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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Unusual Experiences in Children: A Case Series

  • Lucy Maddox (a1), Suzanne Jolley (a2), Kristin R. Laurens (a3), Colette Hirsch (a2), Sheilagh Hodgins (a4), Sophie Browning (a1), Louisa Bravery (a1), Karen Bracegirdle (a1), Patrick Smith (a2) and Elizabeth Kuipers (a2)...


Background: Over half of children in the general population report unusual or “psychotic-like” experiences (PLEs). The development of a later at-risk mental state is associated with persistent, distressing, PLEs, which are appraised negatively and hard to cope with. We have designed a novel, manualized, cognitive behavioural intervention for children aged 9 to 14 years, which aims to reduce emotional problems, improve coping and resilience, and help children manage PLEs, before an identifiable psychosis risk develops. We report on the feasibility, acceptability and clinical impact of the intervention. Method: Four children who reported PLEs and emotional problems in a community survey completed the intervention, and gave detailed feedback. Clinical outcomes were assessed before, during, and after therapy. Results: Emotional problems, PLE frequency, and PLE impact all decreased during the intervention. Child and therapist satisfaction with the treatment was high. Conclusions: It is feasible, acceptable and helpful to offer psychological interventions to children who report emotional distress and PLEs, prior to the emergence of clear risk factors. Our intervention has the potential to increase resilience to the development of future mental health problems. A larger, randomized controlled evaluation is underway.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Lucy Maddox, Snowsfields Adolescent Unit, Mapother House, Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK. E-mail:


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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Unusual Experiences in Children: A Case Series

  • Lucy Maddox (a1), Suzanne Jolley (a2), Kristin R. Laurens (a3), Colette Hirsch (a2), Sheilagh Hodgins (a4), Sophie Browning (a1), Louisa Bravery (a1), Karen Bracegirdle (a1), Patrick Smith (a2) and Elizabeth Kuipers (a2)...
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