Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia

Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia

by David G. Kingdon, Douglas Turkington

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Drawing on the authors' decades of influential work in the field, this highly practical volume presents an evidence-based cognitive therapy approach for clients with schizophrenia. Guidelines are provided for collaborative assessment and case formulation that enable the clinician to build a strong therapeutic relationship, establish reasonable goals, and tailor


Drawing on the authors' decades of influential work in the field, this highly practical volume presents an evidence-based cognitive therapy approach for clients with schizophrenia. Guidelines are provided for collaborative assessment and case formulation that enable the clinician to build a strong therapeutic relationship, establish reasonable goals, and tailor treatment to each client's needs. Described in thorough, step-by-step detail are effective techniques for working with delusional beliefs, voices, visions, thought disorders, and negative symptoms; integrating cognitive therapy with other forms of treatment; reducing relapse risks; and enhancing client motivation. Special features include reproducible client handouts and assessment tools.

Editorial Reviews

5 Stars! from Doody
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book provides a clear, empirically-based, presentation of theory and techniques for the use of cognitive therapy (CT) to enhance treatment of persons with various symptoms of schizophrenia.
Purpose: The authors, with almost two decades of clinical work and research in England, rightly claim they are presenting "the state of the art guide" for using CT to treat this population.
Audience: Addressed to experienced professionals as well as trainees in mental health, the book is both sophisticated and readable. Rich in research, this is a good place to start for those who simply want to know more about this approach.
Features: After providing a theoretical foundation for using CT in treatment of schizophrenia, subsequent chapters provide techniques. The first of these, discussing the therapeutic relationship, is worth the price of the whole book. Four patients illustrate and give life to four categories of symptoms and are included as examples throughout the discussion of treatment. Bits of dialogue provide scripts for therapists who might want to put into practice techniques that have been explained. The appendix contains helpful handouts for patients and tools for practitioners.
Assessment: This exciting and sensitive book would stretch any reader's appreciation for the possibilities in working with patients with serious mental illness. The skills that are outlined would certainly be useful with others whose thoughts are less disordered, but still a cause for suffering. The accessibility of content in this well-organized book makes it an important resource for students and clinicians.
From the Publisher
"For more than a decade, the work of Kingdon and Turkington has influenced my approach to treating schizophrenia—much to the benefit of my patients. Now, with this groundbreaking book, Kingdon and Turkington have outdone themselves. This timely, readable guide fills a real need for frontline clinicians. It provides tools for helping patients and their loved ones learn about their illness and manage it effectively, without having to feel hopeless or dehumanized as part of the process. Sure to be widely read and influential, this book should become a standard text for teaching clinicians how to engage and work with this challenging population."—Peter Weiden, MD, Department of Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

"An outstanding contribution. This book provides a cogent framework for understanding the experience of schizophrenia, engaging and working collaboratively with clients, and developing and implementing effective treatment plans. The book is replete with lively case vignettes, practical tips for clinicians, helpful handouts for clients, and useful scales for measuring outcomes. Kingdon and Turkington are to be congratulated for filling an important need for accessible guidelines for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of schizophrenia. I encourage all clinicians working with people with schizophrenia to buy this book, which will also serve as a graduate text for students learning about rehabilitation of severe mental illness."—Kim T. Mueser, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School

"A revolutionary approach to treatment of schizophrenia is beautifully detailed in this book by Kingdon and Turkington, the world's leading experts in using cognitive therapy for psychosis. Building on their pioneering research, the authors have written a practical and enormously useful guide to implementing the effective methods of cognitive therapy. Rich with clinical wisdom, the book includes step-by-step instructions that will be helpful to experienced clinicians and students alike. Read this book. I predict it will transform your approach to treating patients with schizophrenia."—Jesse H. Wright, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine

