Two articles published in the May-June issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics survey the recent evidence which is available for the psychotherapy of schizophrenia.

In one article, Tarrier and associated (University of Manchester) examine the role of cognitive behavior therapy. There is accumulating evidence that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can result in significant clinical benefit to these patients. This paper aims to describe the development and adaptation of CBT in the treatment of schizophrenia, to summarise the evidence to support CBT as a viable treatment and to outline some of the issues in 'rolling out' this treatment into normal clinical settings.

A number of clinical models of CBT have been developed and these typically consist of a variety of clinical methods with different models providing differing emphasis. Twenty controlled trials of CBT in schizophrenia in which 739 patients were included are reviewed. These studies have a mean effect size for CBT of 0.37 (SD 0.39). There is consistent evidence that CBT reduces persistent positive symptoms in chronic patients and may have modest effects in speeding recovery in acutely ill patients.

The evidence of CBT reducing relapse rates is equivocal, although targeted early intervention is promising. The available evidence suggests that CBT can be utilised effectively in routine clinical practice. However, the dissemination of novel psychological treatments into widespread clinical practice is not without difficulty, and issues pertaining to the 'roll-out' of CBT are discussed. CBT as an adjunct treatment shows considerable promise for the future treatment of schizophrenia.

In an accompanying editorial, Tom Sensky (Imperial College, London) raises some concerns about the use and misuse of meta-analyses for evaluating treatments.

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SOURCE: alphagalileo

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