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Honorary Life Membership approved by the ISST General Membership Assembly October 2020

Travis Atkinson is one of the founding members of the International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST). He began trainings in schema therapy with Jeffrey Young in 1994, and worked as a staff psychotherapist at Jeff ’s Cognitive Therapy Center of New York in 1997 through 2012. Travis helped Jeff develop the Schema Therapy Institute, co-creating the original format and curriculum. He is an Advanced Certified Schema Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer for Individual Schema Therapy and Schema Therapy for Couples (ST-C) and has been offering certification in both, locally and  internationally for more than 20 years. For three years, he collaborated with Jeffrey Young, training therapists in the ST-C model at the New England Educational Institute in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Internationally he has offered training in many countries including Italy, the Netherlands, Korea, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Scotland and Austria.

He was elected to the ISST Executive Board as Public Affairs Coordinator in 2014 and 2016, and as Media Coordinator in 2018 (the same position but with a new name). He has thus served on the ISST Executive Board Member for 6 years. Before that he was active in the ISST in the development of Schema Therapy for Couples as a separate certification category.  He was chair of ISST’s ST-C Special Interest Group from 2014.  From this emerged the Schema Therapy for Couples Committee which established the training criteria and curriculum for ST-C.  He was chair of this Committee from 2016 to 2017.  Travis is also a certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist and Supervisor and a Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist and this deep background has enabled him to take the lead in developing ST-C as a comprehensive and integrative model.

During the 6 years he was on the Executive Board, the ISST’s membership quadrupled in size.  Travis first worked tirelessly in 2014 to create a new member website and to update ISST’s media resources, including the creation of a new member listserv. He continued to work on improving several aspects of ISST’s organization, including new member onboarding, registration processes, and technological tasks.

Travis has been extensively involved in the organization of ISST events since 2015 and branded them as “INSPIRE” and “ENLIGHT.” He extensively marketed each event, and collaborated with other board members to plan and implement them. Travis also developed the Schema Events App on iOS, Android and a Progressive Web App for INSPIRE 2016, Summer School in Barcelona in 2017, INSPIRE 2018 in Amsterdam, and ENLIGHT 2019 in Edinburgh. He worked to improve each conference, adding morning yoga routines, fine-tuning program scheduling, and adding a closing ceremony.

This led to the success of several well attended and memorable events: the INSPIRE 2016 in Vienna, the 2017 Barcelona Summer School, and INSPIRE 2018 in Amsterdam. He developed and implemented an extensive registration system that immensely saved the ISST’s budget, along with providing multiple incentives of tiers to encourage early registration that ISST was not able to offer before. He also designed and created the name tags for conferences that included QR codes to help register participants for selections. Travis moreover directed efforts to digitally record and edit videos of keynote speakers and some of the most popular selections in Vienna and Amsterdam, posting on the website the videos of speakers who granted permission over the following months.

He continued to add new members to the ISST listserv, making changes to personal information, and monitor postings. This has provided members with an easy way to communicate with each other, sharing tips, observations, challenges, and schema therapy events. Besides, Travis created multiple email blasts to share news and information with members. Social media posts have continued on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

His final term as ISST Media Coordinator required intensive work due to the coronavirus pandemic. With a rapidly growing membership base the needs of the organization have expanded, especially during the necessary transitions during lockdown periods. Travis was actively involved in plans and marketing for INSPIRE 2020 in Copenhagen, and was instrumental in responding to the need to postpone that conference. He was responsible for creating the 2020 ISST Virtual Summit, marketing the event, guiding and directing the development of the Schema Summit App and the platform to deliver the virtual summit. He coordinated the program with the many dedicated presenters, and navigated the thousands of moving parts involved in putting on a live virtual event in a new pandemic world. Each selection was recorded and participants can continue to watch presentations repeatedly for a year after the end of the summit. The success of the Virtual Summit’s played a major role in keeping the ISST’s financially stable in a very uncertain time for conferences.

From this summary, members can see how Travis has played a foundational role in the development and promotion of schema therapy and, within the ISST, establishing a high level of professionalism in the area of media coordination and event organization. We are deeply grateful for all he has done for the ISST, especially with regard to his promoting the global interconnectedness of the ISST community!


Atkinson, T. (2012). Schema therapy for couples: Healing partners in relationship. In M. van Vreeswijk, J. Broersen & M. Nadort (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Schema Therapy: Theory, Research and Science (pp. 323-336). Wiley-Blackwell. 

Atkinson, T., & Perris, P. (2020). Schema therapy for couples:  Interventions to promote secure connections. In G. Heath, & H. Startup (Eds.), Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice (pp.1 -16). Routledge.

Flanagan, C., Atkinson, T., & Young, J. (2020). An introduction to Schema Therapy: Origins, overview, research status and future directions. In G. Heath, & H. Startup (Eds.), Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice (pp. 210-224). Routledge.

Young, J. E., Atkinson, T., Arntz, A., & Weishaar, M. (2005). Young Atkinson mode inventory: YAMI-PM. Schema Therapy Institute, 36 West 44th Street, Suite. 1007, New York NY10036.

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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