A Review of the Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Change for Three Psychological Interventions for Borderline Personality Disorder

Abstract

The therapeutic uncertainty common in much of the early literature on borderline personality disorder (BPD) has given way to a growing research base with findings indicating the effectiveness of a number of psychological treatments. This article will review three major evidence-based treatments for BPD: dialectical behavior therapy, schema-focused therapy and mentalization-based treatment. While not a panacea, these treatments have provided, to differing degrees, a reasonable level of evidence indicating therapeutic effectiveness. The evidence base for each of these models is discussed as well as possible mechanisms of change. The article highlights similarities between the differing modalities as well as the features that distinguish the models. The article contends that increasing mentalization skills may be a common underlying factor in all treatments for individual with BPD. The authors conclude by discussing the difficulties and potential benefits of treatment integration.

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Byrne, G., Egan, J. A Review of the Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Change for Three Psychological Interventions for Borderline Personality Disorder. Clin Soc Work J 46, 174–186 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-018-0652-y

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Keywords

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Mentalization-based therapy
  • Schema-focused therapy