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WELLFOCUS PPT – modified positive psychotherapy to improve well-being in psychosis: study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial

Beate Schrank14*, Simon Riches1, Tony Coggins2, Tayyab Rashid3, Andre Tylee1 and Mike Slade1

Author Affiliations

1 Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, United Kingdom

2 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Mental Health Promotion, London, United Kingdom

3 Health & Wellness Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

4 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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Trials 2014, 15:203  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-203

Published: 3 June 2014



The promotion of well-being is an important goal of recovery oriented mental health services. No structured, evidence-based intervention exists that aims to increase the well-being in people with severe mental illness such as psychosis. Positive psychotherapy (PPT) is a promising intervention for this goal. Standard PPT was adapted for use with people with psychosis in the UK following the Medical Research Council framework for developing and testing complex interventions, resulting in the WELLFOCUS Model describing the intended impact of WELLFOCUS PPT. This study aims to test the WELLFOCUS Model, by piloting the intervention, trial processes, and evaluation strategy.


This study is a non-blinded pragmatic pilot RCT comparing WELLFOCUS PPT provided as an 11-session group therapy in addition to treatment as usual to treatment as usual alone. Inclusion criteria are adults (aged 18–65 years) with a main diagnosis of psychosis who use mental health services. A target sample of 80 service users with psychosis are recruited from mental health services across the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Participants are randomised in blocks to the intervention and control group. WELLFOCUS PPT is provided to groups by specifically trained and supervised local therapists and members of the research team. Assessments are conducted before randomisation and after the group intervention. The primary outcome measure is well-being assessed by the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. Secondary outcomes include good feelings, symptom relief, connectedness, hope, self-worth, empowerment, and meaning. Process evaluation using data collected during the group intervention, post-intervention individual interviews and focus groups with participants, and interviews with trial therapists will complement quantitative outcome data.


This study will provide data on the feasibility of the intervention and identify necessary adaptations. It will allow optimisation of trial processes and inform the evaluation strategy, including sample size calculation, for a future definitive RCT.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN04199273 – WELLFOCUS study: an intervention to improve well-being in people with psychosis, Date registered: 27 March 2013, first participant randomised on 26 April 2013.

Intervention; Mental illness; Positive psychology; Positive psychotherapy; Psychosis; Randomised controlled trial; Recovery; Well-being