Abstract: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an empirically supported treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Despite its established efficacy in clinical trials, additional “real world” applied research is needed. The present study evaluated the treatment effectiveness of an outpatient DBT program for clients diagnosed with BPD at a New Hampshire community mental health center (NHCMC). A quasi-experimental, single group time-series design was used to assess the effectiveness of services for clients diagnosed with BPD who participated in the DBT program at NHCMC. Records of adults who received outpatient DBT treatment for a minimum of one year were assessed for a change from pre-test to follow-up on the following target outcomes: (a) number of suicide attempts, (b) incidents of self-injurious behavior, (c) substance abuse, (d) psychiatric admissions and length of stay, (e) other hospital admissions and length of stay, and (f) emergency services contacts, including emergency room visits. Participants were also assessed for a change from pre-test to follow-up on indicators of quality of life and overall level of functioning. Using a time-series method, data from individual records were gathered for each client at the following time points: (a) one year, six months, and three months prior to beginning standard DBT, (b) early treatment (start of treatment), (c) six months after the start of treatment, (d) termination from treatment (at least one year), (e) three months and six months to one year following termination. An analysis of the results revealed statistically significant decreases in life-threatening behavior. Several other trends toward client improvement were also identified.
Keywords: Borderline personality disorder,Community mental health,Dialectical behavior therapy, Outcome study