Background: There is increasing evidence for the effectiveness of structured psychological therapies for bipolar disorder. To date however there have been no psychological interventions specifically designed for individuals with early bipolar disorder. The primary objective of this trial is to establish the acceptability and feasibility of a new CBT based intervention (Recovery focused CBT; RfCBT) designed in collaboration with individuals with early bipolar disorder intended to improve clinical and personal recovery outcomes.
Methods and design: This article describes a single blind randomised controlled trial to assess the feasibility and acceptability of RfCBT compared with treatment as usual. Participants will be recruited from across the North West of England from specialist mental health services and through primary care and self referral. The primary outcome of the study is the feasibility and acceptability of RfCBT as indicated by recruitment to target and retention to follow-up as well as absence of untoward incidents associated with RfCBT. We also intend to estimate the effect size of the impact of the intervention on recovery and mood outcomes and explore potential process measures (self appraisal, stigma, hope and self esteem).
Discussion: This is the first trial of recovery informed CBT for early bipolar disorder and will therefore be of interest to researchers in this area as well as indicating the wider potential for evaluating approaches to the recovery informed treatment of recent onset severe mental illness in general.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN43062149.