Internet-based CBT for Individuals with Schizophrenia

Project: Research project


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based practice (EBP) for the treatment of persistent psychotic symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia. However, CBT is not readily available to these individuals for a variety of reasons: they live in rural settings, they don’t have access to trained clinicians, or due to the paucity of clinicians trained in CBT for psychosis in the United States. This represents a significant barrier to these individuals receiving an EBP that could improve the quality of their lives and facilitate their recovery.
One way to disseminate CBT to individuals with schizophrenia is via the internet. There are approximately 100 computer/internet based treatment programs, although none have been developed for schizophrenia. Such a program could increase access to CBT for approximately 50% of the population of individuals with schizophrenia.
We are proposing to conduct a pilot evaluation of a new internet-based CBT program for schizophrenia. The program was developed by Dr. Jen Gottlieb at Dartmouth Medical School and programmers at The CBT program has modules devoted to treating paranoid ideation/delusions and auditory hallucinations, and has the following features: Interactive animated avatars to exemplify psychoeducation, common experiences with these symptoms and coping strategies; interactive game-based CBT skill-building; practice exercises; printable homework assignments; and individualized progress “folders.” This intervention has the potential to be used as a stand-alone treatment for people without mental health service access or as an adjunct to in-person CBT.
To examine the feasibility and potential clinical benefits of internet-based CBT (IB-CBT), we will conduct an open trial for 16 individuals with schizophrenia. Participants will be drawn from the UNC Hospitals Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP), as well as the STEP and Outreach and Support Intervention Services (OASIS) community clinics. The treatments will be monitored by a licensed clinical psychologist or an advanced clinical psychology graduate student (who will be supervised by the clinical psychologist). Participants will be assessed by a trained rater (blind to treatment condition) at baseline and post-treatment on symptoms, well-being, quality of life, and relapse rate.
Effective start/end date9/28/109/27/13


  • Foundation of Hope for Research and Treatment of Mental Illness


Cognitive Therapy
Evidence-Based Practice
Program Evaluation
Clinical Psychology
Mental Health Services
Medical Schools
Psychotic Disorders
Quality of Life