Last updated on February 2018

Modified Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Patients With Schizophrenia


Brief description of study

A randomized controlled, prospective, two-armed, mono-centric, assessor-blinded clinical trial will serve to generate preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of modified psychodynamic therapy (MPP-S) in stabilized patients after the first or subsequent episodes of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

Detailed Study Description

Rationale: Compared to the existing evidence for other psychotherapy methods like cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy or family interventions, the scientific basis of psychodynamic psychotherapy for psychoses is weak with respect to randomized-controlled research. Its encouragement by expert opinion and the broad application of this method stands in sharp contrast to the apparent lack of research interest regarding its efficacy and safety and the fact that more people suffering from schizophrenic spectrum disorders will hopefully embark on psychotherapy in the coming years.

The aim of the presented study is therefore on the one hand to explore the efficacy and safety of modified psychodynamic psychotherapy (MPP-S) in a randomized controlled study design. On the other hand, psychodynamic assumptions regarding the treatment of psychotic persons shall be elucidated in an explorative part of the study. For this purpose, a newly developed manual of modified psychodynamic psychotherapy for psychoses will be inaugurated.

Primary objective of the study is to determine whether the administration of MPP-S in addition to standard treatment (=treatment as usual: TAU) will lead to an improvement of psychosocial functioning in outpatients with schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder compared to standard treatment.

Secondary objectives refer to the question, whether symptom domains and necessity of hospital treatment, as well as interpersonal functioning and subjective recovery might be impacted by MPP-S compared to TAU alone. Moreover, theoretical assumptions about possible psychodynamic mechanisms of action of MPP-S led to exploratory hypotheses, which are to be tested.

Safety and tolerability of the psychodynamic intervention will be evaluated by acquisition of safety data during study visits, but also by continuous monitoring of participants' condition after every treatment session and clinical contact.

Additional exploratory objectives of this study deal with the question, whether cerebral functional activity and connectivity within the so-called "Default-Mode-Network" (DMN) measured with fMRI are influenced by psychodynamic psychotherapy in the intervention group compared to the control condition. Moreover, changes of functional correlates of social cognition before and after psychotherapy or TAU will be compared between groups using a video-based social-cognitive task during fMRI.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02576613

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Recruitment Status: Open


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