Cognitive Group Therapy for Paranoid Schizophrenics:: Applying Cognitive Dissonance

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Abstract

Psychotherapy with paranoid schizophrenics is a hard and often unrewarding task. Individual and group therapies are usually supportive only and are not aimed at changing the paranoid mode of thinking. Although cognitive therapy has been applied in schizophrenic patients, it has not gained wide acceptance.

Cognitive dissonance postulates that individuals experience discomfort and tension when holding two dissonant beliefs simultaneously. We here present the group therapy of six schizophrenic paranoids treated by modified cognitive group therapy implementing cognitive dissonance as the vector of change. A control group of six age- and sex-matched paranoid schizophrenics was treated by supportive group therapy. Analysis of the results, using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), during therapy and at follow-up of 4 weeks demonstrates statistically significant improvement in total PANSS score as well as in the positive symptoms subscale.

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