"Kingdon and Turkington show students and mental health practitioners how exciting and hopeful cognitive therapy can be when working with people with schizophrenia. The book provides detailed information about the complex and debilitating symptomatology experienced by persons with schizophrenia, helping readers to increase their understanding and empathy. Unlike any other source, the book teaches how cognitive therapy can be used to work with the beliefs that clients have about distressing symptoms. The authors clearly demonstrate how a collaborative formulation allows individuals to test out the validity of their beliefs and better cope with or recover from schizophrenia. Graduate programs in the core mental health professions should make this book required reading."—Deborah Allness, MSSW, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
"There are many wonderful aspects to this book that make it a compelling and absorbing read for any clinician who treats schizophrenia patients....The chapters are rich in the phenomenology of schizophrenia and ring true to the realities of clinical work with this population....Should be required reading for all clinicians who provide psychotherapy to individuals with schizophrenia."—Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Psychiatric Services
"A cogent, approachable, and flexible model for psychotherapeutic engagement of persons suffering from serious psychotic illness....I urge you to please buy and read this book....You will find yourself able to approach a person with schizophrenia with confidence, and it will change how you think about your work."—Psychiatric Services
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
"Providing useful tools such as handouts to use in therapy as well as concisely described psychological theory, Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia is both practical and scientifically rigorous. Highlighting empirical support for their approach, the authors present clinically applicable concepts and provide readers with optimism about connecting with patients suffering from schizophrenia."—Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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Guilford Publications, Inc.
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Guides to Individualized Evidence-Based Treatment
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Read an Excerpt

Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia

By David G. Kingdon Douglas Turkington

The Guilford Press

Copyright © 2005 The Guilford Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59385-104-9

Chapter One

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia has been problematic in terms of causation and classification since it was first described over a century ago, initially as dementia praecox. It has also become a very stigmatized and misunderstood condition. Schizophrenia can now be diagnosed reliably using criteria developed over the past few decades and is recognized as a diagnostic entity by international classification systems. However, the diagnosis covers a very diverse group of individuals who present in a variety of ways and require a wide range of therapeutic approaches-indeed, Bleuler (1911), when he first used the term, referred to it as "the group of schizophrenias." As a result of the diversity of presenting symptoms, Persons (1986) and Bentall and colleagues (1988) have argued the case for focusing on individual symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder rather than on diagnosis. There is also an intermediate position that considers possible clinical subgroups within the overarching schizophrenia diagnosis (described in detail later in this chapter). Schizophrenia can therefore be viewed from three vantage points: disorder, subtype, and symptom.

These approaches can be considered complementary:

The broaddiagnostic category "schizophrenia" has been useful for communication, education, and research purposes. Information about research into characteristics of people with schizophrenia (e.g., age of onset) and their outcomes with treatment is given in this and the next chapter.

Subgroups provide a way of unifying symptom clusters to further guide therapy where the condition is so diverse in presentation. For example, hallucinations can occur in different circumstances and be linked to different symptoms. They may be abusive and very distressing and require direct work on the effects of trauma. Alternatively, they can support a systematized set of paranoid delusions (e.g., voices attributed to "the CIA"), and the primary focus will then be on dealing with the beliefs underlying the delusional system rather than much direct work on the voices.

A focus on individual symptoms is also valuable. Identifying symptoms is relatively straightforward. Therapy focused on symptoms is simple to understand and can be used in psychological management based on an individualized case formulation.

This chapter describes:

1. The characteristics of schizophrenia, including symptoms and demographic information

2. The cognitive model of schizophrenia, which draws on vulnerability-stress conceptualizations of schizophrenia involving the interaction between

Biological, social, and psychological vulnerabilities and

Individual stresses or stressful circumstances

3. Clinical subgroups of schizophrenia with illustrative cases

4. Ways of understanding psychotic symptoms


The course of schizophrenia is reasonably well understood but unfortunately has changed little over time. New treatments, both pharmacological and psychosocial, may be beginning to have an impact on this, but it is too early to be demonstrable. Of those who develop the illness, traditional teaching has been that approximately 20% make a full recovery, 20% have relapses with no intervening deterioration, 40% have relapses with some deterioration, and fewer than 20% remain chronically ill and show little recovery. There is some evidence (presented below) that this may be a gloomier picture than the reality. However, there is no question that the clinical presentation of schizophrenia to clinicians is a variable one that hinges strongly on the stage of the disorder and the mixture of symptoms.


People with schizophrenia tend to experience a variety of psychiatric symptoms, including certain types of hallucinations (particularly auditory, visual, and somatic-i.e., causing physical sensations), delusions, thought disorder, and loss of insight. These symptoms usually coexist with negative symptoms (alogia, affective blunting, poor motivation, and social withdrawal; see the definitions and explanations later and in Chapter 12), which can be either primary or secondary to depression or medication side effects. Cognitive deficits-interference with thinking-such as disturbed attention, impaired short-term memory, and poor recognition of facial expressions also occur and lead to or perpetuate poor coping abilities and social isolation.

