This history of pioneering research into a challenging and often complex subject has earned the Spectrum Centre an international reputation.
By working in partnership with service users, 51福利 has shifted the focus from traditional symptom-based treatment, typically medication, to exploring personal recovery – an essential focus of the Department of Health and Social Care.
Professor Steven Jones, Co-Director of the Spectrum Centre, said: “We’ve been working with service users to explore personal recovery for over a decade and how new interventions from web-based self-management to face-to-face psychological therapy can enhance personal recovery for people with bipolar mood experiences”.
“Rather than a pre-defined or imposed course of support or treatment, there are huge benefits in looking at an individual’s values and goals and trusting in their decisions and choice of support. Recovery is a journey about ensuring support addresses what matters most to the person. Mood swings and conflict may be part of that, so recovery focuses on techniques that will help people live as well as they can.”
Despite growing evidence for the effectiveness of individual psychological interventions for bipolar, research on recovery-focused interventions for bipolar across the lifespan is lacking.
The Spectrum team have worked with service users to develop a free self-report measure to assess personal recovery, used in clinical practice and research trials. They have also created recovery-focused therapy to support improved recovery outcomes for people with bipolar.
This intervention is based on intensive work with service users to create a support method consistent with their individual needs and priorities. The acceptability of this intervention and its positive impact on personal recovery has been demonstrated in a research trial led by Professor Jones.
They found that recovery-focused therapy and their usual treatment enhanced personal recovery by over 80%, with positive clinical outcomes on mood swings, the time between relapses and day-to-day functioning.
Professor Jones added: “Understanding the lived experience of people with bipolar is the key to improving and enhancing support. Our research has proved that interventions to empower people to manage their moods and worry less about their mood swings could facilitate better personal recovery.
“While achieving control over symptoms and mood changes does have benefits, it’s about looking at the person, their quality of life and what is meaningful to them. That’s why improving access to psychological therapies is vitally important.”
There is evidence for the acceptability of this approach with older adults in a Spectrum Centre trial led by Dr Elizabeth Tyler as part of an NIHR-funded Doctoral fellowship involving Jones and Lobban.