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Developing and piloting a new intervention to improve communication between psychiatrists and patients with psychosis - The TEMPO programme (Training to Enhance CoMmunciation with Patients with PsychOsis)

Centre for Psychiatry

Funding Body: Research for Patient Benefit
Project Investigator: Stefan Priebe


Communicating with patients with psychosis can be challenging and frequently leads to breakdowns in communication [1].

Psychiatrists need to be able to effectively communciate with patients with psychosis to ensure patient engagement and to diagnose and treat them effectively. However, beyond training in generic communication skills, psychiatrists are currently not specifically trained in how to communicate with people with psychosis [2-3].

Our project aimed to address this gap: We have developed the first communciation skills training programme for psychiatrists, nationally and internationally, that is sepcific to psychosis.

The training programme has been developed with experts in the field and is based on findings from our research on communication and psychosis conducted over the course of ten years, our large database of video-recorded psychiatric consultations as well as service-user involvement.

The training program consists of four consecutive weekly group sessions of 4 hours each, plus one individual ’seeing yourself session’ where the psychiatrists review their own consultations with their own patients.

A variety of different training methods are utilised, such as role-plays with professional actors and video-feedback, experiential ’hearing voices’ exercices and working with ’real consultation examples’.

Activities & output

The TEMPO training was piloted within a cluster randomised controlled trial in East London NHS Foundation Trust and North East London NHS Foundation Trust. The 21 psychiatrists particpating in the study were randomised to either the intervention or control group (waiting list). For each of these psychiatrists, up to six of their patients with a diagnsosis of schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder were recruited (N=98).

Outcome easures were collected at three time points and two of their consultations video-recorded. We investigated if the training had an effect on psychitatrists' self-confidence in communciating with patients with psychosis, whether they could apply the new way of communciating in practice and whether it had an effect on the quality of their therapeutic relationship, treatment satisfaction and adherence (at 6 months follow-up).

Results suggest that psychiatrists who received the training were more confident and they used the new communication significantly more than psychiatrists in the control group. Patients in the intervention group were more satisfied with their treatment and both psychiatrists and patients rated their relationship more positively. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of patients' adherence. This is the first specific intervention to improve communication and outcome in the treatment of psychosis.

For more information please contact Paula John, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Dr Rose McCabe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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