Effectiveness of cognitive therapy with coping training for persistent auditory hallucinations: a retrospective study of attenders of a psychiatric out-patient department

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Recent studies have suggested positive effects of cognitive therapy on psychotic symptoms. However, the effects of coping training are less clear, and generalization to daily functioning has not been attempted for either intervention. A total of 40 patients with therapy-refractory auditory hallucinations received standard care plus cognitive therapy with coping training. In a retrospective, descriptive study, multiple assessments of outcome were measured. The experimental therapy seems to improve both overall symptomatology and quality of life, and is acceptable to both patients and relatives. Generalization to daily functioning and continuation over time was observed. Improvements with regard to the occurrence of hallucinations, fear, disturbance of thought, social interactions and daily activities were significant. Complete disappearance of hallucinations occurred in 20% of participants, and in 40% of those who were regularly discharged from treatment. The level of satisfaction with therapy was high (78%), and the drop-out rate was low (9%). Improvement was not significantly correlated with psychiatric diagnosis (schizophrenia vs. other diagnoses), and was sustained at follow-up after 1 year.

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