Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy in group (MIT-G) for young adults with personality disorders: A pilot randomized controlled trial

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Young adults with personality disorders (PD) other than borderline are in urgent need of validated treatments to help them in managing important life transitions. Therapeutic interventions focused upon social and interpersonal difficulties may facilitate these individuals in maximizing opportunities for employment, forming stable romantic relationships, and belong to social groups. It is also important that they are offered evidence-based, first-line time-limited treatments in order to maximize effectiveness and reduce costs. We developed a 16-session programme of group-based Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy (MIT-G) including psychoeducation on the main interpersonal motives, an experiential component enabling practice of awareness of mental states; and use of mentalistic knowledge for purposeful problem-solving. We report a feasibility, acceptability, and clinical significance randomized clinical trial. Participants meeting inclusion criteria were randomized to receive MIT-G (n = 10) or waiting list+TAU (n = 10). Dropout rate was low and session attendance high (92.19%). Participants in the MIT-G arm had symptomatic and functional improvements consistent with large effect sizes. In the MIT-G arm similarly large effects were noted for increased capacity to understand mental states and regulate social interactions using mentalistic knowledge. Results were sustained at follow-up. Our findings suggest potential for applying MIT-G in larger samples to further test its effectiveness in reducing PD-related symptoms and problematic social functioning.

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