This study used a single case experimental design to investigate the use of the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP) among a sample of individuals with depression and anxiety who also presented with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Eight women received individual treatment with the UP over the course of 14–16 treatment sessions, and were assessed for anxiety and depression severity on a weekly basis over a 2–6 week baseline period and throughout treatment. Three of the eight participants demonstrated reliable pre- to post-treatment clinical improvements on depression and stress scales, and one participant demonstrated a reliable reduction on an anxiety scale. Two participants demonstrated a reliable improvement in overall anxiety. The results indicate that the UP applied to individuals diagnosed with primary BPD may lead to clinical improvement in depression, stress and anxiety for some individuals. However, the majority of individuals with BPD in our sample did not show strong improvement, and this suggests the need for additional sessions of UP or an intervention that focuses on the symptoms of BPD specifically for some women.
Key learning aims
- (1)To describe the applicability of the Unified Protocol in the treatment of individuals with borderline personality and co-occurring anxiety or depression.
- (2)To understand the value of utilizing a transdiagnostic approach as an alternative to diagnosis-specific approaches to treatment.
- (3)To identify the four core modules of the Unified Protocol and describe the general format for individual treatment.