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

Vartouhi Ohanian, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Director of Schema therapy UK, has played a significant role in the ISST and in the development and dissemination of schema therapy.  She is a pioneer of schema therapy for eating disorders and has contributed to published research in that area.  From 1991, Vartouhi trained extensively in Schema Therapy with Jeffrey Young and Mary Anne Layden. She also trained in Group Schema Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder with Joan Farrell and Ida Shaw.

Vartouhi is a highly experienced clinician who worked in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for 30 years.  For 23 of these, she was Head of Adult Psychology Services in the Hounslow sector of West London Mental Health Trust, where she established Schema Therapy and CBT as the theoretical and therapeutic orientations of her Department. She has extensive specialist experience in working with Personality Disorders, in particular, Borderline Personality Disorder, Trauma, Eating Disorders and entrenched Axis I Disorders. She has particular expertise in the use of imagery to bring about schema change.  

Beginning in 1996, she was instrumental in introducing and disseminating Schema Therapy in the UK by organizing national workshops. The majority of these were delivered by Jeffrey Young and were extremely well attended, not only by clinicians from the UK but also from many European countries. Vartouhi has also promoted Schema Therapy for clients with a forensic history by organizing national workshops on this topic. In 2008, as an ISST certified Schema Therapy Supervisor and Trainer, she established the first ISST approved Advanced Certification Training Program in Schema Therapy in the UK.  This program has been running regularly ever since. She has also been invited to run and contribute to ISST approved Schema Therapy Training programs in Europe.

In this respect, Jeffrey Young said, ‘I want to express my deep gratitude to Vartouhi for her major role in bringing Schema Therapy to the UK. Vartouhi’s outstanding work in teaching and training therapists has not only been vital in generating interest in Schema Therapy here, but her high standards have set a model for aspiring therapists to live up to.”

She is a long-standing member of the International Society for Schema Therapy and has contributed to the work of several of its committees over many years. Currently, she is Chairperson of the Ethics and Conflict Resolution Committee, and a member of the Case Conceptualization Committee, the Training and Certification Advisory Board and the Supervision Skills Development Committee. She has been a UK National and Regional Certification Coordinator since 2014.

Vartouhi teaches widely in the UK and abroad in academic departments, the NHS and private psychiatric hospital settings.  She regularly presents on schema therapy at national and international congresses including those of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, and conferences on Eating Disorders.

Vartouhi is a pioneer of the development of the clinical application of schema therapy to eating disorders and has also contributed to research in this area, including working with Glenn Waller at Kings College, London (now a Professor at the University of Sheffield).  As you can see from her list of publications below, she is co-author of several publications with Waller and his associates, including book chapters and articles on Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders.


Corstorphine, E., Waller, G., Ohanian, V., & Baker, M. (2006). Changes in internal states across the binge-vomit cycle in bulimia nervosa. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 194, 446-449.

Ohanian, V. (2002). Imagery rescripting within cognitive-behavior therapy for bulimia nervosa: An illustrative case report. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31, 352-357.

Ohanian, V. & Rashed, R., (2012) Schema Therapy. In Dryden W. (Ed), Cognitive Behaviour Therapies. (pp. 166-189). Sage.

Waller, G., Babbs, M., Milligan R.-J., Meyer, C., Ohanian, V., & Leung, N. (2003). Anger and core beliefs in the eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 34, 118-124.

Waller, G., Dickson, C., & Ohanian, V. (2002) Cognitive content in bulimic disorders: core beliefs and eating attitudes. Eating Behaviors, 3, 171-178.

Waller, G., Babbs, M., Milligan R.-J., Meyer, C., Ohanian, V., & Leung, N. (2003). Anger and core beliefs in the eating disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 34, 118-124.

Waller, G., Kennerley, H., & Ohanian, V. (2007). Schema-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy for eating disorders. In L. P. Riso, P. L. du Toit, D. J. Stein & J. E. Young (Eds.), Cognitive schemas and core beliefs in psychological problems: A scientist-practitioner guide (pp. 139-175). American Psychological Association.

Waller, G., Meyer, C., & Ohanian, V. (2001). Psychometric properties of the long and short versions of the Young Schema Questionnaire: Core beliefs among bulimic and comparison women. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 25, 137-147.

Waller, G., Meyer, C., Ohanian, V., Elliott, P., Dickson, C., & Sellings, J. (2001). The psychopathology of bulimic women who report childhood sexual abuse: the mediating role of core beliefs. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 189, 700-708.

Waller, G., Ohanian, V., Meyer, C., & Osman, S. (2000). Cognitive content among bulimic women: The role of core beliefs. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 28, 235-241.

Waller, G., Ohanian, V., Meyer, C., Everill, J., & Rouse, H. (2001). The utility of dimensional and categorical approaches to understanding dissociation in the eating disorders. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40, 387-397.

Waller, G., Shah, R., Ohanian, V., & Elliott, P. (2001). Core beliefs in bulimia nervosa and depression: The discriminant validity of Young's Schema Questionnaire. Behavior Therapy, 32(1), 139-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7894(01)80049-6

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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