Tailoring psychotherapy in patients with personality disorders: Matching the level of psychological strengths to the level of stabilizing versus destabilizing psychotherapy

JG Manen, Eva Horn, T Stijnen, Reinier Timman, Jan van Busschbach, R Verheul

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BackgroundClinical evidence suggests that patients high on psychological strengths profit more from destabilizing psychotherapy, whereas patients low on strengths profit more from stabilizing psychotherapy. This matching hypothesis was tested. MethodsThis quasi-experimental study was conducted between 2003 and 2008 in 735 patients with personality disorders from 6 psychotherapy centers in the Netherlands. Patients were assigned to different levels of stabilizing and destabilizing psychotherapies. Levels of psychological strengths were measured. We used multilevel modeling to estimate outcome at 12months after baseline. The propensity score controlled for initial differences at baseline. ResultsThe findings show that destabilizing psychotherapies have slightly better outcomes than stabilizing psychotherapies. Patients high on psychological strengths improve slightly more than patients low on psychological strengths. The observed interaction effect contradicted our hypothesis. ConclusionThe results imply that destabilizing psychotherapies can be considered as first treatment option for patients both high and low on psychological strengths. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-04-58-01

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