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J Pers Disord. 2004 Feb;18(1):3-35.

The contribution of cognitive analytic therapy to the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

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King's College London at Guy's Hospital, London.


This article describes ways the theory and practice of cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) can contribute to the treatment and management of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). CAT, as its name suggests, was derived initially from an integration of conventionally opposed models. From the beginning, it was delivered within a limited timeframe, usually of 16 weekly sessions, extended to 24 in the case of more disturbed patients. Over time, on the basis of clinical experience, conceptual debate, and research, it has evolved into a general theory and has demonstrated itself to be of value over a wide range of conditions and contexts. The evolution of the basic theory and practice of CAT over the past 25 years is summarized, followed by a description of the theoretical developments concerned specifically with BPD. The techniques used in the individual psychotherapy of borderline patients are described in detail and illustrated with case material. The application of methods and understandings derived from individual therapy to staff supervision and the treatment and management of patients in day hospitals, therapeutic communities, and community mental health centers is then considered. A final section describes research contributions to the development and evaluation of CAT with borderline patients.

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