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Transference-focused psychotherapy reduces treatment drop-out and suicide attempters compared with community psychotherapist treatment in borderline personality disorder

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How does transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) compare with treatment by community psychotherapists for borderline personality disorder (BPD)?


One hundred and four female outpatients aged between 18 and 45 years with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) BPD. Main exclusions: antisocial personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar I or II disorder with an episode in the past 6 months, recent substance dependency, organic pathology or mental retardation.


Two outpatient units, Germany; recruitment October 2004 to August 2006.


TFP or community psychotherapist treatment for a year. TFP was a manualised-modified psychodynamic psychotherapy delivered in two 50 min sessions per week by a specially trained therapist. Community psychotherapists were experienced and particularly interested in people with BPDs; however, none of the therapists had specific training in manualised borderline psychotherapy.


(1) Primary outcomes included drop-out from treatment, suicide attempts (assessed using the Cornell Interview for Suicidal and Self Harming Behaviour – Self Report). (2) Secondary outcomes included DSM-IV BPD diagnosis. Participants were …

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  • Source of funding Austrian National Bank.


  • Competing interests None.

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