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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39687. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039687. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Change mechanisms of schema-centered group psychotherapy with personality disorder patients.

Author information

1
Department of Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Bern, Switzerland. tschacher@spk.unibe.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study addressed the temporal properties of personality disorders and their treatment by schema-centered group psychotherapy. It investigated the change mechanisms of psychotherapy using a novel method by which psychotherapy can be modeled explicitly in the temporal domain.

METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS:

69 patients were assigned to a specific schema-centered behavioral group psychotherapy, 26 to social skills training as a control condition. The largest diagnostic subgroups were narcissistic and borderline personality disorder. Both treatments offered 30 group sessions of 100 min duration each, at a frequency of two sessions per week. Therapy process was described by components resulting from principal component analysis of patients' session-reports that were obtained after each session. These patient-assessed components were Clarification, Bond, Rejection, and Emotional Activation. The statistical approach focused on time-lagged associations of components using time-series panel analysis. This method provided a detailed quantitative representation of therapy process. It was found that Clarification played a core role in schema-centered psychotherapy, reducing rejection and regulating the emotion of patients. This was also a change mechanism linked to therapy outcome.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

The introduced process-oriented methodology allowed to highlight the mechanisms by which psychotherapeutic treatment became effective. Additionally, process models depicted the actual patterns that differentiated specific diagnostic subgroups. Time-series analysis explores Granger causality, a non-experimental approximation of causality based on temporal sequences. This methodology, resting upon naturalistic data, can explicate mechanisms of action in psychotherapy research and illustrate the temporal patterns underlying personality disorders.

PMID:
22745811
PMCID:
PMC3382158
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0039687
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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