Cognitive-behaviour therapy and schizophrenia
Evidence Based Mental Health
People who experience debilitating psychotic symptoms that affect their everyday life are often, but not always, given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Although the first line of treatment is medication, many people experience a suboptimal response and after the acute symptoms resolve they can continue to experience both hallucinations and delusions. These are generally termed residual symptoms and are the phenomena that cognitive-behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp) was originally devised to target. The success of CBTp in randomised controlled trials from the early 90s and evidence of cost-effectiveness has meant that many healthcare services across the world include CBTp in their treatment armamentaria. For instance, in the UK the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance says that all individuals who have a diagnosis of schizophrenia should be given the option of a course of CBTp. Recently, however, the treatment effects have been re-examined, the targets widened and the premise that CBTp should be solely an adjunct to medication has been questioned. This article will describe and probe some of these changes and reflect on the development of psychological treatments for psychosis.