New Hope for an 'Untreatable' Mental Illness -- MEDICA Trade Fair

Schema Therapy was also found to be less costly and to have a much lower drop out rate. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has until recent years been considered untreatable, with little scientific justification for longer-term therapy.

A study demonstrates that schema therapy leads to complete recovery in about 50% of the patients, and to significant improvement in two-thirds. The success of the therapy is strongly related to its duration and intensity (two sessions a week for 3 years). The results clearly contradict the prevailing opinion that BPD cannot be fully cured, and that longer-term psychotherapy is ineffective.

In the study, Dutch investigators compared Schema Therapy (also known as Schema Focused Therapy or SFT) with Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. 86 patients were recruited from 4 mental health institutes in the Netherlands. Patients in the study received two sessions per week of SFT or TFP for 3 years. After three years, full recovery was achieved in 45% of the patients in the SFT condition, and in 24% of those receiving TFP. One year later, the percentage fully recovered increased to 52% in the SFT condition and 29% in the TFP condition, with 70% of the patients in the SFT group achieving "clinically significant and relevant improvement". Moreover, the dropout rate was only 27% for SFT, compared with 50% for TFP, indicating that Schema Therapy instilled a greater sense of allegiance among patients.

Patients began to feel and function significantly better after the first year, with improvement occurring more rapidly in the SFT group. There was continuing improvement in subsequent years. Thus investigators concluded that both treatments had positive effects, with Schema Therapy clearly more successful.; Source: Maastricht University