There are small but robust differences in the effects of different psychotherapies on psychosis symptoms, say the authors of a meta-analysis.
“The differences shown between interventions are small in terms of clinical significance,” say lead researcher David Turner (VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and team. “This may suggest that the major therapeutic effects of interventions occur through common factors”, in keeping with the theory that all psychotherapies have similar effects.
“However, the pattern of differences in efficacy is consistent with the specific aims of the interventions,” they report in The American Journal of Psychiatry.
The found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which focuses on reducing positive symptoms through cognitive restructuring, had a larger effect than other therapies on positive symptoms. The difference was small but statistically robust.
CBT was superior to all other interventions (pooled) for all symptoms and positive symptoms, better than befriending for all symptoms and better than cognitive remediation for positive symptoms.
Conversely, social skills training, which aims to improve patients’ social functioning to help them cope with social situations, had the largest effect on negative symptoms.