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12.09.2018 | Original Paper

Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy for Personality Disorders: The Case of a Man with Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Autoren:
Keely Gordon-King, Robert D. Schweitzer, Giancarlo Dimaggio

Abstract

Personality disorders have a deleterious impact on individual quality of life, and are associated with a significant social burden. Despite a broad range of presentations across the various personality disorders, clinical research has shown a strong bias toward borderline personality disorder. In contrast to the emotional dysregulation of borderline personality disorder, a number of personality disorders are characterised by emotional inhibition and alexithymia. Research increasingly suggests that these deficits in emotional regulation may be symptomatic of problems with metacognition—the ability to identify, understand, and influence mental states. Research and specific treatment approaches are needed which target personality dysfunction characterised by emotional inhibition, rather than dysregulation. Emerging evidence suggests that metacognitive interpersonal therapy may be an effective treatment approach for personality disorders characterised by emotional inhibition. The current case study provides an in-depth examination of the application of metacognitive interpersonal therapy for a man diagnosed with comorbid avoidant personality disorder, and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. The patient described a history of bullying and unmet needs throughout his childhood, resulting in maladaptive interpersonal schemas and metacognitive deficits. Treatment focused on building the patient’s ability to identify and understand his mental states, and targeted schema-driven behaviour. The patient reported experiencing the therapy as helpful, and stated that it contributed to a marked improvement in his quality of life. Results indicate that a 1 year intervention was successful in achieving diagnostic recovery and symptom reduction, supporting metacognitive interpersonal therapy as an effective intervention.

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