Tag Archives: schizophrenia

Hertfordshire professor at the prestigious Maudsley Debate

Professor Keith Laws

Professor Keith Laws

Has Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis had its day?  Have its benefits been overstated? 

Has CBT for psychosis been oversold?” is the subject of the next Maudsley Debate taking place today (Wednesday 2 April 2014) with Keith Laws, professor of cognitive neuropsychology at the University of Hertfordshire, debating for the motion.

The debate will be chaired by Professor Sir Robin Murray in front of a large public audience – with the presentations also being published in the British Medical Journal.1404 CBT-for-Psychosis-Final-Poster399x282

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a recognised treatment for people with psychosis and is recommended as a treatment of choice by health organisations around the world for people with psychosis and schizophrenia.

However, the most extensive study ever undertaken into the effect of CBT on the symptoms of the disorder, published in January this year, found little evidence of efficacy.  The international team of researchers, led by Professor Laws performed a new meta-analysis examining CBT in fifty clinical trials involving 3,000 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.

This new research raises questions about whether CBT should continue to be recommended in clinical practice. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) currently recommends CBT as a treatment to be offered to ‘all patients with schizophrenia’ in England and Wales. Professor Laws and colleagues think this recommendation should be reconsidered – and this is the subject of the forthcoming Maudsley Debate.

The Maudsley Debates focus on issues that have a direct impact on mental health services, service users and mental health professionals.  They are held three times a year at the Institute of Psychiatry, based at King’s College London.  Previous speakers include Germaine Greer, Lord David Owen, mental health tsar Louis Appleby, journalist Ben Goldacre, Baroness Mary Warnock and many more besides.

Read Professor Laws’ review of why the evidence of CBT as a treatment for schizophrenia is not as strong as some thought at the Guardian online today.

Tonight’s Maudsley Debate will be available as a podcast after the event – so listen in and make your mind up!

So what do you think?  Should CBT remain the treatment of choice for schizophrenia and psychosis? Or have its benefits been oversold?

Mind-pops more likely with schizophrenia

Have you had a mind-pop experience today?  Were you cleaning your teeth this morning and thinking about what you were going to wear for work when all of a sudden an unrelated word or tune popped into your mind? Did you think “where on earth did that come from”? 

Almost everyone reports experiencing mind-pops at some time or another, but some experience them more than others according to research conducted by Professor Keith Laws, Professor Lia Kvavilashvili and Dr Ia Elua from the School of Psychology

Mind-pops are those little thoughts, words, images or tunes that suddenly pop into your mind at unexpected times and are totally unrelated to your current activity.

In the paper to be published in Psychiatry Research, findings suggest that mind-pop experiences are related to hallucinations in those people suffering from schizophrenia.

The researchers compared the frequency of mind-pops in people with schizophrenia, people with depression and mentally healthy individuals.   Their study found that all 100% schizophrenia patients reported experiencing mind-pops, compared to 81% of the depressed patients and 86% of the mentally healthy individuals.  In addition, schizophrenia patients experienced mind-pops significantly more frequently than depressed patients and mentally healthy people.  

Based on the findings of the research, the team has suggested that verbal hallucinations, the chief symptom of schizophrenia, may be related to the mind-pop phenomenon that almost everybody experiences, but just manifests itself in a different way!