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Larsen, T.K. Bechdolf, A. Birchwood, M. (2003). The Concept of Schizophrenia and Phase-Specific Treatment: Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment in Pre-Psychosis and in Nonresponders. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 31(1):209-228.

(2003). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 31(1):209-228

The Concept of Schizophrenia and Phase-Specific Treatment: Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment in Pre-Psychosis and in Nonresponders

Tor K. Larsen, M.D., Ph.D., Andreas Bechdolf and Max Birchwood

The development of psychosis is often described as a process that goes through different linear stages such as a premorbid and a prodromal phase, with the onset of psychosis as the end state. In this article we elaborate a hierarchical model in which psychosis is understood at different levels of abstraction: we differentiate an etiological, a descriptive, and a therapeutical level, and finally a level of understanding. We regard coping as a special psychological process that starts when symptoms of psychosis first emerge (often many years before treatment is initiated) and continues throughout therapy. In patients who do not respond very well to standard treatment (approximately 15-20% of all patients who suffer from schizophrenia), coping strategies are probably some of the most important long-term prognostic factors. Two cognitive-oriented treatment programs are described: the German model for possible pre-psychosis and the UK tradition for treatment of chronic psychotic symptoms (nonresponders). We conclude that psychological treatment that focuses on coping strategies might be of help both in possible pre-psychotic stages and in nonresponders.

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