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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Unusual Experiences in Children: A Case Series

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2012

Lucy Maddox*
Affiliation:
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, UK
Suzanne Jolley
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Kristin R. Laurens
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK, University of New South Wales, Sydney, and Schizophrenia Research Institute, Sydney, Australia
Colette Hirsch
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Sheilagh Hodgins
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK and Université de Montreal, Canada
Sophie Browning
Affiliation:
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, UK
Louisa Bravery
Affiliation:
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, UK
Karen Bracegirdle
Affiliation:
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, UK
Patrick Smith
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
Elizabeth Kuipers
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK
*
Reprint requests to Lucy Maddox, Snowsfields Adolescent Unit, Mapother House, Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK. E-mail: maddox.lucy@gmail.com

Abstract

Background: Over half of children in the general population report unusual or “psychotic-like” experiences (PLEs). The development of a later at-risk mental state is associated with persistent, distressing, PLEs, which are appraised negatively and hard to cope with. We have designed a novel, manualized, cognitive behavioural intervention for children aged 9 to 14 years, which aims to reduce emotional problems, improve coping and resilience, and help children manage PLEs, before an identifiable psychosis risk develops. We report on the feasibility, acceptability and clinical impact of the intervention. Method: Four children who reported PLEs and emotional problems in a community survey completed the intervention, and gave detailed feedback. Clinical outcomes were assessed before, during, and after therapy. Results: Emotional problems, PLE frequency, and PLE impact all decreased during the intervention. Child and therapist satisfaction with the treatment was high. Conclusions: It is feasible, acceptable and helpful to offer psychological interventions to children who report emotional distress and PLEs, prior to the emergence of clear risk factors. Our intervention has the potential to increase resilience to the development of future mental health problems. A larger, randomized controlled evaluation is underway.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2012

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