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Effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatment of personality disorder

  • Anthony W. Bateman (a1) and Peter Fonagy (a2)
Abstract
Background

Psychiatrists have been criticised for failing to develop adequate treatment for personality disorder. Psychotherapeutic treatments are promising, but their effectiveness is uncertain.

Aims

To investigate the evidence for effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatment for personality disorder.

Method

Systematic literature review.

Results

There is evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapy for personality disorder. Problems of case identification, comorbidity, randomisation, specificity of treatment and outcome measurement are inadequately addressed. Authors mainly relied on cohort studies. Evidence neither suggests superiority of one type of therapy over another nor indicates which subgroups of patients should be offered psychotherapy as in-patient, day patient, or out-patient.

Conclusions

New research strategies are needed to show that personality change is both measurable and clinically meaningful. Effectiveness studies using randomised controlled designs are required. The literature suggests that effective treatment should be long-term, integrated, theoretically coherent and focused on compliance.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr A.W. Bateman, Halliwick Psychotherapy Department, Haringey Healthcare NHS Trust, St Ann's Hospital, St Ann's Road, London NI5 3TH
Footnotes
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See editorial, pp. 93–94, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatment of personality disorder

  • Anthony W. Bateman (a1) and Peter Fonagy (a2)
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