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Transference-focused psychotherapy v. treatment by community psychotherapists for borderline personality disorder: randomised controlled trial

Abstract
Background

Transference-focused psychotherapy is a manualised treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Aims

To compare transference-focused psychotherapy with treatment by experienced community psychotherapists.

Method

In a randomised controlled trial (NCT00714311) 104 female out-patients were treated for 1 year with either transference-focused psychotherapy or by an experienced community psychotherapist.

Results

Significantly fewer participants dropped out of the transference-focused psychotherapy group (38.5% v. 67.3%) and also significantly fewer attempted suicide (d = 0.8, P = 0.009). Transference-focused psychotherapy was significantly superior in the domains of borderline symptomatology (d = 1.6, P = 0.001), psychosocial functioning (d = 1.0, P = 0.002), personality organisation (d = 1.0, P = 0.001) and psychiatric in-patient admissions (d = 0.5, P = 0.001). Both groups improved significantly in the domains of depression and anxiety and the transference-focused psychotherapy group in general psychopathology, all without significant group differences (d = 0.3–0.5). Self-harming behaviour did not change in either group.

Conclusions

Transference-focused psychotherapy is more efficacious than treatment by experienced community psychotherapists in the domains of borderline symptomatology, psychosocial functioning, and personality organisation. Moreover, there is preliminary evidence for a superiority in the reduction of suicidality and need for psychiatric in-patient treatment.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Stephan Doering, MD, Psychosomatics in Dentistry, Department of Prosthodontics and Material Sciences, University of Muenster, Waldeyerstrasse 30 48149 Muenster, Germany. Email: Stephan.doering@ukmuenster.de
Footnotes
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Supported by grant number 10636 from the Jubiläumsfonds of the Austrian National Bank.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Supplementary materials

Doering et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Table S1-S2

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Supplementary materials

Doering et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Table S1-S2

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Supplementary materials

Doering et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Table S1-S2

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Transference-focused psychotherapy v. treatment by community psychotherapists for borderline personality disorder: randomised controlled trial

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