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.