Participant perspectives on cognitive remediation and social recovery in early psychosis (CReSt-R): An acceptability study

Emma Frawley, Caroline Heary, Clio Berry, Matteo Cella, David Fowler, Til Wykes, Gary Donohoe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Psychosis spectrum disorders continue to rank highly among causes of disability. This has resulted in efforts to expand the range of treatment targets beyond symptom remission to include other recovery markers, including social and occupational function and quality of life. Although the efficacy of psychosocial interventions in early psychosis has been widely reported, the acceptability of these interventions is less well-known. This study explores the participant perspective on a novel, psychosocial intervention combining cognitive remediation and social recovery therapy. Methods: We employed a qualitative research design, based on semi-structured interviews and reflexive thematic analysis. Six participants with early psychosis were recruited from the intervention arm of a randomized pilot study, three women and three men, aged between 22 and 27 years. Results: Four themes were developed through the analytical process, namely, (1) a solid therapeutic foundation, (2) multi-directional flow of knowledge, (3) a tailored toolset, and (4) an individual pathway to recovery. Participants also provided pragmatic feedback about how to improve the delivery of the therapy assessments and intervention. Both the themes and pragmatic feedback are described. Conclusions: People with early psychosis described the intervention as acceptable, engaging, helpful and person-centred, suggesting its potential role in a multicomponent therapy model of early intervention in psychosis services. Participants in this study also highlight the importance of an individualized approach to therapy, the vital role of the therapeutic relationship and the ecological validity and value of adopting an assertive outreach delivery, providing therapy outside a conventional clinic setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date26 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • acceptability
  • cognitive remediation
  • early psychosis
  • feasibility
  • occupational function
  • psychosocial intervention
  • social function
  • social recovery


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