CBT for Psychosis

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBT-p)

Building on our unique knowledge and expertise in the area of psychosis, I AM offers CBT-p informed programming for caregivers, people experiencing symptoms of a serious mental illness, as well as adaptable community-based training for professionals across a variety of disciplines.

Our CBT-p programming focuses on improving skills, building capacity, and provides practical tools and techniques to apply in real-life situations. Some of the benefits of our programming include improved communication and relationship-building, knowledge of coping skills tailored to high-needs populations, and improved engagement, which in turn leads to better crisis management.

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an approach used in psychotherapy that allows someone in a supportive role to work closely with an individual and help them identify and solve problems. Together, they overcome difficulties by altering unhelpful patterns of thinking or behaviour, and their responses to situations.

What is CBT-p?

CBT-p is CBT tailored specifically to those affected by psychosis. CBT is a proven treatment for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and there is a growing body of research indicating that CBT can reduce positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions, as well as negative symptoms, including social withdrawal, difficulty in expressing emotions and loss of motivation.

Health Quality Ontario quality standards for the treatment of schizophrenia include CBT-p as an effective treatment in managing the symptoms of schizophrenia, when used in conjunction with medication.

How does CBT-p work?

In contrast to some forms of psychotherapy, CBT focuses on present thoughts and beliefs. It brings awareness to how thought patterns and personal beliefs create reality, and subsequently determines how someone behaves. By identifying negative thoughts and challenging their validity, individuals have an opportunity to replace them with healthier, more constructive ones, which in turn creates a more positive pattern.
CBT-p is grounded in the guiding principles of CBT with the specific aim to reduce the distress associated with the symptoms of psychosis and improve an individual’s functioning.

Who can benefit from CBT-p?


CBT-p for caregivers
When an individual experiences a serious mental illness, their families are also deeply affected. Family involvement is associated with improved outcomes for individuals with mental illness, including increased rates of recovery and decreased involvement with the criminal justice system.

In spite of evidence, families frequently find themselves being treated as outsiders in the mental health system, and due to shortages in mental health services, for both individuals and caregivers, it’s not uncommon for families to become isolated, disengaged with treatment, and to experience relapses and hospitalization of their relative.

Our caregiver workshop provides practical tools aimed to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression in caregivers, build greater resiliency, and increase their capacity to promote the recovery journey of the person they care for.
By providing caregivers easy to apply CBT techniques and teaching them to apply these strategies to their personal situations, leaves them feeling empowered, more optimistic about their relationship with their loved one, and better equipped to communicate productively.

Click here to register for upcoming workshop(s).

CBT-p for individuals
Depending on where an someone is in their journey, our program uses CBT-p to focus on everything from grief and loss around aspirations and relationships; the importance of medication adherence and community supports; revisiting goal-setting; and, understanding relapse prevention and negative symptoms, like anxiety, depression and lack of motivation.
Our CBT-p informed program for individuals is 7-weeks and aims to build skills, and provide individuals with the supports they need to navigate and personalize their recovery.

CBT-p for communities

Within communities across Ontario, workers in frontline settings are often the first to encounter an individual exhibiting signs of serious mental illness, and are oftentimes ill-equipped to mitigate interactions where they may be signs of psychosis and situations escalate.

Building capacity amongst teams is a critical success factor; and there is strong evidence that failure to access the necessary skills to work in these circumstances, can lead to higher rates of burnout, job frustration and vicarious trauma. At an organizational level, this can help curb the potential for high turnover and poor staff retention, as well as enhance collective capacity to respond to individuals exhibiting signs of serious mental illness.

Frontline professionals can include community mental health professionals, public servants, site workers or supportive staff, or anyone who by nature of their work finds themselves unable to effectively engage or communicate with someone experiencing mental health issues.

For more information about our CBT-p programming, please contact [email protected]