Question: In adults of working age who hear distressing voices, how effective are psycho-educational groups, compared to treatment as usual, in increasing coping skills, improving stress management and improving understanding of the experience and potential triggers of voice hearing?


Evidence of the effects of any psycho-educational intervention (group or individual) on outcomes related to knowledge of illness, symptoms, social and general functioning, and compliance with medication was contradictory. Data from two systematic reviews, both with significant methodological weaknesses, indicated that group psycho-educational interventions and psycho-educational interventions which include both patients and families may be associated with small reductions in relapse rates compared with usual care. The results of one small, but high quality, randomised controlled trial (RCT) indicated that group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and group psycho-educational interventions are likely to be similarly effective, though there was some indication that group CBT may be associated with fewer re-hospitalisations. We were not able to identify any studies which specifically compared outcomes assessing coping skills, stress management and understanding of the experience and potential triggers of voice hearing in patients receiving group psycho-educational interventions compared with those receiving usual care. Further, high quality RCTs are needed, focussing on the effects of group-psycho-educational interventions on outcomes which measure patients' experience of and ability to cope with their illness.

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