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Change in Defense Mechanisms During Short-Term Dynamic and Cognitive Therapy in Patients With Cluster C Personality Disorders

Johansen, Pål-Ørjan Psychol(c)*†; Krebs, Teri S. BSc*†; Svartberg, Martin MD, PhD‡; Stiles, Tore C. PhD§; Holen, Are MD, PhD*

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318229d6a7
Brief Reports
Abstract

The aims of this study were to examine whether a change in overall defensive functioning during treatment a) would predict change in symptom distress during the course of treatment and follow-up and b) would be greater in short-term dynamic therapy than in cognitive therapy. Patients (N = 50) who met criteria for cluster C personality disorders were randomized to 40 weekly sessions of short-term dynamic therapy or cognitive therapy. Video recordings of a pretreatment interview and therapy session 36 were evaluated using the Defense Mechanisms Rating Scales. Symptom distress was measured using the revised version of Symptom Checklist-90. Change in overall defensive functioning during treatment predicted change in symptom distress from pretreatment to 2 years after treatment. Both treatment groups showed significant changes in defensive functioning toward greater adaptability but without any significant differences between the short-term dynamic therapy and cognitive therapy groups in a sample of patients with cluster C personality disorders.

Author Information

*Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway; †Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; ‡In private practice, Oslo, Norway; and §Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

P. J., M. S., and T. C. S. received grants from the Norwegian Research Council (154282). P. J., T. S. K., and A. H. also received grants from the Norwegian Research Council (185924).

Send reprint requests to Pål-Ørjan Johansen, Psychol(c), MTFS, Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7489, Trondheim, Norway. E-mail: pal.johansen@ntnu.no.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.