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Turkington D, Morrison AP. Cognitive Therapy for Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry . 2011 Oct 3 ; PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Primary News: Cognitive Therapy May Power a Cycle of Recovery in Chronic Schizophrenia

Comment by:  Robert Paul Liberman
Submitted 14 October 2011 Posted 14 October 2011

This study of a well-established, psychosocial treatment, which has been documented to be effective for depression, anxiety disorders, and positive symptoms of schizophrenia (Salkovskis, 1996; Kingdon and Turkington, 2004), presents credible evidence of efficacy for some, but not all, negative symptoms and possibly for social functioning in schizophrenia. The study has a number of strong methodological features; for example, protecting the “blind” for assessors, appropriate frequency and duration of treatment sessions necessary to achieve therapeutic outcomes in this population, controls for differences in types and doses of antipsychotic medication, a “standard treatment” comparison group which is consistent with the vast majority of community mental health, a sample that includes different racial and ethnic groups consistent with an inner-city population, and appropriate statistical analyses for measuring outcome. My comments address a number of concerns that may attenuate the clinical significance of the authors’ findings and interpretations.

Selection Criteria for...  Read more

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Primary News: Cognitive Therapy May Power a Cycle of Recovery in Chronic Schizophrenia

Comment by:  Alan S Bellack
Submitted 10 November 2011 Posted 10 November 2011

Grant and colleagues are to be congratulated on their noteworthy trial. Anyone who has conducted clinical trials with seriously ill schizophrenia patients must be impressed by the ability of the research team to recruit a large cohort in an intensive treatment and keep them engaged over such a long period of time. The team also deserves credit for demonstrating that a psychosocial intervention can have a meaningful impact with this population. Added to the increasing literature on cognitive therapies with schizophrenia patients, and on recovery-based interventions, this report reinforces the argument that people with schizophrenia can and should be engaged as partners in the treatment process.

In a previous post, Bob Liberman identified a number of crucial limitations of this trial that raise questions about the findings and limit enthusiasm for the intervention. I concur with almost all of Bob's observations and analysis. The primary outcome variable (the GAS) has marked limitations and does not provide objective or detailed information about any changes in social or...  Read more

View all comments by Alan S Bellack

Primary News: Cognitive Therapy May Power a Cycle of Recovery in Chronic Schizophrenia

Comment by:  Paul Grant
Submitted 31 January 2012 Posted 2 February 2012

We thank Professors Liberman and Bellack for their thoughtful critiques of our work and welcome the opportunity to answer their questions and concerns, and thereby clarify our study beyond the space limitations of the original paper.

Liberman and Bellack express several concerns regarding the number and types of techniques employed in therapy, as well as the length of therapy. Liberman states that our therapy is “confounded” with other treatment approaches because the intervention contains many treatment techniques (e.g., skills training, cognitive remediation, motivational enhancement) that overlap with other psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia; Bellack indicates that he does not believe our treatment should properly be called “cognitive therapy” because “so little of it entails cognitive therapy per se.” We appreciate that they have raised this issue because it affords us an opportunity to explain in greater detail why we use the term cognitive therapy and what we mean by it.

Our formulation of cognitive therapy is based on the cognitive model of schizophrenia...  Read more

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