One of the Aaron T. Beck Psychopathology Research Center’s main research foci is recovery-oriented cognitive therapy (CT-R) for individuals with persistent schizophrenia. As a fusion of the recovery movement’s spirit with cognitive therapy’s evidence base and know-how, CT-R is a collaborative treatment approach that prioritizes attainment of personally-set goals, removal of roadblocks, and engagement of individuals in their own psychiatric rehabilitation. Center efforts to advance recovery-oriented care for individuals with schizophrenia fall into three categories: basic research elucidating treatment targets, the development and validation of CT-R treatment protocols, and dissemination and implementation of CT-R continuity of care programing.
Basic research conducted at the ATB-PRC aims to uncover psychological mechanisms that impair psychosocial functioning and thwart recovery for individuals with schizophrenia. Ongoing investigations involve the development of new measures, as well as cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental studies of negative symptoms, positive symptoms, communication disturbance, and poor psychosocial functioning.
CT-R employs a variety of methods to target negative attitudes and associated beliefs in order to foster change, promote personal mastery, and remove roadblocks to self-sustaining movement toward recovery. CT-R is collaborative, person-centered, and personalized, with all interventions based on the individual’s cognitive case formulation, tailored for patients who have difficulties with attention, memory, and executive functioning, and/or who have low motivation.
Personnel in the ATB-PRC have translated the principles of CT-R into a group therapy format that promotes positive action and the engagement of individuals with schizophrenia in their own recovery process and psychiatric rehabilitation.
ATB-PRC personnel have developed an innovative continuity of care dissemination and implementation program for CT-R through extensive training for psychiatric hospital staff, community behavioral health workers, and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams. Peer specialists and front-line staff learn effective ways to understand and facilitate the recovery of individuals with schizophrenia. Clinicians learn individual and group therapy to help persons with schizophrenia to become motivated in their own psychiatric rehabilitation and experience pleasure and personal mastery.