Relapse prevention in schizophrenia and other psychoses by John Sorensen
A treatment manual and workbook for therapist and client
The key characteristics of this groundbreaking therapy are that it is brief, taking place over only four to six 60-minute sessions, and that it can be delivered by practitioners with little specialist training. The author, John Sorensen, has achieved impressive results with clients who have received the therapy. These results include significantly reduced hopelessness, which is known to be closely related to the likelihood of attempting suicide, a major problem in the psychotic population.
Historically, the provision of psychology-based interventions for psychosis has been limited and often clearly insufficient in many areas and the standard treatment continues to be drug-based. However, many clients request a more psychological approach and often reject medication all together. The Sorensen approach to relapse prevention addresses such issues within a framework that recognises the importance of adherence to medication while also acknowledging that many clients may need convincing of the merits of medication. Dr Sorensen's intervention programme is based on the collaborative development of a relapse prevention handbook that also provides the client with an individualised bio-psycho-social formulation of their psychosis-related experiences. Education about the disorder, finding a client's particular triggers for relapse, tailor-made coping strategies, and the inclusion of the client's social network in attempts to stabilise psychotic states are the key elements.
Dr John Sorensen is a Clinical Psychologist and has worked in mental health departments in Denmark and in the UK where research to develop the therapeutic approach was conducted.
'John Sorensen's premise is that while clinicians traditionally do things to sufferers of schizophrenia and other psychoses, a more effective approach to managing and treating patients is to work collaboratively with them in the course of empowering and non-threatening exercises. The text is aimed at staff who are not experts, and works through a 3-stage process centred on the understanding of psychosis, the development of coping strategies (not neglecting the role of medication in preventing relapse) and the immediate social network of the patient (family, friends, employers etc.). This last psychoeducational component is particularly welcome for its focus on the need to maintain improvement and prevent relapse through the reinforcement by significant others of new belief systems and symptom control techniques. Particularly for those working in community mental health services, this manual should be essential reading, and use.' Graham Huff, Head of Psychological Services, Chadwick Lodge, Milton Keynes
Published May 2006; manual shrinkwrapped with 5 workbooks