“Talk” Therapy’s Impact on the Course of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a persisting and devastating disorder, impacting about 1 in 100 persons worldwide.

There is no known cure or a way to prevent it. Much of the front-line intervention is to prescribe neuroleptics.

These agents can be efficacious in quelling florid hallucinations and delusions. However, they demonstrate very troubling side-effects and adverse events; some of which can be fatal. And medication compliance with these agents is a problem as a result given that these events are dose and duration related.

I reviewed an article by Benedict Carey, appearing in the New York Times on October 20, 2015. He reports on recently published research. This research is conducted in the US, and is deemed as the “most rigorous yet” in elucidating the impact of individual therapy combined with significant family support.

It involved 404 persons identified as experiencing their first psychotic episode. It involved an experimental and a control group. The control group received standard and typical care; while the experimental received medications combined with the above-mentioned elements.

I have conducted individual counseling with those suffering from this disorder. In my experience, they respond quite well to “talk” therapy.

The results of the above research, indicate that, indeed, by adding additional elements to the overall regimen ,the positive response to care is potentiated. The researchers note a trend that those in the experimental group required lower doses of neuroleptics. I find this study as reaffirmation for individual psychotherapy/counseling.


Carey, B. (20 October, 2015). New Approach Advised to Treat Schizophrenia, New York Times. Accessed online 5 November 2015.

Image via imtmphoto / Shutterstock.

Richard Kensinger, MSW

Richard Kensinger, MSW, has over forty years of clinical experience in behavioral healthcare as a psychotherapist, trainer, consultant, and faculty member in the Psychology Department, Mount Aloysius College. He has also taught at Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. He is also a lover of "football", known in the USA as soccer. He is currently associated for over 30 years with youth "football", 26 as a referee.
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