This paper describes the development of an adherence therapy intervention in schizophrenia and synthesizes the results to date of a collaborative international programme of research. Sticking to treatment is essential to control symptoms and prevent relapse, but as with other long-term conditions, medication adherence is poor. Adherence therapy seeks to facilitate a process of shared decision making, where both parties work towards agreed goals. Central is the theory that when patients make shared choices with a professional they are more likely to stick with them because they are personally owned and meaningful. The results of adherence therapy trials that seek to test this theory are mixed. Outcomes of trials might have been be affected by the point in the patient's illness cycle when therapy was delivered and by sampling bias. Authors of trials of medication management and alliance training packages that aim to equip mental health workers with adherence therapy competencies show considerable promise in improving clinical outcomes. Helping patients manage their medication is central to the work of mental health nurses. We argue that the potential benefits to patients are such that there is sufficient evidence to recommend that all mental health nurses receive medication management training.