A brief CBT intervention for depersonalisation disorder in psychosis: Results from a feasibility randomised controlled trial

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Depersonalisation is a feeling of profound disconnection from oneself or surroundings including one’s body. There is some conceptual overlap between symptoms of depersonalisation and those of psychotic disorders, however diagnostic protocols have precluded the diagnosis of depersonalisation disorder in the context of psychotic conditions considering the former better conceptualised as sequelae of the latter. However there has been a recent interest in depersonalisation in psychosis, perhaps due to the common aetiological factors of trauma and anxiety. In this context, we aimed to review the literature to determine the prevalence of depersonalisation symptoms and depersonalisation disorder in the context of psychosis. MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science were searched using standardised search terms in January 2016. Sixteen studies were identified, involving 804 participants. Rates of depersonalisation symptoms ranged between 33-100% and threshold for depersonalisation disorder was met in 3.5-54% of participants. When present, depersonalisation symptoms were associated with more severe depression, anxiety and some psychotic symptomatology. Studies included were at some risk of bias, particularly in sample selection and measurement of depersonalisation. While, further rigorous assessment of depersonalisation symptoms in the context of psychosis is required to address methodological concerns, these studies suggest that depersonalisation is present in those with psychotic symptoms and may represent a useful target for intervention.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorElaine Hunter (Supervisor) & Emmanuelle Peters (Supervisor)

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