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Chapter 6 - What If the Psychosis Is Linked to Trauma?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2018

Douglas Turkington
Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
Helen M. Spencer
Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust
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Back to Life, Back to Normality
CBT Informed Recovery for Families with Relatives with Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses
, pp. 33 - 40
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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Fisher, H. L., Jones, P. B., Fearon, P., et al. (2010) The varying impact of type, timing and frequency of exposure to childhood adversity on its association with adult psychotic disorder. Psychological Medicine, 20(12), 1967–78.Google Scholar
Janssen, I., Krabbendam, L., Bak, M., Hanssen, M., Vollebergh, W., Graaf, R. D., & Os, J. V. (2004) Childhood abuse as a risk factor for psychotic experiences. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia, 109(1), 3845.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mueser, K. T., Goodman, L. B., Trumbetta, S. L., et al. (1998) Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in severe mental illness. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, 66(3), 493–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Read, J., Agar, K., Argyle, N., & Aderhold, V. (2003) Sexual and physical abuse during childhood and adulthood as predictors of hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 76(1), 122.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Romme, M. A., & Escher, A. D. (1989) Hearing voices. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 15(2), 209–16.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Varese, F., Smeets, F., Drukker, M., Lieverse, R., Lataster, T., Viechtbauer, W., Read, J., van Os, J., & Bentall, R.P. (2012). Childhood adversities increase the risk of psychosis: a meta-analysis of patient-control, prospective- and cross-sectional cohort studies. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38(4), 661671.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Further Reading

Ainscough, C. (2000) Breaking free: Help for survivors of child sexual abuse. London, UK: Sheldon Press.Google Scholar
Romme, M., Escher, S., Dillon, J., Corstens, D. & Morris, M. (2009) Living with voices: 50 stories of recovery. Herefordshire, UK: PCCS Books LTD.Google Scholar
The British Psychological Society (BPS) (2014) Understanding psychosis and schizophrenia – available from the BPS website

Websites/Other Information

It is important to only access information if you are feeling able and confident to do so. Ideally, this should be done in the presence of a therapist or health care professional or supported by a close other you can trust, such as a carer, family member or friend. However, if you wish to seek support or additional resources please visit:

Eleanor Longen, health care professional and academic, but also someone with lived experience who gives a very insightful talk on her story of unusual experiences – search for Eleanor Longden TED Talk on YouTube.

The Hearing Voices Network is a great resource containing information on hearing voices, and they also have a number of affiliated groups set up around the country that people can attend –

The NSPCC website contains resources and contact information to receive support if you have been a victim of childhood abuse or neglect –

Links to Other Chapters

There are lots of different reasons for the development of psychosis, so it may also be useful to look at Chapter 5. It is important to be compassionate toward ourselves when we have experienced trauma, so a useful chapter would be Chapter 12. See Chapters 9, 10 and 11 for more detail on the unusual experiences discussed in this chapter (e.g. unusual beliefs, hearing voices, seeing things others cannot see).

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