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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Faculty Helps to Develop a Group-and-Family-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis

Dr. Katarzyna Wyka, professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues developed a group-and-family-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for youth at risk of psychosis. The findings were published in the journal Early Intervention in Psychiatry.

[Photo: Dr. Katarzyna Wyka]

The onset of psychosis typically occurs during adolescence or early adulthood and can have a detrimental impact on social and cognitive development. Teaching families to apply cognitive behavioral therapy with their offspring may bolster therapeutic gains made in time-limited treatment. The research team developed a comprehensive group-and-family-based cognitive behavioral therapy program to facilitate psychosocial recovery, decrease symptoms and prevent transition to psychosis in youth at risk. The model is grounded in ecological systems and cognitive theories, resilience models and research on information processing in delusions.

Youth ages 16-21 at risk for psychosis and their families participated in an open trial with pre, post and three-month follow-up assessments conducted by an independent evaluator. The primary clinical outcome measure was the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States.

As a group, participants showed statistically significant decreases in attenuated psychotic symptoms, negative symptoms, depression, cognitive biases and improvements in functioning. Family members showed significant improvements in use of cognitive behavioral therapy skills, enhanced communication with their offspring, and greater confidence in their ability to help. Observed gains were maintained at follow-up.