People who suffer from severe schizophrenia have often been considered beyond help when it comes to talk therapy, and it has been a long held belief that schizophrenics must depend solely on medication management for the treatment of their symptoms, with little hope of improvement in their quality of life. Fortunately, new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine shows that when these patients have access to ongoing psychotherapy, they have far more capacity to improve than was previously.
In the study, researcher at the University of Pennsylvania enrolled 31 people from community health clinics in Philadelphia into a program of weekly therapy sessions, about 50 minutes in length. They continued with their medication maintenance as well. After six months, the patients began to show marked improvement in symptomotology and socialization. After eighteen months, the benefits were clear-the patients were scoring much higher on their overall functioning. Their motivation improved significantly, and some were able to alter their lives in significant, meaningful ways. For example, one woman, who had been frequently hospitalized before the study, took a job as a cook at the end of her treatment, and has not been seen at the hospital since.
What is amazing about this study is that these were individuals suffering from severe schizophrenia, the most debilitating and isolating of psychiatric conditions. If anything, this study shows the promise of the therapeutic relationship, and that tremendous change can be done through long-term therapeutic work.
If you are considering therapy or counseling in Orange County, Irvine, or Newport Beach, please call me at (949) 251-8797.