A schema-focused approach to group psychotherapy for outpatients with borderline personality disorder: a randomized controlled trial

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;40(2):317-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 Jan 14.


This study tests the effectiveness of adding an eight-month, thirty-session schema-focused therapy (SFT) group to treatment-as-usual (TAU) individual psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Patients (N=32) were randomly assigned to SFT-TAU and TAU alone. Dropout was 0% SFT, 25% TAU. Significant reductions in BPD symptoms and global severity of psychiatric symptoms, and improved global functioning with large treatment effect sizes were found in the SFT-TAU group. At the end of treatment, 94% of SFT-TAU compared to 16% of TAU no longer met BPD diagnosis criteria (p<.001). This study supports group SFT as an effective treatment for BPD that leads to recovery and improved overall functioning.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult