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Schizophr Bull. 1995;21(3):379-93.

Personal therapy: a disorder-relevant psychotherapy for schizophrenia.

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15213, USA.


While the long-term care of ambulatory schizophrenia patients requires highly effective interpersonal treatment skills among clinicians, there is little evidence to support an empirically validated individual psychotherapy of schizophrenia. Personal therapy (PT) attempts to address the apparent limitations of traditional psychotherapy by modifying the "model of the person" to accommodate an underlying pathophysiology, minimizing potential iatrogenic effects of maintenance antipsychotic medication, controlling sources of environmental provocation, and extending therapy to a time when crisis management has lessened and stabilization is better ensured. By means of graduated, internal coping strategies, PT attempts to provide a growing awareness of personal vulnerability, including the "internal cues" of affect dysregulation. The goals are to increase foresight through the accurate appraisal of emotional states, their appropriate expression, and assessment of the reciprocal response of others. The strategies are supplemented by phase-specific psychoeducation and behavior therapy techniques. Practical issues in the application of this new intervention are discussed. Preliminary observations from two samples of patients, one living with and the other living independent of family, suggest differential improvement over time among PT recipients.

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