Schema Therapy effectiveness in borderline personality disorder therapy

Authors: Simpson S.G, Morrow E, Thim G.S.

Posted by: Group Schema Therapy 1: 182. Personality and early maladaptive schemas: a five-factor model perspective. 41: 373-380.


This article analyzes the studies concerning schema therapy effectiveness for borderline personality disorder (BPD) treatment. The therapeutic possibilities of schema therapy methods to improve the patients' conditions are generalized.

Main part

A multicenter study comparing the effectiveness of schema therapy and transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) was conducted in 2006. (Giesen-Bloo et al., 2006). The study involved 86 people who were followed up for 3 years. The improvement in 6 borderline personality disorder criteria (BPDSI) was more significant with patients in the schema therapy group. Recovery after 3 years of treatment was noted in 45.5% of schema therapy patients group that is almost twice as much as the group receiving transfer-based therapy (23.8%). The percentage of patients who left therapy (drop-out) during schema therapy treatment was 0% and 25% of drop-outs was during transfer-focused therapy.

Because of the smaller total number of sessions, the schema therapy turned out to be a more economical method. The study of schema therapy treatment effectiveness in a group of 62 patients with BPD (Nadort M., Arntz A. et al., 2009) showed that 42% of the studied did not meet the diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder after 1.5 years of therapy.


The research results analysis suggests that schema therapy treatment has significant potential to help patients with BPD. Schema therapy is based on attachment theory, object relations theory, developmental psychology, cognitive science, behavioral science, and current neurobiological knowledge about the brain and its functioning. This is not just about alleviating symptoms, but, often, about full recovery. The schema therapy effectiveness has been proven in a huge number of randomized clinical researches and confirmed by the meta-analyzes results.