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Exploring the effectiveness of combined mentalization-based group therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy for inpatients with borderline personality disorder - A pilot study

Author(s): Edel MA, Raaff V, Dimaggio G, Buchheim A, Brüne M

Abstract

Objectives

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by emotional instability, interpersonal dysfunction, and other features that typically develop before a background of insecure attachment and traumatic experiences. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) has proven highly effective in reducing self-harm and improving emotion regulation, whereby problems concerning social cognition, which are also characteristic of BPD, may need additional approaches such as mentalization-based treatment (MBT).

Methods

Here, we examined, in a pilot study, the effectiveness of MBT given adjunct to DBT, compared to DBT alone, in an inpatient sample with BPD, whereby mentalization was measured using a novel cartoon-based task.

Results

Both treatments were highly effective in reducing symptom severity. The combination of DBT and MBT was superior in reducing fearful attachment and in improving affective mentalizing.

Conclusions

Mentalization-based treatment in combination with DBT may improve certain aspects of social cognitive skills and attachment security, as compared to DBT alone, although the exact mechanisms that led to these changes need to be studied further.

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