Schizophrenia has been defined by the presence or absence of specific symptoms. A combination of these symptoms and a measure of duration is necessary to make the diagnosis, according to criteria established by the International Classification of Diseases (10th edition; ICD-10;World Health Organization [WHO], 1992) and the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000). ICD-10 requires one very clear-cut schizophrenic symptom or two less clear symptoms to have been present most of the time for a duration of 1 month. DSM-IV-TR requires one characteristic symptom to have been present for a significant proportion of time for a 1-month period or two less characteristic ones (see APA, 2000, for further details).

Symptoms used for diagnostic purposes include:

Hearing his or her own thoughts spoken aloud.

Third-person hallucinations (voices talking about him or her).

Hallucinations in the form of a running commentary on what he or she is doing or thinking.

Somatic hallucinations (experiencing feelings that are believed by the person to originate externally but to others do not appear to do so).

Delusions of thought withdrawal or insertion (beliefs that others can remove thoughts from, or put them into, a person's mind).

Delusions of thought broadcasting (the belief that his or her thoughts are broadcast to others).

Delusional perception (when the person sees or hears the same thing as other people but attaches a meaning to it that is delusional, i.e., not shared by others).

Delusions of passivity ("made" acts, thoughts, or emotions-when the person is convinced that he or she is being made to do, think, or feel things by an external force or by other people when this does not appear to be the case).

Negative symptoms and the medium-term course of the disorder are included in the diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV-TR but not ICD-10. The introduction of such classificatory systems has improved reliability, but the validity of the diagnosis remains in question. In other words, it is now possible to get good agreement on whether someone has signs and symptoms that characterize schizophrenia, but there is still uncertainty about how meaningful a diagnosis (or group of diagnoses) it is in terms of putative causes, prognosis, or treatment response. Prior to the advent of stricter criteria during the 1970s, schizophrenia was diagnosed much more often in the United States as compared to Europe. With the introduction of agreed-upon criteria and major international studies, it has become clear that the incidence of schizophrenia is much the same throughout the world, although there are a small number of groups who do have higher rates (Boydell et al., 2001).

Many other symptoms occur as well as those that are used in diagnosis, and these may be as distressing and disabling, or even more. These include psychotic symptoms such as abusive or command hallucinations (in the second person-e.g., "You're useless" or "Kill yourself") and thought disorder-where the train of thought is very difficult to follow-and nonpsychotic symptoms such as depression, anxiety, obsessions, compulsions, social phobia, and agoraphobia.


Of the general population, 0.5-1% will develop schizophrenia at some point in their lives, although the rate of onset of schizophrenia is quite low (10-20 cases per 100,000 population per year). There is no difference in rates between men and women, but women have a mean age of onset 3-4 years later than their male counterparts. The rate of incidence is higher in urban than in rural areas. Social outcome in developed countries, as opposed to that in less developed countries, has generally been conceived as poor, with episodic relapse or chronic deterioration and heightened suicide risk. People with schizophrenia have a higher-than-expected mortality rate, owing to a number of different causes, with suicide accounting for some of the difference. Young men with relapsing schizophrenia and evidence of repeated self-harm are particularly at risk.

Schizophrenia is arguably the most debilitating psychiatric disorder-psychologically, financially, and socially. It is the 13th most expensive illness in terms of health expenditures, according to the World Bank. The traditional view has been that people suffering from this disorder are seldom employed, are unlikely to develop meaningful relationships, and have a tendency to drift down through the social classes into living in isolation or even on the streets. But this negative view has been repeatedly challenged. A study of people who had been diagnosed as having schizophrenia recently showed that approximately 50% of them, at 15-year and 25-year follow-up, had favorable clinical outcomes (Harrison et al., 2001). Whatever the long-term perspective, much of the workload of community mental health teams involves working with people with schizophrenia and related diagnostic categories (schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and delusional disorder).


Models used to explain schizophrenia have been based on biological, social, and psychological conceptualizations (see Table 1.1). Biological models have emphasized physical causes for the disorder, including abnormalities in structure and function caused by, for example, genetics, birth injury, abnormal development, or viral influences. Social models have focused on environmental influences, including poverty, influences of the inner city and culture, and family and societal pressures. Psychological models have taken a variety of perspectives, often considering complexities in interpersonal relationships.

