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Keywords:

  • acceptance;
  • compassion;
  • early psychosis;
  • mindfulness;
  • schizophrenia

Abstract

Aim

Emerging evidence supports the priority of integrating emotion regulation strategies in cognitive behaviour therapy for early psychosis, which is a period of intense distress. Therefore, we developed a new treatment for emotional regulation combining third-wave strategies, namely compassion, acceptance, and mindfulness (CAM) for individuals with early psychosis. The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptability, feasibility and potential clinical utility of CAM.

Method

A non-randomized, non-controlled prospective follow-up study was conducted. Outpatients from the First Psychotic Episode Clinic in Montreal were offered CAM, which consisted of 8-week 60–75 min weekly group sessions. Measures of adherence to medication, symptoms, emotional regulation, distress, insight, social functioning and mindfulness were administered at baseline, post-treatment and at 3-month follow up. A short feedback interview was also conducted after the treatment.

Results

Of the 17 individuals who started CAM, 12 (70.6%) completed the therapy. Average class attendance was 77%. Post-treatment feedback indicated that participants found the intervention acceptable and helpful. Quantitative results suggest the intervention was feasible and associated with a large increase in emotional self-regulation, a decrease in psychological symptoms, especially anxiety, depression, and somatic concerns, and improvements in self-care.

Conclusion

Overall results support the acceptability, feasibility and potential clinical utility of the new developed treatment. A significant increase in emotional self-regulation and a decrease in affective symptoms were found. No significant changes were observed on measures of mindfulness, insight, distress and social functioning. Controlled research is warranted to validate the effectiveness of the new treatment.