By Sarah Fader

I’ve been doing behavior therapy for OCD and Anxiety. I’ve also been targeting ADHD too because it is causing me problems in life. I’ve been thinking about behavior therapy in terms of other mental health issues. I wonder if it would treat Schizophrenia. I started doing some research to see if there was any evidence to this effect. According to Psychiatric Times, Behavior Therapy is a recognized intervention for Schizophrenia. Medication is the first line of treatment, but behavior therapy can help patients with psychotic disorders according to clinical trials.

There is significant evidence that maybe if you live with Schizophrenia you could try behavior therapy sessions in addition to taking medication for psychosis. I find this interesting because I would never have thought that behavior therapy or CBT would be helpful for psychotic disorders. I asked Allie Burke, Best-Selling Author who is Schizophrenic, about her experience with Cognitive Therapy. She said “Personally it is very helpful because it challenges me to dispute irrational thinking patterns. It does not help with psychosis but I’m fortunate to have that controlled with medication.”


I know that living with mental illness isn’t easy regardless of your issues.


Behavior therapy helps with a number of psychological disorders. It makes sense actually. If we change our behavior in reaction to problematic symptoms, our quality of life will improve. I wonder if the psychotic symptoms would improve with consistent use of behaviorally based therapy. It seems possible. I also wonder if some people with psychotic disorders would be resistant to this form of therapy. I know that living with mental illness isn’t easy regardless of your issues.


Medications are still first-line treatment.


Karen Swanay, a therapist who specializes in CBT, says “I have used CBT and behavioral training with clients. Medications are still first-line treatment though, Because serious hallucinations don’t respond to CBT. There is a book about this called Cognitive Therapy of Schizophrenia by David G. Kingdon and Douglas Turkington.”

The jury is out, does Schizophrenia respond to behavior therapy? I’m not sure because I am not Schizophrenic. What do you think? Do you live with psychosis? If so, would you consider trying behavior therapy in addition to medication to treat your symptoms?

Does Behavioral Therapy Work For Schizophrenia?
Sarah FaderCEO of
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.