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Psychosocial and psychological interventions in early psychosis: essential elements for recovery


  • Conflict of Interest: no conflict of interest has been declared by the author.

Dr Eóin Killackey, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Email:


Aim: To briefly review evidence for some of the psychological and psychosocial interventions in early psychosis that are commonly recommended in treatment guidelines.

Method: Four psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive remediation, family interventions and compliance therapy) and two psychosocial interventions (vocational interventions and behavioural weight management) were chosen. The evidence for the use of each intervention in the first-episode population was briefly considered.

Results: There was considerable evidence for some of these interventions (particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, behavioural weight management, vocational intervention and family interventions). However, most of this evidence has been gathered in populations of people with established schizophrenia and results have been extrapolated to first-episode populations.

Conclusion: Although early evidence indicated that psychological and psychosocial interventions in early psychosis may be more effective than in populations with more established illness (thus, warranting their inclusion in treatment packages), more research is needed. In addition to gathering data on symptom and functional outcomes, this research should provide a base for further arguments for reform of treatment approaches to routinely include psychological and psychosocial interventions.