Interpersonal Group Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

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Publisher: Basic Books

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How do you work with a patient who has intensely conflicted, unstable relationships with others and who seems to move from one full-blown crisis to the next? Therapists who treat such patients–usually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder–have found their efforts hampered not only by the nature of the disorder but also by problems in its classification and the lack of empirical data supporting particular treatment strategies. Now, in this innovative book, clinicians have an effective, standardized model of therapy that will limit the patient’s ability to derail the therapist’s efforts.

Built on the solid foundation of a six-year treatment comparison trial, the interpersonal group psychotherapy model fully detailed here focuses on the current relationships in the patient’s life. The research study showed that individual psychodynamic psychotherapy, which emphasizes the developmental genesis of the borderline disorder, leads down a much longer and more costly road–but with outcomes equivalent to the group model. By zeroing in on the affective significance of the patient’s lifelong search for more gratifying and secure relationships, the therapist can address a key feature of the disorder found in all its subtypes.

With group therapy, the therapist is able to dilute the powerful transference reactions commonly found in individual therapy with borderline patients. In interpersonal group therapy, the patient is also able to form new, positive identifications with others.

This guide, generously illustrated with extensive clinical examples, has been designed to be used in a broad range of treatment settings and employed by an extensive array of mental health professionals: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses. (324 pp.)


“Once again the authors have brought their years of experience to hear on a subject that continues to bedevil clinicians. This groundbreaking, lucidly written book is a superb introduction to an innovative treatment approach. It is at once a scholarly synthesis of theory and research and a practical guide to managing therapeutic impasses. It will provide both trainees and seasoned practitioners with fresh insights and new perspectives.

–Arlene F. Frank PhD
Nashua Brookside Hospital

“A practical and well-designed model for treating borderline personality disorder that should be useful in a diversity of settings. This is an important contribution to an area of great therapeutic need and public health importance.

–Allen Frances MD
Duke University Medical Center

“I am impressed not only by the effectiveness of this new form of treatment but also by the diligence, dedication, and drive of the authors, who get top ratings for how well they apply their sophisticated and special contribution to research to everyday clinical practice.”

–Lester Luborsky PhD
University of Pennsylvania

“This is exactly the kind of book the therapy field needs–rich in clinical detail yet firmly grounded in theory and research. In addition to describing (rather than selling) their group treatment approach very clearly and explaining its well-developed object-relations rationale, the authors make clear their commitment to evaluating efficacy with rigorous research. Take note: Marziali and Munroe-Blum are scientist-practitioners par excellence.”

–Varda Shoham PhD
University of Arizona

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