Healthy Lifestyles/iHelp

Working with people experiencing psychotic disorders and co-occurring nicotine dependence

Journal reference


Kay-Lambkin, F., Searl, A., Johnson, M. P., & Baker, A. (2021). Working with people experiencing psychotic disorders and co-occurring nicotine dependence: Attitudes and reflections from psychologists on the Healthy Lifestyles research trial. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 85(2), 204-230. 


The combination of psychotic and substance use disorders compounds the well-documented challenges of treatment engagement, retention, and outcome for these single conditions. This study focuses on the formation of alliance among this important clinical group. Psychologists working on a research trial participated in qualitative interviews focused on their impression of delivering treatment to people with psychotic disorders and concurrent nicotine dependence. Utilizing Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, the authors highlighted the complex and unusual experience of working with people with psychotic disorders and concurrent nicotine dependence, the importance of considering each client as an individual, and the many layers of interaction between therapist and client. The authors found that meaningful therapeutic relationships over the longer term are possible, even when active symptoms are present. There is also potential for telephone-based treatments to work well. Clinical supervision and support, tailored to the unique experience of therapists working with psychotic populations, is pivotal.


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