Randomized Controlled Trial of an Internet Cognitive Behavioral Skills-Based Program for Auditory Hallucinations in Persons With Psychosis

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Abstract

Objective: Despite strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive–behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBTp), most clinicians in the United States have received little or no training in the approach and access remains very low, indicating a potential role for technology in increasing access to this intervention. Coping With Voices (CWV) is a 10-session, interactive, Web-based CBTp skills program that was developed to meet this need, and was shown to be feasible and associated with reduced severity of auditory hallucinations in a previous pilot study. To more rigorously evaluate this program, a randomized controlled trial was conducted comparing the efficacy of CWV to usual care (UC). Method: The trial was conducted with a sample of 37 community mental health center clients with schizophrenia and moderate-to-severe auditory hallucinations, with assessments conducted at baseline, posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up. Results: Engagement in and satisfaction with the CWV program were high. Both the CWV and UC groups improved comparably in severity of auditory hallucinations and other symptoms over the treatment and at follow-up. However, participants in the CWV program showed significantly greater increases in social functioning and in knowledge about CBTp. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: The results suggest that the CWV program has promise for increasing access to CBTp, and associated benefits in the management of distressing psychotic symptoms and improving social functioning.

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