None of these models has found universal acceptance since all of them have limitations in explaining the available research findings or in being substantiated by them. As a result, models incorporating elements of each have been proposed-based on the interactions between vulnerabilities and stress. These vulnerabilities may have a biological origin (e.g., genetic predispositions), may be inborn psychological characteristics, or may result from social circumstances during intrauterine or early development. Stresses also can be biological (e.g., infection or drug intoxication), psychological, or social. Cognitive models of delusions have recently been set forth by Garety and colleagues (2001) and Beck and Rector (2002), and of hallucinations by Morrison (1998). These syntheses are based on a biopsychosocial model and attempt to include and explain recent research findings.

Biological Vulnerabilities

Schizophrenia certainly has a genetic component in terms of vulnerability. This may be due to a small number of genes acting independently on a "multiple-hit" basis with an additive effect. Evidence of a genetic contribution, or predisposition, to schizophrenia derives from studies of identical and nonidentical (monozygotic and dizygotic) twins. The risk of developing schizophrenia is nearly 50% among children both of whose parents have schizophrenia. One influential follow-up study of twins found that both developed schizophrenia in 36% of the cases where the twins were identical, while for nonidentical twins the figure was 14%. This confirms the importance of heritability in schizophrenia, but since only just over a third of those who are genetically identical develop the disease there must also be an important environmental component to etiology. Confirmation of a genetic proclivity also derives from adoption studies, where it has been demonstrated that twins bought up in different environments have similar (i.e., higher-than-normal) rates of schizophrenia to those bought up together. There are some problems with these studies, in part attributable to other linked factors-for example, a tendency for mothers with schizophrenia to receive poorer antenatal care and a lack of reliability in diagnoses in studies. Twins are also clearly unusual in many ways, and their identity issues in particular may affect their susceptibility to schizophrenia. Viewed from the other direction, 89% of people with schizophrenia will have parents who do not have schizophrenia, 81% will have no affected first-degree relative, and 63% will show no family history of any kind of the disorder. So, the current consensus is that there is a genetic vulnerability in some people with schizophrenia that is probably due to multiple genes acting independently, with an additional environmental component.

Schizophrenia also carries a biological predisposition linked to birth trauma and maternal viral infection. Geddes and Lawrie (1995) estimated that complications in pregnancy and delivery may increase the incidence of schizophrenia by 20%. More specifically, Verdoux and colleagues (1997) found that subjects with onset of schizophrenia before age 22 were three times more likely than those with onset at a later age to have had a history of abnormal presentation at birth and 10 times more likely to have had a history of complicated cesarean birth. The risk of developing schizophrenia for people with obstetric complications, such as prolonged labor (which can cause oxygen deprivation), is four times greater than those who have none, and a history of such complications has been found in 40% of those with schizophrenia. A complicating factor here is that those with schizophrenia have an increased likelihood of obstetric complications due to psychosocial factors.

There is also a seasonal effect: People who develop schizophrenia are more likely to have been born in the late winter or spring. Epidemics of viral illnesses such as measles, influenza, and chickenpox have been shown to correlate with an increase in the numbers of births of people who later develop schizophrenia. The increased risk of developing the illness in this way is probably very small. However, these risk factors may combine with genetic risk to create significant vulnerability to schizophrenia. Individuals with schizotypal personality traits (eccentric behavior with anomalies of thinking and affect) are overrepresented in the families of people with schizophrenia, possibly showing that these personality traits may be markers of an underlying vulnerability or independent risk factors.


Excerpted from Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia by David G. Kingdon Douglas Turkington Copyright © 2005 by The Guilford Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

David G. Kingdon, MD, is a psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service and a Professor at the University of Southampton. He has published widely on cognitive therapy of severe mental illness, among other topics. He has also served as an advisor with the UK Department of Health and as chair of the Council of Europe's Expert Working Group on Psychiatry and Human Rights.


Douglas Turkington, MD, is a liaison psychiatrist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. He is also Professor of Psychosocial Psychiatry in the School of Neurology, Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Newcastle University. A founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, he presents widely on the topic of cognitive-behavioral therapy of schizophrenia, and is actively involved in treatment development and research.

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