BACKGROUND: Persecutory delusions are strong threat beliefs about others' negative intentions. They can have a major impact on patients' day-to-day life. The Feeling Safe Programme is a new translational cognitive-behaviour therapy that helps patients modify threat beliefs and relearn safety by targeting key psychological causal factors. A different intervention approach, with growing international interest, is peer counselling to facilitate personal recovery. Combining these two approaches is a potential avenue to maximize patient outcomes. This combination of two different treatments will be tested as the Feeling Safe-NL Programme, which aims to promote psychological wellbeing. We will test whether Feeling Safe-NL is more effective and more cost-effective in improving mental wellbeing and reducing persecutory delusions than the current guideline intervention of formulation-based CBT for psychosis (CBTp). METHODS: A single-blind parallel-group randomized controlled trial for 190 out-patients who experience persecutory delusions and low mental wellbeing. Patients will be randomized (1:1) to Feeling Safe-NL (Feeling Safe and peer counselling) or to formulation-based CBTp, both provided over a period of 6 months. Participants in both conditions are offered the possibility to self-monitor their recovery process. Blinded assessments will be conducted at 0, 6 (post-treatment), 12, and 18 months. The primary outcome is mental wellbeing. The overall effect over time (baseline to 18-month follow-up) and the effects at each timepoint will be determined. Secondary outcomes include the severity of the persecutory delusion, general paranoid ideation, patient-chosen therapy outcomes, and activity. Service use data and quality of life data will be collected for the health-economic evaluation. DISCUSSION: The Feeling Safe-NL Trial is the first to evaluate a treatment for people with persecutory delusions, while using mental wellbeing as the primary outcome. It will also provide the first evaluation of the combination of a peer counselling intervention and a CBT-based program for recovery from persecutory delusions. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN25766661 (retrospectively registered 7 July 2022).
Cognitive behaviour therapy, Paranoia, Peer counselling, Persecutory delusions, Psychosis, Randomized controlled trial