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New Therapy May Improve Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

July 21, 2014

The addition of motive-oriented therapeutic relationship (MOTR) to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments of borderline personality disorder may help to reduce general symptoms and interpersonal and social problems. 

MOTR uses a plan analysis to customize the treatment approach to each patient and has been hypothesized to be useful early in the treatment phase of patients with borderline personality disorder. 

To assess whether MOTR can enhance treatment, researchers randomized 85 patients to either a manual-based short variant of 10 sessions of general psychiatric management treatment or to the same treatment (also 10 sessions) with the addition of MOTR. 

Analysis indicated a “global efficacy of MOTR,” wrote Ueli Kramer, PhD, of the Institute of Psychotherapy and General Psychiatry Services, Department of Psychiatry-CHUV, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues. 

Patients randomized to receive MOTR had an additional reduction of general symptoms as well as interpersonal and social problems. Those receiving MOTR also developed a strong therapeutic alliance. However, MOTR did not lead to a reduction of specific borderline symptoms. 

“These results suggest that adding MOTR to psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments of BPD is promising. Moreover, the findings shed additional light on the perspective of shortening treatments for patients presenting with BPD,” the study authors concluded. 

—Lauren LeBano 


1. Kramer U, Kolly S, Berthoud L, Keller S, et al. Effects of motive-oriented therapeutic relationship in a ten-session general psychiatric treatment of borderline personality disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Psychother Psychosom. 2014;83(3):176-186.

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