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Psychol Serv. 2010 May 1;7(2):75-91.

Psychotherapy and recovery from schizophrenia: A review of potential applications and need for future study.

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Roudebush VA Medical Center and the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana.


Recovery from schizophrenia has been conceptualized to involve not only symptom remission of symptoms and achievement of psychosocial milestones but also subjective changes in how persons appraise their lives and the extent to which they experience themselves as meaningful agents in the world. In this paper we review the potential of individual psychotherapy to address these more subjective aspects of recovery. Literature on the effectiveness of psychotherapy for persons with schizophrenia is discussed and two different paths by which psychotherapy might modify self-experience are described. First we detail how psychotherapy could be conceptualized and tailored to help persons with schizophrenia to construct richer and fuller narrative accounts of their lives including their strengths, challenges, losses and hopes. Second we explore how psychotherapy could target the capacity for metacognition or thinking about thinking, assisting persons with psychosis to become able to think about themselves and others in a generally more complex and flexible manner. The needs for future research are discussed along with a commentary on how current evidence- and skill-based treatments may contain key elements which could be considered psychotherapeutic.

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