Interpersonal Group Psychotherapy

Monroe-Blum & Marziali (1995) compared time-limited (35 weeks) group therapy focussing on interpersonal transactions with open-ended individual psychodynamic therapy for treatment of BPD. Participants were recruited from inpatient and outpatient psychiatric units linked with the University of Toronto; 79 of the 110 patients who were randomly allocated to the two conditions accepted treatment. The investigators found that both approaches produced significant improvement and were equally effective at 12 and 24 months on all major outcome variables measuring social dysfunction, global symptoms and depression. However, the group therapists (typically two therapists worked with groups of seven patients) reported less anxiety and increased empathic connections with their patients compared with the individual therapists. This study therefore suggests that the model of interpersonal group therapy investigated here may be cost-effective in terms of staff burnout as well as service delivery.

MacKenzie (2001) summarises other models of group psychotherapy for BPD including experiential group psychotherapy based on principles described by Yalom (1995); this approach yielded modest results in a small cohort with various personality disorders (Budman etal., 1996).

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