As late as the 1980s, schizophrenia was considered the “ forgotten child of behavior therapy.” Over the past fifteen years, however, significant developments in the use of cognitivebehavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of schizophrenia symptoms have occurred. This presentation will include an overview of the major symptoms of the disorder of schizophrenia, and will be followed by a discussion of the implications for the use of CBT to treat individuals. Due to the ineffectiveness of antipsychotic medication for helping with the psychological and social impact of schizophrenia, CBT has been increasingly recommended for enhancing the coping skills of those with schizophrenia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on helping clients challenge their maladaptive or distorted thinking patterns in the present.
During the past decade, a variety of studies have investigated the efficacy of CBT for treating symptoms and improving functioning in a wide range of individuals. These studies have typically concluded that CBT is especially effective for treating positive symptoms (e.g., hallucinations and delusions), and that while beneficial for short time periods, may not be as effective over long term periods. Results of these studies have also revealed that CBT may work best when combined with other approaches, such as social skills training. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of future research directions, such as the importance of investigating comorbidity and relapse issues.
Danielle Schutzman, ’06 Marion, IA
Sponsor: Carolyn Zerbe Enns