Psychosocial approach in schizophrenia

Although the use of neuroleptics yields good results in the treatment of schizophrenia, there are many non-pharmacological treatment methods that can be added to the treatment. Briefly, these are: supportive individual psychotherapy, supportive group psychotherapy, supportive family psychotherapy, educational family psychotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation, promoting social skills, professional education and crisis intervention.

Psychosocial treatments

The presence of “High expressed emotion” within the family increases the risk of a relapse in the patient. In other words, if the family displays over-emotional responses this has a serious negative effect on the patient. This has to be addressed in family treatment sessions. Also, emotional expression exercises are particularly beneficial to schizophrenic patients.


Patients and families should read up as much as possible on the illness and find out about all its aspects. Furthermore, they should directly participate in the planned treatment program.

Families should be informed about useful activities like hospital day groups, self-help groups, work groups, rehabilitation groups, and should initiate the organising of such activities. In this disease it is most important that the family and the patient both understand that this is a physical illness and that treatment must continue throughout the patient’s lifetime.

Counselling, family treatment and group therapy

The patient will be under constant emotional stress with regards to his family, therefore regular counselling is of benefit. Treatment programs which aim at regulating the interrelationship between the schizophrenic patient and his family are very helpful. In addition, group therapy is used to reorganize the patient’s communication with the community and this yields very good results.

Different psychotherapy techniques in schizophrenia

In addition to the above, there are various psychotherapy techniques which can be employed in the treatment of schizophrenia. At this point it must be remembered that the persons who conduct the psychotherapy, have to be experienced doctors and psychologists who have undergone many years of training. If psychotherapy is proposed, it should be questioned whether the person proposing it has sufficient knowledge and experience in this field.

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