Do cognitive behavioral therapy techniques help people with schizophrenia?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Cognitive behavioral therapy can sometimes help reduce schizophrenia symptoms. In the United Kingdom, multiple studies are showing the benefit of this treatment for schizophrenia, leading therapists in the United States to take interest. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on cognitions (thoughts) and behaviors (actions). A CBT therapist will assign homework and exercises for the person to do outside of therapy sessions. Practicing new skills in and outside of therapy can help people with schizophrenia change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

One technique used in CBT requires the person to identify a troubling symptom. An example is if a man is paranoid that his spouse will attack him in the middle of the night. The therapist will challenge the man to look at the evidence for this belief, and without supporting evidence, help the man learn to eliminate this nagging obsession from his mind. Over time, the person learns how to identify and change other harmful and negative thoughts and behaviors.

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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.