There is new hope for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder thanks to an innovative therapy.
For the first time, three major outcome studies have shown that many patients with Borderline Personality Disorder can achieve full recovery through a new treatment, Schema Therapy.
In one study, Schema Therapy was shown to be more than twice as effective in bringing about full recovery as a widely practiced traditional treatment (Transference Focused Psychotherapy).
Schema Therapy was also found to be more cost-effective and to have a much lower dropout rate.
In a second study group, schema therapy led to even stronger outcomes than those in the previous investigation over a briefer period with a 0 percent drop out rate and a recovery rate of 94 percent over an 8-month period.
A third study showed that individual Schema Therapy could be successfully implemented in regular mental health care settings with no loss of effectiveness.
Schema Therapy is also associated with higher levels of patient and therapist satisfaction with the treatment.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder described as a prolonged disturbance of personality function characterized by depth and variability of moods.
The disorder typically involves unusual levels of instability in mood; "black and white" thinking, or splitting; chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behaviour; as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation.
These disturbances can have a pervasive negative impact on many or all of the psychosocial facets of life. This includes difficulties maintaining relationships in work, home and social settings. Attempted suicide and completed suicide are possible outcomes, especially without proper care and effective therapy.
Schema Therapy is an integrative approach, founded on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, then expanded to include techniques and concepts from other psychotherapies.
Schema therapists help patients to change their entrenched, self-defeating life patterns - or schemas -- using cognitive, behavioural, and emotion-focused techniques.
The treatment focuses on the relationship with the therapist, daily life outside of therapy, and the traumatic childhood experiences that are common in this disorder.
The studies were reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, published by the American Medical Association.