Monday, 15 September 2014

Community-based psychodynamic group psychotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia

'Community-based psychodynamic group psychotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia'
by Giuliano Aiello & Sheraz Ahmad
Advances in Psychiatric Treatment Journal, 2014, 20:323-329.


We describe the work of a psychodynamic psychotherapy group for individuals affected by chronic schizophrenia in our community-basedrehabilitation and recovery service. Despite presenting with negative symptoms, over time patients made good use of the psychodynamic setting: they attended, expressed emotions, made connections and reflected within the group on their personal experience of mental ill health.  

We discuss the rationale and indications for psychodynamic psychotherapy for individuals with severe and enduring mental illnesses. We also reflect on the challenges we faced working psychodynamically with psychosis and on the necessary adaptation of the approach to work with chronic psychosis. We present vignettes from group sessions to illustrate themes that we identified in the therapy, making links with the literature. 

We conclude that the unstructured setting of the psychodynamic group approach can help individuals affected by most severe forms of psychosis to make sense of their experiences and use the space.

Learning Objectives
  • Understand the rationale for psychodynamic group interventions for psychosis.
  • Understand what adaptations of psychodynamic approaches are necessary to work with patients with psychosis.
  • Change attitudes toward offering psychodynamic interventions for psychosis."

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