Group psychotherapies for schizophrenia

Recommendations for the treatment of schizophrenia suggest that a combination of pharmacological and psychological interventions will provide the most effective treatment option. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) currently recommends that people with schizophrenia are offered pharmacological treatments and (where available) specific psychological interventions which include individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), family intervention and group based art therapy (NICE 2014). The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) made a similar recommendation but with the exclusion of group based art therapy (SIGN 2013).

While much research has focused on individual therapies, the benefits of group psychotherapies for schizophrenia (including CBT, music and art therapies, social skills training etc.) have received less attention from researchers.

In this study, the authors acknowledge that the evidence for group therapy has been limited in scope and often restricted to a descriptive analysis of the literature (Orfanos 2015). The authors suggest that evidence for group CBT links this therapy to an improvement in the social skills displayed by people with schizophrenia and that a group therapy approach will in general increase access to treatment, maintain efficacy and reduce therapeutic costs (Orfanos 2015).

This systematic review aimed to:

Estimate the effect of different group psychotherapeutic treatments for schizophrenia, and
Explore whether any overall ‘group effect’ is moderated by treatment intensity, diagnostic homogeneity and therapeutic orientation.