Technology-Based Psychosocial Interventions for People with Borderline Personality Disorder: A Scoping Review of the Literature

Psychopathology. 2020;53(5-6):254-263. doi: 10.1159/000511349. Epub 2020 Nov 9.


Evidence-based psychosocial interventions for borderline personality disorder (BPD) still face multiple challenges regarding treatment accessibility, adherence, duration, and economic costs. Over the last decade, technology has addressed these concerns from different disciplines. The current scoping review aimed to delineate novel and ongoing clinical research on technology-based psychosocial interventions for patients with BPD. Online databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and Google Scholar) were searched up to June 2020. Technology-based psychosocial treatments included innovative communication (eHealth) and computational (e.g., artificial intelligence), computing (e.g., computer-based), or medical (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) software. Clinical research encompassed any testing stage (e.g., feasibility, efficacy). Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The main findings were the following: almost two-thirds of the studies (9/15) tested software explicitly conceived as adjunctive interventions to conventional therapy; nearly half of the studies (7/15) were referred to as dialectical behavior therapy-based software; most studies (13/15) were focused on the initial stage of the clinical research cycle (feasibility/acceptance/usability testing), reporting good results at this point; more than one-third of the studies (6/15) tested mobile apps; there is emerging evidence for Internet-based interventions and real-time fMRI biofeedback but only little evidence for mHealth interventions, virtual and augmented reality, and computer-based interventions; there was no computational technology-based clinical research; and there was no satisfaction/preference, security/safety, or efficiency testing for any software. Taken together, the results suggest that there is a growing but still incipient amount of technology-based psychosocial interventions for BPD supported by some kind of clinical evidence. The limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Borderline personality disorder; Clinical research; Psychosocial treatments; Software; Technology-based interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychosocial Intervention / methods*