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Intervention Summary

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Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy

Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy (DDP) is a 12- to 18-month, manual-driven treatment for adults with borderline personality disorder and other complex behavior problems, such as alcohol or drug dependence, self-harm, eating disorders, and recurrent suicide attempts. DDP combines elements of translational neuroscience, object relations theory, and deconstruction philosophy in an effort to help clients heal from a negative self-image and maladaptive processing of emotionally charged experiences. Neuroscience research suggests that individuals having complex behavior problems deactivate the regions of the brain responsible for verbalizing emotional experiences, attaining a sense of self, and differentiating self from other, and instead activate the regions of the brain contributing to hyperarousal and impulsivity.

DDP helps clients connect with their experiences and develop authentic and fulfilling connections with others. During weekly, 1-hour individually adapted sessions, clients discuss recent interpersonal experiences and label their emotions, while also reflecting upon their experiences in increasingly complex and realistic ways, to start the longer-term process of self-acceptance. Therapists must learn to recognize, understand, and make use of their own intense emotional reactions elicited by clients in order to foster recovery, avoid burnout, and provide novel experiences in the client-therapist relationship that support individuation and challenge clients' basic assumptions about themselves and others.

Implementers should be licensed therapists (i.e., psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists). Training is required to implement the full model.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health treatment
Co-occurring disorders
Outcomes Review Date: October 2011
1: Symptoms of borderline personality disorder
2: Depression
3: Parasuicide behaviors
4: Heavy drinking
Outcome Categories Alcohol
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma/injuries
Treatment/recovery
Ages 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Outpatient
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Presentations and workshops on DDP have been provided throughout the United States and internationally since 2000. Full implementation of the intervention has taken place at Upstate Medical University, State University of New York.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories IOM prevention categories are not applicable.

Quality of Research
Review Date: October 2011

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Gregory, R. J., Chlebowski, S., Kang, D., Remen, A. L., Soderberg, M. G., Stepkovitch, J., et al. (2008). A controlled trial of psychodynamic psychotherapy for co-occurring borderline personality disorder and alcohol use disorder. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45(1), 28-41.  Pub Med icon

Gregory, R. J., DeLucia-Deranja, E., & Mogle, J. A. (2010). Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy versus optimized community care for borderline personality disorder co-occurring with alcohol use disorders: A 30-month follow-up. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198(4), 292-298.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

Gregory, R. J., Mustata, G. T., & Deranja, E. (2011). Six-month outcomes of Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy vs Dialectical Behavior Therapy for borderline PD at a university clinic. Unpublished manuscript, Upstate Medical University, State University of New York.

Supplementary Materials

Goldman, G. A., & Gregory, R. J. (2009). Preliminary relationships between adherence and outcome in Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 46(4), 480-485.  Pub Med icon

Goldman, G. A., & Gregory, R. J. (2010). Relationships between techniques and outcomes for borderline personality disorder. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 64(4), 359-371.  Pub Med icon

Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., Brown, M. Z., Heard, H. L., & Wagner, A. (2006). Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII): Development, reliability, and validity of a scale to assess suicide attempts and intentional self-injury. Psychological Assessment, 18(3), 303-312.  Pub Med icon

Pfohl, B., Blum, N., St. John, D., McCormick, B., Allen, J., & Black, D. W. (2009). Reliability and validity of the Borderline Evaluation of Severity Over Time (BEST): A self-rated scale to measure severity and change in persons with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders, 23(3), 281-293.  Pub Med icon

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Symptoms of borderline personality disorder
Description of Measures Symptoms of borderline personality disorder were measured using the Borderline Evaluation of Severity Over Time (BEST), a 15-item self-report measure with three subscales: negative thoughts and feelings, negative behaviors, and positive behaviors. The BEST is used to assess the degree of impairment or interference from each of the DSM-based diagnostic symptoms of borderline personality disorder. For example, the item "Worrying that someone important in your life is tired of you or is planning to leave you" is rated on a 5-point scale from "none/slight" to "extreme." The combined score ranges from 12 to 72, with higher scores representing greater impairment due to borderline personality disorder symptoms.
Key Findings In a randomized clinical trial, adults diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and active alcohol abuse or dependence were assigned either to a group receiving DDP or to a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., given referrals to alcohol rehabilitation centers and provided with the names of psychiatric clinics and therapists in the community). Treatment with DDP was discontinued for all patients between 12 and 18 months after initial enrollment in the trial. The BEST was administered at baseline and at 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, and 30-month follow-up. Compared with control group participants, DDP participants had significantly lower BEST scores at 12-month follow-up (38.4 vs. 33.6; p < .05). Over time, from baseline through 30-month follow-up, DDP participants had a significantly greater decrease in BEST scores than control group participants (p = .027), a difference associated with a large effect size (Cohen's d = 1.31).

