Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for personality disorders: a critical review of randomized controlled trials

J Pers Disord. 2011 Dec;25(6):723-40. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2011.25.6.723.


The research evidence for Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (STPP) in the treatment of personality disorders (PD) was examined through consideration of studies utilizing randomized controlled designs. An extensive literature search revealed eight published Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) of moderate study quality. A critical review of this literature is offered to provide an evidence-based guidance for clinicians and implications for treatments are discussed. Preliminary conclusions suggest STPP may be considered an efficacious empirically-supported treatment option for a range of PDs, producing significant and medium to long-term improvements for a large percentage of patients. Further research is recommended to allow comparisons with alternative evidence-based approaches.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Personality Disorders / therapy*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome