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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 55 (2013) 3, 165 - 175

New research

Short-term dialectical behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder

L.M.C. van den Bosch, R. Sinnaeve, M. Nijs

Outpatient dialectical behaviour therapy (dbt) reduces severe suicidal and self-injurious behaviour in patients with borderline personality disorder. The Jelgersma center for personality disorders has developed an intensive inpatient dbt programme that lasts for 14 weeks and is designed to achieve a faster reduction in these borderline symptoms.
aim To examine the effect of the Jelgersma programme by means of a pilot study in order to prepare a randomised clinical trial in which a short intensive course of dbt will be compared with standard outpatient dbt.
method We compared the starting data and the final data for 39 female patients with borderline problems (dbt). We participated in 3½-month-long inpatient dbt programme. The collected data referred to (para)suicidal behaviour, drop-out, severity of borderline problems and the quality of life.
results The severity of borderline problems, particularly in the field of interpersonal problems, was significantly reduced. There was no significant reduction in (para) suicidal behaviours. The drop-out percentage was higher than in comparable studies.
conclusion Short-term inpatient dbt had a positive effect on borderline problems. (Para)suicidal behaviour, however, was not reduced significantly. The randomised trial that began in 2012 should reveal whether the use of short-term inpatient dbt can lead to a faster decline of suicidal and self-injurious behaviour than does standard outpatient dbt.

keywords borderline personality disorder, dialectical behaviour therapy, DBT, inpatient psychotherapy, suicidal and self-injurious behaviour