Early Psychosis and Schizophrenia Spectrum Program

Early Psychosis Intervention Centre

The MUHC Early Psychosis Intervention Centre (EPIC) was created in 1997 in response to a better understanding that the early phases of psychosis are extraordinarily significant in terms of longer-term outcomes.

The EPIC specifically targets individuals:

  • presenting with a first or second episode of psychosis, 
  • aged 17-40,
  • who have been treated for more than one month.  

The goals of the service include:

  • preventing the development of behavioural consequences from the experience of psychosis itself
  • preventing a deterioration in functioning which can accompany psychotic illness

The EPIC aims for these goals through:

  • early detection, 
  • the development of a treatment alliance with the person having experienced psychosis, 
  • adapted multimodal interventions including pharmacological, psychotherapeutic, occupational and social/community interventions. 

As a teaching clinic, EPIC also offers training experiences for medical, nursing and occupational therapy students, as well as psychiatric residents.

Our approach

Early signs of psychosis first appear usually in late adolescence or early adulthood. They often present as a clear disruption of one’s usual ways of perceiving reality and oneself. Psychosis is a symptom that may occur in a variety of disorders. The main goals of the the EPIC is to prevent not only psychotic relapses but also the cognitive, interpersonal, social, academic and occupational impacts they can have. Early intervention in psychotic illnesses also helps to mitigate the psychological and social consequences, such as isolation, stigma, fear, self-medication and social role disruption.  

The EPIC uses a flexible, team approach to cultivate a therapeutic alliance. The phasic (recovery-relapse) pattern of many psychotic disorders.often requires a prolonged treatment to maximize clinical stability and prolonged periods of well-being. This longer-term viewpoint is held by all members of the EPIC team who endeavour to work together with the affected person and their carers to ensure the best continuity of treatment that is attainable.

EPIC services include:

  • Counseling: Supportive therapy; Cognitive behavioural interventions, Psychoeducation
  • Interventions with families and caregivers
  • Community based care
  • Support for academic and vocational reintegration
  • Crisis management
  • Pharmacotherapy