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Transference-focused psychotherapy is a manualised treatment for borderline personality disorder.
To compare transference-focused psychotherapy with treatment by experienced community psychotherapists.
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.
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.
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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