University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The impact of brief intensive trauma-focused treatment for PTSD on symptoms of borderline personality disorder

de Jongh, Ad ORCID:, Groenland, G. N. ORCID:, Sanches, S. ORCID:, Bongaerts, H. ORCID:, Voorendonk, E. M. ORCID: and Van Minnen, A. ORCID: (2020) The impact of brief intensive trauma-focused treatment for PTSD on symptoms of borderline personality disorder. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11 (1). p. 1721142. ISSN 2000-8066

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Objective: To investigate the effects of a brief, intensive, direct trauma-focused treatment programme for individuals with PTSD on BPD symptom severity. Methods: Individuals (n = 72) with severe PTSD (87.5% had one or more comorbidities; 52.8% fulfilled the criteria for the dissociative subtype of PTSD) due to multiple traumas (e.g. 90.3% sexual abuse) participated in an intensive eight-day trauma-focused treatment programme consisting of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, physical activity, and psychoeducation. Treatment did not include any form of stabilization (e.g. emotion regulation training) prior to trauma-focused therapy. Assessments took place at pre- and post-treatment (Borderline Symptom List, BSL-23; PTSD symptom severity, Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5, CAPS-5), and across the eight treatment days (PTSD Checklist, PCL-5). Results: Treatment resulted in significant decreases of BPD symptoms (Cohen’s d = 0.70). Of the 35 patients with a positive screen for BPD at pre-treatment, 32.7% lost their positive screen at post-treatment. No adverse events nor dropouts occurred during the study time frame, and none of the patients experienced symptom deterioration in response to treatment. Conclusion: The results suggest that an intensive trauma-focused treatment is a feasible and safe treatment for PTSD patients with clinically elevated symptoms of BPD, and that BPD symptoms decrease along with the PTSD symptoms.

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© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (,
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, intensive trauma-focused treatment, prolonged exposure, EMDR therapy
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Copyright Info: Open access article
SWORD Depositor: Prof. Pub Router
Depositing User: Karen Veitch
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 13:33
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:34

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