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Managing unusual sensory experiences: A feasibility trial in an At Risk Mental States for psychosis group

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rob DudleyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2020 The Authors. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological SocietyObjectives: To conduct a feasibility study on a new, tablet-delivered treatment for unusual sensory experiences in service-users with an At Risk Mental States for psychosis. Design: A mixed method design was employed, using content analysis to investigate whether service-users and therapists found the new treatment acceptable and helpful. We also collected data on the impact of treatment, but without a control group could not make any claims about effectiveness. Methods: Eligible participants were contacted before starting treatment and offered the chance to participate. Assessments were conducted before and after the treatment, which typically was completed in 4–6 sessions by an accredited CBT therapist. A structured interview was used to collect qualitative feedback. Results: Qualitative feedback suggested that the treatment was acceptable to service-users and therapists, and the progression criteria were met for recruitment, retention, and adherence to treatment. Conclusions: The new treatment targeting subtypes of auditory and visual hallucinations was acceptable to service-users and the benefits of addressing psychological mechanisms thought to contribute to hallucinations was supported by qualitative feedback. Practitioner points: A novel treatment has been developed for unusual sensory experiences based on subtyping voices and using technology to help explain psychological mechanisms that may be linked to hallucinations. The treatment was acceptable to service users and therapists in At Risk Mental States for psychosis services with qualitative feedback supporting the approach. The treatment may be particularly useful in preventing the progressions of psychosis as people who have not developed fixed ideas about the origin of the experiences may be more open to alternative explanations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dodgson G, Aynsworth C, Mitrenga KJ, Gibbs C, Patton V, Fernyhough C, Dudley R, Ewels C, Leach L, Alderson-Day B, Common S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Year: 2021

Volume: 94

Issue: 3

Pages: 481-503

Print publication date: 01/09/2021

Online publication date: 15/12/2020

Acceptance date: 29/10/2020

Date deposited: 18/05/2021

ISSN (print): 1476-0835

ISSN (electronic): 2044-8341

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/papt.12323


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