(June 2017 Newsletter Write-Up) Kate Hardy is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in working with individuals with psychosis in both research and clinical settings. Currently Dr. Hardy is director of the INSPIRE Clinic at Stanford University, providing recovery-oriented care for people with early psychosis.
Psychosis exists on a continuum of no psychosis at one end and psychosis at the other —depending on what is going on; it is not always one or the other. Some factors are stress, drugs, trauma, life experiences and sleep deprivation.
An important method in treating psychosis is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The main goals of CBT for psychosis (CBTp) are to reduce the stress caused by positive symptoms including hallucinations and unusual thoughts and support functioning by addressing negative symptoms. When a thought causes distress, it is the interpretation of thought rather than the event itself. How you think leads to changes in how you feel and what you do, explained Dr. Hardy. Thinking includes how you think about yourself, the world and other people. CBT is inherently normalizing: we all experience negative thoughts; we all engage in unhelpful thinking; we all use coping strategies that aren’t always the most healthy choices. CBT allows for normalizing of psychotic symptoms as well. There is evidence to suggest that CBTp is most effective in those at risk of developing psychosis, early phase psychosis and stable chronic symptoms.
Positive Practices for Working with Individuals with Psychosis:
Form a relationship: develop shared goals; normalize experiences
Review the information and put it together: make sense of experiences through shared understanding
Skill development: develop skills and tools to support goal attainment
Try out the skill and elicit feedback: encourage patient to practice the skill independently and provide feedback on how it worked.
Dr. Hardy at Stanford: firstname.lastname@example.org