|Authors||Heriot-Maitland, C., Gumley, A., Wykes, T., Longden, E., Irons, C., Gilbert, P. and Peters, E.|
Compassion-focused therapy (CFT) is an evolution-informed biopsychosocial approach that seeks to cultivate attachment and care motivational systems and their psychophysiological regulators. These can counteract some of the harmful effects of social threat, inferiority, shame, self-criticism and depression, which are common in people with psychosis and undermine their well-being, social trust and ability to feel safe. This study aimed to test the acceptability of a novel manualized individual CFT intervention for psychosis (CFTp).
A non-concurrent, multiple-baseline, case series design, with three phases: baseline, intervention and follow-up.
The 26-session CFTp intervention was provided for a sample of eight people with distressing psychotic experiences and a psychosis-related diagnosis. The study aimed to assess acceptability of CFTp and to test clinically reliable improvements while receiving the intervention, compared to a baseline period.
Seven of eight participants completed the therapy, and clinically reliable improvements were found at both the single-case and group level of analysis. At the single-case level, over half the participants showed improvements in depression (5/7), stress (5/7), distress (5/7), anxiety (4/7) and voices (3/5). One participant showed a deterioration in anxiety (1/7) and dissociation (1/7). At the group level (n = 7), there were significant improvements in depression, stress, distress, voices and delusions. The improvements in voices, delusions and distress were sustained at 6- to 8-week follow-up, but depression and stress dropped slightly to trend-level improvements.
CFTp is a feasible and acceptable intervention for psychosis, and further investigation is warranted with a randomized controlled trial.