New therapy offers hope for mental disorder patients

Washington, Nov 20 (Inditop.com) Patients coping with mental disorders can now look forward to major changes in their lives through an innovative treatment called Schema Therapy (ST).

Schema therapists help patients change their entrenched, self-defeating life patterns – or schemas – using cognitive, behavioural, and emotion-focused techniques.

Three major outcome studies have shown that many patients with ‘borderline personality disorder’ (BPD) can fully recover across the complete spectrum of symptoms.

In one study, ST was shown to be more than twice as effective in bringing about full recovery as a widely-practiced traditional treatment. It was also found to be more cost-effective and to have a much lower dropout rate.

In a second study, group ST led to even stronger outcomes than those in the previous investigation over a briefer period with a zero percent drop out rate and a recovery rate of 94 percent over an eight month period.

A third study, now in press, shows that individual ST can be successfully implemented in regular mental health care settings with no loss of effectiveness.

While other specialised treatments for BPD have demonstrated empirical support, all but ST have serious limitations in their impact on patients’ functioning and quality of life, says a release of the International Society of Schema Therapy.

Dutch investigators, including Josephine Giesen-Bloo and Arnoud Arntz, were associated with the study along with Joan Farrell, Ida Shaw and Michael Webber of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The first of these studies was reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, published by the American Medical Association, the second published in the Journal of Behavioural Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry and the third will soon be appearing in Behaviour Research and Therapy.

These findings will be published by the Cambridge University Press this year.