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Cognitive Therapy versus Rogerian Supportive Therapy in Borderline Personality Disorder

Two-Year Follow-Up of a Controlled Pilot Study

Cottraux J.a · Note I.D.d · Boutitie F.b · Milliery M.d · Genouihlac V.a · Yao S.N.a · Note B.d · Mollard E.a · Bonasse F.d · Gaillard S.c · Djamoussian D.d · de Mey Guillard C.a · Culem A.a · Gueyffier F.c
aAnxiety Disorder Unit, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital Neurologique, bService de Biostatistique, Hospices Civils de Lyon, UMR 5558, and cClinical Investigation Centre, Inserm, CIC201, 69677 CHU de Lyon, Lyon, and dAssistance Publique de Marseille, Behaviour Therapy Unit, CHU de Marseille, Marseille, France Psychother Psychosom 2009;78:307–316 (DOI:10.1159/000229769)


Background: To date, there have been no studies comparing cognitive therapy (CT) with Rogerian supportive therapy (RST) in borderline personality disorder. Method: Sixty-five DSM-IV borderline personality disorder outpatients were recruited at 2 centres: Lyon and Marseille. Thirty-three patients were randomly allocated to CT and 32 to RST. The therapists were the same in both groups. Both treatments shared the same duration (1 year) and amount of therapy. Assessment by independent evaluators utilised the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Scale, the Hamilton Depression Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Hopelessness Scale, Young Schema Questionnaire II, Eysenck Impulsivity Venturesomeness Empathy (IVE) Inventory, a self-harming behaviours checklist and scales measuring quality of life and the therapeutic relationship. The response criterion was a score of 3 or less on the CGI, associated with a Hopelessness Scale score of <8. Results: No patient committed suicide during the trial. Fifty-one patients were evaluated at week 24, 38 at week 52 and 21 at week 104. Cognitive therapy retained the patients in therapy for a longer time. The response criterion found no significant between-group differences at any measurement point in the completers. However, at week 24, CT was better than RST on the Hopelessness Scale, IVE scale and regarding the therapeutic relationship. At week 104, the CGI improvement (patient and evaluator) was significantly better in CT than in RST. High baseline depression and impulsivity predicted dropouts. Conclusions: CT retained the patients in therapy longer, showed earlier positive effects on hopelessness and impulsivity, and demonstrated better long-term outcomes on global measures of improvement.


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