Telepsychotherapy with youth at clinical high risk for psychosis: Clinical issues and best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic

Joseph S. DeLuca, Nicole D. Andorko, Doha Chibani, Samantha Y. Jay, Pamela J. Rakhshan Rouhakhtar, Emily Petti, Mallory J. Klaunig, Elizabeth C. Thompson, Zachary B. Millman, Kathleen M. Connors, Lee Ann Akouri-Shan, John Fitzgerald, Samantha L. Redman, Caroline Roemer, Miranda A. Bridgwater, Jordan E. DeVylder, Cheryl A. King, Steven C. Pitts, Shauna P. Reinblatt, Heidi J. WehringKristin L. Bussell, Natalee Solomon, Sarah M. Edwards, Gloria M. Reeves, Robert W. Buchanan, Jason Schiffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early detection and prevention of psychosis has become an international priority. Much of this work has focused on youth presenting with attenuated symptoms of psychosis- those at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR)-given their elevated probability of developing the full disorder in subsequent years. Individuals at CHR may be prone to exacerbated psychological distress during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its subsequent physical isolation measures, as a result of heightened stress sensitivity and comorbid mental health problems. Telepsychotherapy holds promise for reaching this population, especially during the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, there are limited evidence-based guidelines or interventions for use of telepsychotherapy with this population. In this article, we review common clinical issues for individuals at CHR and how they might be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We then review best practices for treatment and adaptations for telepsychotherapy for individuals at CHR, and highlight real clinical issues that we are currently experiencing in a United States- based specialized CHR clinic as we conduct telepsychotherapy via videoconferencing. We conclude with questions for those in the field to contemplate, as well as potential challenges and benefits in using telepsychotherapy with individuals at CHR and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-331
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy Integration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Clinical high risk
  • Prodrome
  • Psychosis
  • Telepsychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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