Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Psychiatry and BioMed Central.

Open Access Study protocol

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of body psychotherapy in the treatment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia – a multi-centre randomised controlled trial

Stefan Priebe1*, Mark Savill1, Ulrich Reininghaus2, Til Wykes2, Richard Bentall3, Christoph Lauber3, Paul McCrone4, Frank Röhricht1 and Sandra Eldridge5

Author Affiliations

1 Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London, Newham Centre for Mental Health, London, E13 8SP, UK

2 Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF, UK

3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Liverpool, Waterhouse Building, 1-5 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L69 3GL, UK

4 King's College London, Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE, UK

5 Centre for Health Sciences, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Abernethy Building, 2 Newark Street, London, E1 2AT, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:26  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-26

Published: 14 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are frequently associated with poor long term outcomes. Established interventions have little, if any, positive effects on negative symptoms. Arts Therapies such as Body Psychotherapy (BPT) have been suggested to reduce negative symptoms, but the existing evidence is limited. In a small exploratory trial a manualised form of group BPT led to significantly lower negative symptom levels both at the end of treatment and at 4 months follow-up as compared to supportive counseling. We designed a large multi-site trial to assess the effectiveness of a manualised BPT intervention in reducing negative symptoms, compared to an active control.

Methods/Design

In a randomised controlled trial, 256 schizophrenic outpatients with negative symptoms will be randomly allocated either to BPT or Pilates groups. In both conditions, patients will be offered two 90 minutes sessions per week in groups of about 8 patients over a period of 10 weeks. Outcomes are assessed at the end of treatment and at six months follow-up. The primary outcome is severity of negative symptoms, as measured by the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS), whilst a range of secondary outcome measures include general psychopathology, social contacts, and quality of life. We will also assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.

Discussion

The study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a promising form of group therapy which may help alleviate negative symptoms that are associated with unfavourable long-term outcomes and have so far been difficult to treat. If the trial is successful, it will add a new and effective option in the treatment of negative symptoms. Group BPT is manualised, might be attractive to many patients because of its unusual approach, and could potentially be rolled out to services at relatively little additional cost.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN84216587