A new treatment for borderline personality disorder

July 7, 2014

A group of Swiss investigators reports on a new type of psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

Motive-oriented therapeutic relationship (MOTR) was postulated to be a particularly helpful therapeutic ingredient in the early treatment phase of patients with personality disorders, in particular with (BPD).

This randomized controlled study using an add-on design is the first study to test this assumption in a 10-session general psychiatric treatment with patients presenting with BPD on symptom reduction and therapeutic alliance. A total of 85 patients were randomized. They were either allocated to a manual-based short variant of the general psychiatric management (GPM) treatment (in 10 sessions) or to the same treatment where MOTR was deliberately added to the . Treatment attrition and integrity analyses yielded satisfactory results.

After performing the inter-to-treat analysis, results suggested a global efficacy of MOTR, in the sense of an additional reduction of general problems, i.e. symptoms, interpersonal and social problems. However, they also showed that MOTR did not yield an additional reduction of specific borderline symptoms. It was also shown that a stronger therapeutic alliance, as assessed by the therapist, developed in MOTR treatments compared to GPM.

These findings suggest that adding MOTR to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments of BPD is promising. Moreover, the findings shed additional light on the perspective of shortening treatments for presenting with BPD.

Explore further: Researcher identifies possible genetic causes of borderline personality disorder

More information: Kramer U, Kolly S, Berthoud L, Keller S, Preisig M, Caspar F, Berger T, de Roten Y, Marquet P, Despland JN. "Effects of Motive-Oriented Therapeutic Relationship in a Ten-Session General Psychiatric Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Psychother Psychosom 2014;83:176-186 (DOI: 10.1159/000358528)

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