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How does cognitive behavioral therapy help schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help some people with schizophrenia learn to live better, reduce certain symptoms, and avoid relapse. In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a psychotherapist helps a person change potentially harmful or destructive beliefs and behaviors. Cognition refers to thought patterns, and a therapist can help people with schizophrenia transform their harmful or negative cognitive patterns into healthy and positive beliefs.

A fair amount of insight is required to achieve these changes. Therefore, people with schizophrenia must be stabilized on medications before participating in CBT for schizophrenia. Once stable, the person can learn how to deal with his symptoms. A CBT therapist might also help the person identify triggers of his symptoms and how to reduce these triggers. CBT for schizophrenia can help people handle their responsibilities and life stresses better. A therapist can review social skills and other problem-solving techniques in session, which the person can practice outside of therapy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.