Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder, which involves a breakdown in the individual’s relationship and understanding of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Individuals with schizophrenia may see or hear things that do not exist, speak in strange or confusing ways and experience extreme levels of paranoia.
Individuals who suffer from schizophrenia can often experience faulty perceptions, withdrawal from reality, delusional and bizarre ideas, beliefs that others are trying to harm them, incoherent speech and a feeling of being detached from reality.
They may also socially withdraw, become hostile, deteriorate in personal hygiene, demonstrate a flat expressionless gaze, difficulties in expressing emotions, inappropriate laughter or crying, changes in sleeping patters, odd or irrational statements, difficulties concentrating, extreme reactions to criticisms and speaking to themselves.
Before any interventions are discussed or delivered the individual will take part in an assessment. The assessment begins by allowing the patient to express their thoughts regarding their experiences while the therapist listens actively.
The therapist then formulates the problem with the client. The formulation of symptom causation and maintenance is also shared with the patient and evolves throughout the therapy as new information emerges.
The therapeutic techniques used for patients with schizophrenia are based on the general principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Links are established between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The client and therapist then work together testing the individuals maladaptive beliefs by looking at how they occurred, if there are any cognitive distortions and identifying what the triggers are.
Normalization is also a large part of the therapy, this involves increasing the clients understanding into the experiences that they are having and learning to manage these.