Supportive therapy for schizophrenia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Issues in Mental Health Nursing


Taylor & Francis


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Whitehad, L. (2016). Supportive therapy for schizophrenia. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 37(12), 973-974.



Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder, affecting more than 21 million people worldwide (WHO, 2016 WHO. (2016). Schizophrenia. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/schizophrenia/en/). Schizophrenia is characterized by profound disruptions in thinking that can affect language, perception, and the sense of self (Moe & Docherty, 2014 Moe, A., and Docherty, N. (2014). Schizophrenia and the sense of self. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(1), 161–168. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbt121[CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]). People living with schizophrenia describe experiencing psychotic experiences, such as hearing voices or delusions and the condition can disrupt education and have a profound impact on the ability to maintain employment (Bevan et al., 2013 Bevan, S., Gulliford, J., Steadman, K., Taskila, T., Thomas, R., & Moise, A. (2013). Working with schizophrenia: Pathways to employment, recovery & inclusion. Lancaster University. UK: The Work Foundation. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from http://www.theworkfoundation.com/downloadpublication/report/330_working_with_schizophrenia.pdf), and where schizophrenia typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood (Gogtay, Vyas, Testa, Wood, & Pantelis, 2011 Gogtay, N., Vyas, N. S., Testa, R., Wood, S. J., & Pantelis, C. (2011). Age of onset of schizophrenia: Perspectives from structural neuroimaging studies. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 37(3), 504–513. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbr030[CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]). Most people living with schizophrenia will be prescribed antipsychotic medications to help relieve the symptoms and may also receive therapy (Buckley, Maayan, Soares-Weiser, & Adams, 2015 Buckley, L. A., Maayan, N., Soares-Weiser, K., & Adams, C. E. (2015). Supportive therapy for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, 4, CD004716. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004716.pub4. Retrieved from http://www.cochrane.org/CD004716/SCHIZ_supportive-therapy-for-schizophrenia[CrossRef]). One therapy is supportive therapy, characterised by the provision of general support, rather than specific talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (Hellerstein, Pinsker, Rosenthal, & Klee, 1994 Hellerstein, D. J., Pinsker, H., Rosenthal, R. N., & Klee, S. (1994). Supportive therapy as the treatment model of choice. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, 3(4), 300–306.[PubMed]). A number of definitions of supportive therapy exist and, in this review, supportive therapy interventions delivered by a single person aimed at maintaining a person's existing situation or assisting in people's coping abilities and could involve listening to people's concerns, providing encouragement, or arranging support for daily living were included. Exploring the effectiveness of supportive therapy is important where it is commonly used as the control arm of clinical trials for psychotherapies in schizophrenia and evidence for clinicians on the effectiveness of offering this intervention and understanding the value of supportive elements in their own individual interactions with people who have schizophrenia requires development.


To review the effects of supportive therapy compared with standard care, or other treatments in addition to standard care for people with schizophrenia.



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