The development of a psychodynamic treatment for patients with borderline personality disorder: a preliminary study of behavioral change

J Pers Disord. 2001 Dec;15(6):487-95. doi: 10.1521/pedi.15.6.487.19190.


This study examines the effectiveness of a modified psychodynamic treatment called Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) designed specifically for patients, with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Twenty-three female patients diagnosed with DSM-IV BPD began twice-weekly TFP. Patients were assessed at baseline and at the end of 12 months of treatment with diagnostic instruments, measures of suicidality, self-injurious behavior, and measures of medical and psychiatric service utilization. Compared to the year prior to treatment, the number of patients who made suicide attempts significantly decreased, as did the medical risk and severity of medical condition following self-injurious behavior. Compared to the year prior, study patients during the treatment year had significantly fewer hospitalizations as well as number and days of psychiatric hospitalization. The dropout rate was 19.1%. This uncontrolled study is highly suggestive that this structured and manualized psychodynamic treatment modified for borderline patients shows promise for the ambulatory treatment of these patients and warrants further study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Transference, Psychology
  • Treatment Outcome