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Psychol Psychother. 2011 Jun;84(2):184-200. doi: 10.1348/147608310X516387. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

A feasibility study of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for individuals with borderline personality disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK.



Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was originally developed to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. More recently it has been applied to individuals at high risk of suicide or currently suffering with anxiety and depression. The aim of this study was to consider the feasibility of MBCT for individuals with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).


The design of the study was a repeated measures, quasi-experimental design employing within-subject and between-subject comparisons of a sample of participants with BPD. Based on previous studies and theoretical models of the effect of mindfulness and of cognitive therapy, pre- and post-group measures of mindfulness, depression, anxiety, dissociation, impulsivity, experiential avoidance, and attention were obtained.


Participants attended an 8-week adapted MBCT (MBCT-a) group intervention. A total of 22 participants were assessed pre- and post-intervention and were subsequently divided for analysis into two groups: treatment completers (N= 16) and non-completers (number of sessions attended < 4; N= 6).


The study found that MBCT-a is acceptable to individuals with BPD. Using intention to treat analyses, only attentional control improved. However, post hoc analyses of treatment improvers (N= 9) identified changes in mindfulness and somatoform dissociation. A dose-effect analysis suggested a weak improvement in mindfulness, experiential avoidance, state anxiety, and somatoform dissociation.


This study suggests that further exploration of MBCT for use with individuals with BPD is merited. The study lends tentative support for attentional and avoidance models of the effects of mindfulness.

©2010 The British Psychological Society.

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