Paranoia denotes the unfounded idea that others intend to cause you harm. Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few have many. Persecutory delusions represent the severest form of paranoia. In this presentation a number of recent experimental studies will be described that test causal roles for psychological processes in the occurrence of paranoia. The advances in understanding are being used to develop a new theoretically-driven cognitive treatment for persecutory delusions. New data will be presented from clinical outcome trials that each target a separate causal factor in severe paranoia, including worry, negative schematic beliefs, reasoning biases, avoidance behaviours, and disturbed sleep.
Daniel Freeman is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and a NIHR Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of University College Oxford and an honorary consultant clinical psychologist in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
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