ST vary. For the original certification as T-S in individual ST a person needs to be certified at the Advanced level and have completed the additional requirements that depend upon the year they began training. For those who began training before 2014 the requirement is the 2 hour Trainer-Supervisor Webinar that covers the basic requirements and information on ST supervision. and a 12 hr Supervisor SKills workshop.  The Webinar is offered about  twice a year by the Coordinator of T&C in English and also by other Trainers approved to offer this training live in various countries and languages. The SUpervisor SKills workshop will begin to be offered via webinar in Octobeer 2018.  It is also offered at the two annual training conferences of the ISST.

Trainer-Supervisor Certificates

We have begun to offer Trainer-Supervisor certificates in individual ST for those who qualify.  This applies only to those who began their training before January 1, 2014. Those who began training after that date have other qualifications to meet. To obtain this certificate you must do the following:

1. Send a request to the ISST Certification email address here with the date when you began certification training.

2. Attach proof of your advanced level certification, with your certificate number and your certificate of attendance at the required Trainer-Supervisor webinar (with the correct certifcate ISST-file) in English.

3. Send your  membership number and you must be current on dues payment.

You will receive your certificate via email. Please be patient as our office staff have many to send.

For the specialty areas of ST you will need to follow the same procedure plus have the chair of the specialty area send an email to the office also that affirms you being at the T-S level in that specialty.

Required Trainers and Supervisors Workshop/Webinar

The Trainers/Supervisors Workshop is a mandatory requirement for all advanced level certified schema therapists who wish to provide supervision fro certification, participate as trainers in ISST approved training programs or apply to offer a certification training program approved by ISST. This requirement has been in effect since Jan 1 2012. 

The required content is listed in the PDF below. ISST Approved Certification Training Programs in some countries are offering in-person workshops to meet this requirement. This is the case in Sweden, Norway, Germany and Italy. ISST approval is needed to offer the webinar in person, so please contact me if you want to apply to offer the webinar for your country. Standard materials including a power-point slide presentation of required content in English is available for translation.  For more information contact the ISST Training Coordinator - Jeff Conway

 The goals of the Trainer/Supervisor Workshop are to:

  • enhance quality assurance within our programs
  • promote balance, uniformity, and comprehensive coverage of required material
  • maintain the stability and integrity of our model, especially for the purpose of fostering reliable outcome studies in ST
  • provide an overall sense of clear and effective expectations for supervisors and trainers, as well as offer support to them in their roles

Continuing Education in Schema Therapy 

8 hours of continuing education (CE) activity - either ST workshops, added supervision or self-therapy- are required for all ISST Trainer-Supervisors every 2 years. 

Added Options qualifying as CE activity: research, publications, books, readings and participation in ISST special interest groups, watching DVDs with log of reflective comments.

CE Reporting

The CE requirement will be reported using an honor system with a random audit of a percentage of members. Those chosen for audit must provide documentation of their CE activities (i.e. certificate for a workshop, email confirmation from supervisor or therapist, journal publication or other writing).  The ISST Quality Assurance Committee, chaired by Susanne Vind,  will manage CE reporting and the evaluation of ISST Training Programs.

New Requirements for Advanced level certified therapists  who began training in 2014 and who have completed the general Trainer/supervisor webinar described above who want to provide supervision to others for certification.  If you began certification training in individual ST after January 1, 2014 you must meet the additional requirements approved by the ISST board in 2013. A full description of these requirements is attached as a file on this page and summarized below.

1.Clinical Experience

a.Three years of ST practice after achieving Advanced level certification as a Schema therapist.The T & C committee can be asked to consider approval with a minimum of two years of practice when special circumstances apply – e.g., shortage of supervisors.

b.Treatment of at least 10 patients in ST of at least 6 months duration. Must include at least 4 personality disorder patients.

2.Trainer exception Upon the recommendation of the director of an ISST approved training program, an advanced level certified schema therapist with a minimum of 2 years of post certification experience may act as one of the trainers in that program in conjunction with a certified trainer/supervisor.

3.Additional Training/Supervision 6 hours of individual supervision focused on supervising. As of September 1, 2018 this requirement will  be replaced with attending the Supervisor Skill Building Workshop of 12 hours being developed by an ISST committee chaired by Jeff Conway or by individual supervision with a certified Supervisor. The workshop will be offered at ISST conferences and by webinar in 4 sessions of 3 hours. These supervision hours cannot be counted in the total required for certification as a schema therapist. A 2 hour webinar on ISST requirements is still required.

4.Applicants who have completed a course in supervision can submit a course description for review by the Training & Certification committee with a request that this requirement be waived.

It has been a long and thoughtful process to develop the new guidelines, derived from many hours of dialogue among the board members and committee members, careful scrutiny of details, shared discussions with some of our most experienced trainers and supervisors – worldwide, along with helpful observations, experiences, and input from candidates who have participated in schema therapy certification training programs in recent years.  Please be aware that these requirements and the STCRS pertain to “individual certification programs” – ST with individuals. Separate requirements exist for Group Schema Therapy and for Child-Adolescent Schema Therapy and Couples ST.

Listing of current ISST Certified Supervisor/Trainers

As part of the ISST Board’s ongoing effort to make the certification process more user-friendly we have made some changes regarding website listings and certificates. One important reason for this is to ensure that trainees/supervisees will be able to make sure that they are receiving training or supervision from currently certified trainer/supervisors. There has been some confusion in this area recently.

  • We ask that all certified supervisor/trainers allow at least their name to be listed on the ISST website. This was previously voluntary, but it is thought that the society needs a public record of the certified supervisor trainers for certification applicants to check when they are choosing a training program, workshop or supervisor. Having an updated list is important as ISST certification is dependent upon being an active, dues paid member of ISST. With the new website it is possible for members to keep their personal listing updated.
  • To accomplish a current listing we need to check the certification id number of all. If we do not have yours, you will receive an email request to provide it in the near future. We appreciate everyone’s timely response to this request.
  • We would like to respectfully remind you that on time dues payment is necessary for ISST to function and for members to maintain their rights, like certification, website access, reduced conference fees. Any supervision or training provided by trainer/supervisors not current on dues payment cannot counted for ISST certification. This is a responsibility of trainer/supervisors that can have serious repercussions for trainees.

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 coordinator 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 sued. 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.    



After certification, schema therapists will be asked to anonymously evaluate their supervision on a form supplied by ISST. If they participated in a certified training program they will also be asked to evaluate the program. If the mean rating over four or more individual supervisees falls below 4 the problems identified will be reviewed by the coordinator of Training & Certification and reported to the ISST Board, which will decide on further action. To maintain one’s Trainer/Supervisor or program certification a mean rating of 4 over all trainees in a two year period must be accomplished.




To maintain Trainer or Training Program certification every two years a report of the mean rating of workshops evaluated must be reported.

A mean rating of 4 on a 0-6 scale must be accomplished.

These evaluations should be anonymous and completed at the end of a training event. A standard rating form will be provided by ISST. This evaluation form will be developed by the newly formed ISST Quality Assurance committee chaired by Susanne Vind. 

Anonymous ratings of training workshops by graduates after they achieve certification.

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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