In another study, patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder were assigned to a group receiving DDP, a group receiving comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., receiving weekly individual therapy that was unstructured and psychodynamically oriented). The BEST was administered at baseline and at 6-month follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, DDP participants had significantly lower BEST scores (33.2) than DBT participants (42.7; p = .025) and control group participants (40.0; p = .02), after controlling for differences in baseline severity and age. These group differences were associated with medium and large effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.74 and 1.1, respectively).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Depression
Description of Measures Depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), a 21-item self-report instrument. Each item presents statements relating to a symptom of depression, with each statement rated on a scale from 0 to 3. Total scores range from 0 to 63, with higher scores representing more severe depression.
Key Findings In a randomized clinical trial, adults diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and active alcohol abuse or dependence were assigned either to a group receiving DDP or to a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., given referrals to alcohol rehabilitation centers and provided with the names of psychiatric clinics and therapists in the community). Treatment with DDP was discontinued for all patients between 12 and 18 months after initial enrollment in the trial. The BDI was administered at baseline and at 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, and 30-month follow-up. Compared with control group participants, DDP participants had significantly lower BDI scores at 12-month follow-up (25.1 vs. 21.0; p < .05). Over time, from baseline through 30-month follow-up, DDP participants had a significantly greater decrease in BDI scores than control group participants (p = .007), a difference associated with a large effect size (Cohen's d = 1.25).

In another study, patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder were assigned to a group receiving DDP, a group receiving comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., receiving weekly individual therapy that was unstructured and psychodynamically oriented). The BDI was administered at baseline and at 6-month follow-up. At 6-month follow-up, DDP participants had significantly lower BDI scores (17.3) than DBT participants (21.7; p = .005) and control group participants (26.3; p = .01), after controlling for differences in baseline severity and age.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Parasuicide behaviors
Description of Measures Parasuicide behaviors were measured using the Lifetime Parasuicide Count (LPC), a structured interview that assesses the frequency of parasuicide behaviors, including overdoses, cutting, and burning. Participants indicate the behaviors they have engage in, and for each, whether they were "intending to die," "ambivalent," or "not intending to die." The LPC contains the same items regarding frequency and intent of parasuicide behavior as the Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII). Assessment occurred at baseline and at 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, and 30-month follow-up.
Key Findings In a randomized clinical trial, adults diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and active alcohol abuse or dependence were assigned either to a group receiving DDP or to a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., given referrals to alcohol rehabilitation centers and provided with the names of psychiatric clinics and therapists in the community). Treatment with DDP was discontinued for all patients between 12 and 18 months after initial enrollment in the trial. Over time, from baseline through 30-month follow-up, DDP participants had a significantly greater decrease in parasuicide behaviors than control group participants (p = .002), a difference associated with a medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.52).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Heavy drinking
Description of Measures The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) was used to measure heavy drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion, in the past 30 days. The ASI is a structured interview with seven domains: medical, legal, employment, drug, alcohol, family, and psychological functioning. Assessment occurred at baseline and at 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, and 30-month follow-up.
Key Findings In a randomized clinical trial, adults diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and active alcohol abuse or dependence were assigned either to a group receiving DDP or to a control group receiving optimized community care (e.g., given referrals to alcohol rehabilitation centers and provided with the names of psychiatric clinics and therapists in the community). Treatment with DDP was discontinued for all patients between 12 and 18 months after initial enrollment in the trial. At 12-month follow-up, DDP participants reported significantly fewer days of heavy drinking than control group participants (p = .04). There was no statistically significant difference between groups over time from baseline through 30 months.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.4 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
80% Female
20% Male
90% White
3.3% American Indian or Alaska Native
3.3% Black or African American
3.3% Hispanic or Latino
Study 2 18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
78.6% Female
21.4% Male
89.3% White
10.7% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Symptoms of borderline personality disorder 3.5 3.5 3.0 3.6 3.5 2.9 3.3
2: Depression 4.0 4.0 3.0 3.6 3.5 2.9 3.5
3: Parasuicide behaviors 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.6 3.5 3.1 3.0
4: Heavy drinking 4.0 4.0 3.0 3.5 3.5 2.5 3.4

