How Does CBT Help With Psychosis?

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When someone experiences episodes of psychosis, it is a sign of an overall mental health disorder. With the right type of treatment, people can minimize their symptoms of psychosis and even overcome it. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson employs modern, effective approaches to help people with this issue and provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as part of our services. CBT for psychosis helps people understand their emotions, behaviors, and reactions, and learn to control them through positive change.

What is CBT? 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a treatment used to treat several types of mental health disorders. It is often effective in treating anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and severe types of mental illness, including psychosis. CBT is provided by a trained therapist and is based on the following principles:

  • Psychological problems are partly based on a person’s faulty and unhelpful ways of thinking that can be changed.
  • Psychological problems are partly based on unhelpful patterns of behavior that can be unlearned.
  • CBT can teach people healthy coping skills that reduce or eliminate their symptoms of poor mental health


When someone begins CBT, they work with their therapist to design a plan that meets their specific needs. Their treatment strategy will help the person to act independently by putting the skills they learned into play when outside of their therapy sessions. The individual learns coping skills that will help reduce the symptoms they experience. While it’s important for the therapist to do an intake to understand the previous life events that may have contributed to a person needing CBT, the emphasis is placed on how to develop healthy strategies to cope with current day emotions and events.

Does CBT Help With Psychosis? 

CBT can be used to help treat psychosis and provide valuable results. CBT for psychosis often works best when combined with the right prescription medications that also help target the symptoms of this challenging mental health disorder. In fact, using CBT along with additional standard care practices for managing psychosis can provide an improved quality of life. The use of CBT can cause a decrease in the symptoms of psychosis and improve the person’s ability to function in life. In addition, CBT can even help prevent first time psychotic episodes in high-risk individuals. A study showed that those who received regular CBT for psychosis had fewer hospitalizations than those who did not. 

What is the CBT Approach With Treating Psychosis? 

CBT for psychosis has to be adapted to some degree but still follows the same basic principles. Strategies include helping a person determine when something they feel is happening is actually a distortion caused by their mental illness. For example, sometimes a person with psychosis has auditory or visual hallucinations. CBT teaches them to question the incident and believe in proof that what they think is happening is not actually real. This keeps the person from automatically jumping from the hallucination to believing it has to be real. Instead, they learn to juxtapose their feelings with evidence that it is not, which helps calm their emotions.

CBT also teaches people with psychosis to develop a sense of confidence in themselves and their ability to change their perceptions and behavioral patterns. This can include facing specific fears rather than trying desperately to avoid them. Other approaches include using role play to practice how to act and react when faced with symptoms of psychosis. The therapist will also work with the person to help them gain a more realistic understanding of the behaviors, emotions, and motivations of other people.

How Long Does CBT for Psychosis Treatment Last? 

Every person is different, which means how long they should engage in CBT for treating psychosis varies. Recent guidelines recommend the person take part in at least 16 sessions. A general timeline would be attending CBT for up to 36 treatment sessions that take place over nine – twelve months. Each appointment typically lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. Once the person completes therapy, they can attend an additional few sessions to review how they are doing and help prevent a relapse into increased symptoms of psychosis.

Contact Montare Tucson About CBT for Psychosis in Arizona

Experiencing psychosis can be a frightening event for anyone. Fortunately, there are effective measures a person can use to help in the treatment of this mental health disorder. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson provides CBT for psychosis that helps people get a handle on their symptoms with guided assistance. Our residential program provides the perfect opportunity to get away from the challenges and distractions of daily life and work on healing from psychosis.

If you would like to know more about how we treat psychosis and other mental health disorders, visit our admissions page today. We help people stop suffering and improve their mental health.