Schizophrenia

Abstract:

Despite the often grave consequences of schizophrenia, in recent years several types of treatments have gained empirical support as helpful interventions to ease symptoms and improve functioning, including some antipsychotic medications, supported employment, assertive community treatment, integrated treatment for dual disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family psychoeducation, illness management and recovery, cognitive remediation, and social skills training. The successes of these interventions have created evidence-based hope that schizophrenia is a condition that is manageable, treatable, and from which recovery is a very realistic possibility.

In this chapter, the authors first provide a summary of the elements of the aforementioned empirically-supported interventions for schizophrenia, and then discuss important basic skills that clinicians must develop in order to provide practical and effective treatment for this population, which include the adoption of a recovery and strengths-based, shared decision-making philosophy, knowledge about specific symptoms and impairment related to schizophrenia, solid assessment skills, the ability to elicit the client’s natural supports, engage with the family, and interact well with an interdisciplinary treatment team. Additional basic skills in motivational enhancement, cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, and the delivery of psychoeducation are also highlighted. Specific expert competencies are detailed, and the authors posit that skill in these interventions can significantly improve client outcomes, Strategies and resources for clinicians to gain expertise in specific treatments of interest for this disorder are discussed.

Finding opportunities for real-world practice and delivery of these practical and evidence-based treatments, coupled with ongoing supervision and consultation with a trained clinician, can have a tremendous effect on clinicians’ abilities to deliver these important interventions, while conferring significant benefits to clients with schizophrenia over time.