Psychotherapy With Borderline Patients: I. A Comparison Between Treated and Untreated Cohorts

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1999 Aug;33(4):467-72; discussion 478-81. doi: 10.1080/j.1440-1614.1999.00594.x.


Objective: The aim of this study is to compare the clinical outcome of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who had received outpatient psychotherapy for 1 year with BPD patients who received no formal psychotherapy for the same period.

Method: Thirty patients with BPD were treated by trainee psychotherapists working according to clearly described therapeutic principles. They received intensive audiotaped supervision. Patients were seen twice weekly for 1 year. They were compared with 30 patients subsequently referred to the clinic, for whom no therapist was available and who remained on a waiting list for 1 year, receiving their usual treatment. The outcome measure was a score derived from DSM criteria. It was taken at the beginning and end of the year's treatment, in the former case, and after at least 1 year on the waiting list in the latter. (The average waiting period was 17.1 months.)

Results and conclusions: Patients who received psychotherapy were significantly improved in terms of the DSM score. Thirty percent of treated patients no longer fulfilled DSM-III criteria for BPD. The untreated patients were unchanged.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome