Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 September 2020
High numbers of people present with common mental health disorders and co-morbid personality disorder traits in primary care ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) services in England and they receive sub-optimal treatments. No previous studies have explored the treatment experiences or needs of this patient population in England.
This qualitative study explored the treatment experiences of patients (n = 22) with common mental health difficulties and co-morbid personality disorder as indicated by a score of 3 or more on the ‘Standardised Assessment of Personality – Abbreviated Scale’ (SAPAS) in receipt of primary care-based IAPT treatment.
A qualitative health research approach was used. Qualitative individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted. All interviews were audio recorded, data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a framework analysis approach.
Findings revealed a need to adapt away from prescriptive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment models towards more flexible, personalised and individualised treatment with this patient group. Time to emotionally offload, build a therapeutic relationship and link past experiences to presenting problems were highlighted as important.
For the first time, the needs and treatment experiences of this patient group have been explored. This paper provides a unique patient experience insight that should be considered when exploring new approaches to working with and developing effective interventions via a stepped care approach.