Background The availability of specialist psychotherapies for treating borderline personality disorder (BPD) is limited by costs associated with training, resourcing and treatment duration. Developing a programme that incorporates effective strategies from a range of evidence-based specialist treatments, concentrates their delivery and uses a group-based format will improve treatment access.
Objective To assess the short-term clinical efficacy, acceptability and feasibility of a bespoke manualised programme for the treatment of BPD. This 10-week group-based outpatient programme was delivered 2 days per week in 4 hour sessions; participants received 80 hours of treatment in total.
Methods Forty-three participants, many having severe BPD symptomatology, were assessed before and after the 10-week programme using a range of validated self-report questionnaires and a self-appraisal feedback form. The primary outcome measured was BPD symptom severity.
Findings Statistically significant improvements were measured in BPD symptom severity, depression, trait anxiety, emotional regulation, general health, hopefulness, self-compassion and anger, several with moderate to large effect sizes. Many of these improvements remained at 4–6 months post treatment. More than 90% of surveyed participants expressed a moderate or high level of satisfaction with the programme.
Conclusions This integrated treatment programme delivered in a highly concentrated format demonstrated short-term efficacy across many BPD-relevant endpoints; its acceptability was endorsed by most clients.
Clinical implications Incorporation of key aspects of evidence-based treatment using a time-intensive group format could greatly enhance the capacity of mental health services to meet the needs of people who experience BPD within a population-based mental health service framework.
- adult psychiatry
- personality disorders
- suicide & self-harm
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