Get access

Group cognitive behavioural therapy as a treatment for negative symptoms in first-episode psychosis


Dr Keith Gaynor, University College Dublin, School of Psychology, Dublin 4, Ireland. Email:


Aim: We aimed to test the idea that there is an early critical time period during a psychotic illness when patients may be more responsive to psychological treatment attention.

Methods: We tested this hypothesis by comparing the treatment responsiveness to group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) of 25 first-episode psychosis participants (FEP) and 15 patients with currently stable psychosis (n = 40).

Results: Following 12 sessions of outpatient-based group CBT, there were significant decreases in positive, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and an improvement in quality of life for both groups. However, negative symptoms only improved in the FEP group.

Conclusion: Considering the pernicious nature of negative symptoms as well as the difficulties in treating them, this study provides some support for the concept of early intervention with CBT.