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Welcome to UPLIFT! UPLIFT is a family treatment program for teens and young adults (ages 13 – 25 years) who are struggling with problems with thinking, mood, and daily functioning – what we call psychosis risk syndromes.  We are a network of seven university clinics doing research on effective treatments for young people with psychosis syndromes. We are inviting you to learn about psychosis syndromes and determine whether you and your family want to take part in our treatment and research program. There are seven universities involved (see Contacts), University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada), Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (Boston, MA), Zucker-Hillside Hospital (New York), and Yale University (New Haven, CT).


If you or a family member (ages 13-25) have some of the following symptoms, you may be eligible for this treatment study.  If so, please contact the study site nearest you by clicking on the Study Contacts tab.

Trouble with Thinking

  • Confusion about what is real and what is imaginary
  • Feeling worried or suspicious of other peoples intentions
  • Thinking that ordinary things have special meaning for you
  • Feeling that your ideas are or behaviors are being controlled by outside forces
  • Unrealistic ideas of being famous or having superior abilities (for example, being able to predict the future; having ESP)
  • Preoccupation with supernatural forces
  • Trouble expressing yourself or getting to the point in conversations

Perceptual Disturbances

  • Being sensitive to sounds or easily distracted by background noises
  • Hearing things that other people don’t hear (for example, your name being called)
  • Seeing shadows or faces that others don’t see
  • Smelling, tasting, or feeling unusual sensations that other people don’t experience

Trouble with Motivation or Pleasure

  • Wanting to spend more time alone
  • Not feeling motivated to do things you usually enjoy (for example, playing music)
  • Having trouble keeping up with personal hygiene (for example, showering)
  • Trouble understanding or focusing on conversations or written materials
  • Less expression of emotions on your face or in your voice
  • Not having much to say to others
  • Others may say that you don’t seem interested in them


What are the Goals of the UPLIFT Program?

Psychosis risk syndromes are not the same as psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.  People with psychosis risk syndromes have milder forms of thinking and perceptual disturbances, and having these symptoms doesn’t mean you will develop a psychotic disorder. In fact, the purpose of our treatment program is to help prevent young people from developing more severe forms of psychosis and to improve their functioning. 

We believe that effective prevention involves working with the whole family, not only the person with symptoms. If you are enrolled in our program, you will be asked to take part in a series of interviews about your symptoms, history, and social and family relationships.  We will interview your parent(s) as well.  If you are eligible for the study (that is, you are between the ages of 13 and 25 and have a Psychosis  risk syndrome) we will randomly assign you and your family to one of two 6-month long treatments.  You will not have to pay for these treatments.

***Note: Currently, all treatment is being provided via telehealth (Zoom platform or other).***

Family-focused therapy (FFT), an 18-session therapy involving you and your parents (and siblings, if they are available).  FFT involves one-hour sessions of psychoeducation (learning about psychosis syndromes, what causes them, how they are affected by stress, and how to keep them from getting worse), communication enhancement training (practicing effective ways of speaking and listening to each other as a family), and problem-solving skills training (learning to identify and solve problems in your social, school, work, or family life). Your therapist will be well-trained and skilled in conducting the sessions.

Enhanced care (EC) is an 8-session therapy also involving you and your family members, but with an opportunity for individual sessions as well. The first 3 sessions are held weekly and are for you and your family.  As in FFT, you’ll learn how to cope with psychosis syndromes and strategies for preventing them from getting worse.  Then, you will get individual supportive therapy sessions once a month for the next 5 months.
Currently, the study is being conducted by telehealth video sessions so that you will not have to leave your home.  You will be asked to use a mobile app for the 6 months of treatment with questionnaires to complete that will help us measure your progress. The study requires an 18-month commitment.  The first 6 months are devoted to treatment, and then at months 6, 12, and 18 you’ll be asked to complete research interviews and questionnaires. You will be compensated for your time in completing interviews.

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