A group of Swiss investigators reports on a new type of psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.
Motive-oriented therapeutic relationship (MOTR) was postulated to be a particularly helpful therapeutic ingredient in the early treatment phase of patients with personality disorders, in particular with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
This randomized controlled study using an add-on design is the first study to test this assumption in a 10-session general psychiatric treatment with patients presenting with BPD on symptom reduction and therapeutic alliance. A total of 85 patients were randomized. They were either allocated to a manual-based short variant of the general psychiatric management (GPM) treatment (in 10 sessions) or to the same treatment where MOTR was deliberately added to the treatment. Treatment attrition and integrity analyses yielded satisfactory results.
After performing the inter-to-treat analysis, results suggested a global efficacy of MOTR, in the sense of an additional reduction of general problems, i.e. symptoms, interpersonal and social problems. However, they also showed that MOTR did not yield an additional reduction of specific borderline symptoms. It was also shown that a stronger therapeutic alliance, as assessed by the therapist, developed in MOTR treatments compared to GPM.
These findings suggest that adding MOTR to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments of BPD is promising. Moreover, the findings shed additional light on the perspective of shortening treatments for patients presenting with BPD.