Study Strengths

The BEST, BDI, and ASI are gold-standard instruments widely used with psychiatric patient populations. Both studies included a manual-driven approach as well as individualized competency assessment and weekly supervision of therapists. The sample sizes were comparable to those in other studies of similar populations, and attrition rates were good considering the population. The researchers were conservative in accounting for missing data and either carried forward most recent observations or used mean substitution, which can increase power and decrease type II error (the failure to detect a significant effect). In one study, randomization procedures resulted in two treatment groups similar in demographics and baseline measures. Both studies used an intent-to-treat analysis, with one of the studies using a modified analysis to ensure a minimum "dose" of treatment in all groups.

Study Weaknesses

The LPC, which measures parasuicide behaviors, has limited published data on reliability and validity. No evidence of intervention fidelity was provided through use of an independently tested fidelity instrument. In one study, the attrition rate in one group was almost twice that of the other groups, and there was some baseline variance between groups in the severity of symptoms. Small sample sizes did not allow for more rigorous statistical testing of intervention efficacy in either of the studies.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: October 2011

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Daily Connections worksheet

Gregory, R. J. (n.d.). Multimedia training module in DDP. Syracuse, NY: State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Department of Psychiatry. Accessed at http://www.upstate.edu/psych/education/psychotherapy/ddp/flash/upstate.swf

Gregory, R. J. (n.d.). Remediation for treatment-resistant borderline personality disorder: Manual of Dynamic Deconstructive Psychotherapy. Syracuse, NY: Author. Accessed at http://www.upstate.edu/psych/education/psychotherapy/pdf/ddp_manual.pdf

Program Web site, http://www.upstate.edu/ddp

State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Department of Psychiatry. (n.d.). Information form: Borderline personality disorder. Syracuse, NY: Author.

Treatment Expectations

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.3 3.0 3.3 3.2

Dissemination Strengths

The manual contains extensive information on DDP, including an overview of the treatment model, description of the target population, and recommendations for developing and implementing a DDP program. The multimedia training module includes a pre- and posttest, discussions of various techniques, and video vignettes of sessions that illustrate key components of the intervention. The manual describes the qualifications necessary for implementers and clearly lays out the milestones of proficiency in the model. Case consultation and review of videotaped sessions, available to therapists in both individual and group formats, are offered to maximize practitioner skill proficiency. Fidelity measures include a therapist clinical adherence measure with rating instructions and a rating threshold for demonstrating adherence. The materials recommend the use of several validated outcome measures.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Information on the program is available online from a university Web site that shares clinical program information about multiple therapies rather than a site dedicated to providing implementation information and support specifically for DDP. Materials do not address how the intervention should be used or adapted for different cultural groups. The online module contains a few typos and is missing some text. Materials do not specifically outline how to obtain case consultation, session videotape review, or technical assistance. No guidance is provided for using the data gathered with the suggested outcome measures.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
DDP manual (includes DPP Adherence Scale) Free Yes
Multimedia training module Free No
Information Form: Borderline Personality Disorder Free No
Treatment Expectations Free No
Daily Connections worksheet Free No
Half- or full-day, off-site introductory workshop at Upstate Medical University, State University of New York $60 to $100 per participant, depending on group size; no maximum number of participants No
Half- or full-day, on-site introductory workshop $2,000 for half day or $3,000 for full day, plus travel expenses; no maximum number of participants No
Phone case consultation and session videotape review for individual therapist or group of therapists For an individual, $150 per hour; for a group, $100 per hour per person for group of two or three, with reduced per-person rate for group of four or five Yes
On-site technical assistance and coaching $2,000 for half day or $3,000 for full day, plus travel expenses No
Phone technical assistance and coaching $150 per hour No
Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Georgian T. Mustata, M.D.
(315) 464-3130
mustatag@upstate.edu

To learn more about research, contact:
Robert J. Gregory, M.D.
(315) 464-3105
gregoryr@upstate.edu

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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