Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, may be a treatment option for people with schizophrenia. CBT teaches a person to modify beliefs or behaviors that may be leading to negative emotions. The therapy has two main parts: a cognitive component, which helps a person to change his or her thinking about a situation, and a behavioral component, which helps a person to change his or her reactions.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, problem-focused approach with the goal of teaching people who have schizophrenia a variety of coping skills to help them manage difficult situations. This type of therapy is typically given for one hour a week during the course of 12 to 16 weeks.
During cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, a person works with a therapist to learn how his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence each other. In order to change unwanted feelings or problematic behaviors, the therapist teaches strategies to modify negative thoughts and respond to them differently. The therapist teaches the person how to test the reality of his or her thoughts and perceptions, ignore any voices, and manage symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help people with schizophrenia to develop better social and problem-solving skills, reduce the severity of symptoms, and lower the risk of relapse, a period of time when schizophrenia symptoms return.