Therapy in L.A.


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December 2002
Summarized by Joyce Parker, Ph.D.

Psychiatrists have examined the effectiveness of psychotherapy over medication for obsessive compulsive disorder and borderline personality disorder in separate articles in the March, 2001 Bulletin for the Menninger Clinic. The available data suggests that behavior therapy is as effective or more effective than medication to treat this disorder according to Michael Jenike, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Exposure therapy that exposes clients to the feared situation or object and prevention therapy which teaches clients to resist the compulsive actions that occur due to exposure to a feared stimulus break the cycles of compulsive avoidance and repetitive actions. The studies from the last fifteen years conclude that 60% to 70% of obsessive compulsive disorder clients improve significantly. The article also concludes that response and exposure therapies do not lead to the substitution of other symptoms.

Concerning borderline personality disorder, the findings from four studies were summarized by Glen Gabbard of Baylor University’s Psychiatry Clinic, in the same issue of the journal. Clients who received long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy had fewer hospitalizations, medical visits, self-harm episodes and absences from work. At the conclusion of therapy, most clients did not meet the criteria for a borderline diagnosis. The best treatment for borderline personality disorder appears to be a combination of medication and long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy.

The author of this article, and founder of the website, Joyce Parker, passed away in 2011. To honor her we are keeping her articles posted at this website.

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