Until very recently psychiatry regarded paranoia solely as a symptom of severe mental illness. Indeed, paranoid beliefs were seen as "empty speech acts" that should be ignored or discouraged. But the latest research has shown that this view of paranoia is mistaken. Paranoia encompasses a broad spectrum of experiences, varying in intensity from the comparatively mild to the relatively severe. And it is very common among the general population. This is not surprising: more or less on a daily basis, we all have to decide whether to trust or mistrust other people, and it's easy to get this judgement wrong.
This website puts the experience of paranoia centre stage. It was set up in 2006 to mark the publication of the first self-help book on the topic, Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts. The book shows readers how they can use techniques based on the talking therapy CBT to cope with their paranoia (these techniques have been shown to be highly effective in reducing paranoia).
Jason Freeman is a writer and editor in the areas of popular psychology and self-help
Philippa Garety is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. She is the Clinical Director and Joint Leader of the Psychosis Clinical Academic Group in the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
The website was substantially updated in 2008 upon the publication of Paranoia: The 21st Century Fear, which offers a clear and entertaining introduction to the new science of suspiciousness.
There was an additional substantial updating of the website in 2012.
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