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Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Oct;162(10):1933-40.

Manualized supportive-expressive psychotherapy versus nonmanualized community-delivered psychodynamic therapy for patients with personality disorders: bridging efficacy and effectiveness.

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Department of Psychiatry, M56, Huddinge University Hospital, S-146 81 Stockholm, Sweden.



Time-limited manualized dynamic psychotherapy was compared with community-delivered psychodynamic therapy for outpatients with personality disorders.


In a stratified randomized clinical trial, 156 patients with any personality disorder diagnosis were randomly assigned either to 40 sessions of supportive-expressive psychotherapy (N=80) or to community-delivered psychodynamic therapy (N=76). Assessments were made at intake and 1 and 2 years after intake. Patients were recruited consecutively from two community mental health centers (CMHCs), assessed with the Structural Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders, and included if they had a diagnosis of any DSM-IV personality disorder. The outcome measures included the presence of a personality disorder diagnosis, personality disorder severity index, level of psychiatric symptoms (SCL-90), Global Assessment of Functioning Scale score, and number of therapy sessions. General mixed-model analysis of variance was used to assess group and time effects.


In both treatment conditions, the global level of functioning improved while there were decreases in the prevalence of patients fulfilling criteria for a personality disorder diagnosis, personality disorder severity, and psychiatric symptoms. There was no difference in effect between treatments. During the follow-up period, patients who received supportive-expressive psychotherapy made significantly fewer visits to the CMHCs than the patients who received community-delivered psychodynamic therapy.


Manualized supportive-expressive psychotherapy was as effective as nonmanualized community-delivered psychodynamic therapy conducted by experienced dynamic clinicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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