Plan D – Introducing a cognitive-behavioural group therapy program for individuals with depersonalisation and derealisation.

Poster C16, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Rahel Flückiger1, Chantal Michel1,2, Jochen Kindler1, Michael Kaess1,3, Stefanie J. Schmidt1; 1University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, 2Developmental Clinical Psychology Research Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, 3Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Heidelberg University

Depersonalisation and Derealisation (DD) are defined as a feeling of unreality and detachment from or unfamiliarity with the surrounding, individuals or objects are experienced as unreal, dreamlike, foggy, lifeless or visually distorted while reality testing remains intact. DD cause significant distress and are associated with poor functional and psychosocial outcomes. The limited number of studies indicates that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) carried out in an individual setting has some positive intervention-effects for patients with DD regarding their symptom-levels. However, there is also evidence suggesting that DD patient’s treatment needs are not sufficiently met by existing interventions. In particular, patients with DD worry a lot about their mental health and are frightened of becoming crazy or losing their mind. Furthermore, they are embarrassed and often try to hide their symptoms. Thus, they frequently experience feelings of helplessness and accompanying depressive symptoms. To address these specific treatment-needs, a special group therapy program for DD patients (assessed by Schizophrenia Proneness Instruments) is being conceptualized and offered as a complementary therapy at the early detection of psychosis service in Bern. In this pilot project, we will use an open group-format including 4-6 patients. The main intervention techniques are based on CBT-techniques and include: stress-management, normalizing, psychoeducation, lifestyle interventions and other relaxation-techniques, such as mindfulness training. As to our knowledge no standardized group-intervention program for DD exists, this novel intervention represents a promising opportunity to influence long-term outcomes and course of DD.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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