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Individual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp): A Systematic Review of Qualitative Literature*

  • Lisa Wood (a1), Eilish Burke (a1) and Anthony Morrison (a1)

Background: Individual Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) is the first line recommended psychological intervention for adults diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, little is yet known about service users’ subjective experiences of CBTp. Aims: This study aimed to conduct a systematic review of qualitative literature to examine service user perspective of CBTp. Method: A thematic synthesis of qualitative studies examining service users’ experiences of CBTp was conducted. A total of six studies were included in the analysis. Results: Three superordinate themes were identified: therapeutic alliance; facilitating change; and challenges of applying CBTp. Conclusion: Overall, CBTp is a helpful and acceptable therapeutic approach to service users. Developing a collaborative therapeutic relationship is essential. The applications of CBTp can be problematic and the therapist and client need to work together to overcome these difficulties.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Lisa Wood, Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation Trust, Psychology Services, Prestwich Hospital, Manchester M25 3BL, UK. E-mail:
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The authors recognize that the terms and language used in this paper are not universally endorsed. Where differences of opinion arose, the team decided to use the term that was endorsed by the majority, whilst also respecting the views of others.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Byrne , L. Davies and A. Morrison (2010). Priorities and preferences for the outcomes of treatment in psychosis: a service user perspective. Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches, 2, 210217.

P. D. J. Chadwick (2006). Person-Based Cognitive Therapy for Distressing Psychosis. London: Wiley.

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D. Lynch , K. R. Laws and P. J. McKenna (2009). Cognitive behavioural therapy for major psychiatric disorder: does it really work? A meta-analytical review of well-controlled trials. Psychological Medicine, 40, 924.

R. McCabe and S. Priebe (2004). The therapeutic relationship in the treatment of severe mental illness: a review of methods and findings. Journal of Social Psychiatry, 50, 115128.

J. McGowan , T. Lavender and P. Garety (2005). Factors in outcome of cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis: users’ and clinicians’ views. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 78, 513529.

S. Messari and R. Hallam (2003). CBT for psychosis: a qualitative analysis of clients’ experiences. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42, 171188.

C. Morberg Pain , P. Chadwick and N. Abba (2008). Clients’ experiences of case formulation in cognitive behaviour therapy for psychosis. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47, 127138.

A. Morrison and S. Barratt (2010). What are the components of CBT for psychosis? A Delphi study. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36, 136142.

L. Pitt , M. Kilbride , S. Nothard , M. Welford and A. P. Morrison (2007). Researching recovery from psychosis: a user-led project. Psychiatry Bulletin, 31, 5560.

J. Thomas and A. Harden (2008). Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8, 110.

T. Wykes , C. Steel , B. Everitt and N. Tarrier (2008). Cognitive behavior therapy for schizophrenia: effect sizes, clinical models, and methodological rigor. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 34, 523537.

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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
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