CBT Without Medication is Safe and Effective For Psychosis


A small sample of 20 people with schizophrenia spectrum diagnoses who had refused or discontinued medication were given cognitive therapy by researchers in the U.K. No patients deteriorated significantly; 35% had achieved a significant reduction of symptoms by the end of therapy at nine months and 50% had experienced a significant reduction at  a 15 month follow-up. The study was published in the May issue of Psychological Medicine.

Abstract → 

Morrison, A. Hutton, P., et al; “Cognitive Therapy for People with a Schizophrenia Spectrum Diagnosis Not Taking Antipsychotic Medication: an Exploratory Trial.” Psychological Medicine, May 2012, 42(5) 1049-1056


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Of course it fails to look at how traumatic CBT is for many people. Simply telling someone that everything they are thinking is false really does not help a person. Why not let them work it out for themselves. Why not just spend time with them allowing them to be who they are. Why not try and work out where the psychosis comes from.

    Of course none of this even looks at how they can determine what is real and what is not real. I was diagnosed as psychotic for saying I was raped. What were they proposing to do, to simply tell me that it had not occured. The person was eventually convicted?? How can a court of law and even DNA evidence get things so wrong, yet they had no hesitation in telling me it was a figment of my imagination!!

    There is nothing ethical about CBT and the sooner it is outlawed the better. For me personally, at least med’s just sedated me to total zoombie status, they did not say I was less than human to my face, only the 20+ psychologists doing CBT did that to me.

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