Professor Daniel Freeman | 25 October 2018

Paranoia: developing the theoretical understanding and treatment

Paranoia denotes the unfounded idea that others intend to cause you harm. Many people have a few paranoid thoughts, and a few have many. This is unsurprising: deciding whether to trust or mistrust is a vital aspect of human cognition, but accurate judgment of others’ intentions is challenging. Persecutory delusions represent the severest form of paranoia. It is well-recognized that treatments for persecutory delusions need significant improvement.

A programme of research will be described that has built a new translational psychological treatment, with the potential for widespread use, that aims to lead to much high rates of recovery in persistent persecutory delusions. Epidemiological, experimental, and clinical trial studies will be presented.  Further, the potential for delivery of psychological intervention using immersive virtual reality will be outlined.