Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome <p><strong>Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome</strong> (RIPPPO) is an online, open-access, peer reviewed journal published by the <strong>Italian Area Group of the Society for Psychotherapy Research</strong> (<a href="">SPR Italy Area Group</a>). Its aim is to promoting a fruitful communication between the Italian and International communities, enriching clinicians and researchers mutual collaboration. It welcomes high quality articles from any part of the world, concerning a variety of topics (<em>e.g.</em>, psychotherapy process and outcome, diagnosis and assessment, psychopathology <em>etc.</em>), with different formats (<em>e.g.</em>, reviews, empirical studies, methodological works, clinical studies) and from different epistemological, theoretical and methodological perspectives of the contemporary research in psychotherapy.</p> <p>RIPPPO publishes three issues every year and provides immediate open access to its contents, on the basis of the principle that making research results freely available to researchers and practitioners supports a better exchange of knowledge.</p> <p>This journal does not apply the article processing charge to Authors as it is supported by institutional funds.</p> PAGEPress Scientific Publications, Pavia, Italy en-US Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome 2499-7552 <p><strong>PAGEPress</strong> has chosen to apply the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License</strong></a>&nbsp;(CC BY-NC 4.0) to all manuscripts to be published.<br><br> An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:</p> <ol> <li class="show">the author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.</li> <li class="show">a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.</li> </ol> <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p> <ol> <li class="show">Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</li> <li class="show">Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li> <li class="show">Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.</li> </ol> Compassion-focused imagery reduces shame and is moderated by shame, selfreassurance and multisensory imagery vividness <p>Compassion-focused imagery (CFI) is an emotion-regulation technique involving visualization of a person, animal or object offering one compassion, to generate feelings of safeness. It is proven to increase self-compassion and reduce negative affect. This study explores two hypotheses not previously investigated: i) which sensory modalities can stimulate compassionate affect; and ii) whether presentation of pictorial stimuli can enhance CFI. Additionally, we examine iii) whether CFI can reduce shame and iv) whether self-criticism inhibits CFI, since previous studies have involved small samples or methodological limitations. After completing measures of self-criticism, self-reassurance and imagery abilities in five sensory modalities, participants (n=160) were randomly assigned to look at compassionate images during CFI (visual input), compassionate images before CFI (priming), or abstract images (control). Participants trialled CFI then rated compassionate affect and completed open-response questions. Before and after CFI, participants recalled a shame-based memory and rated state shame. Correlational analyses explored whether self-criticism, self-reassurance, and multisensory imagery abilities moderated outcomes. CFI significantly reduced shame regarding a recalled memory, particularly for those high in shame. Compassionate affect was predicted by imagery vividness in visual and bodilysensation modalities. Self-criticism predicted poorer CFI outcomes, but not after controlling for self-reassurance. Between-group effects did not emerge. Qualitative data suggested that pictures helped some participants but hindered others. CFI is a promising technique for shame-prone clients, but may be challenging for those with low imagery abilities or unfamiliar with self-reassurance. Multiple senses should be engaged.</p> Iona Naismith Camilo Duran Ferro Gordon Ingram William Jimenez Leal ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-01-17 2019-01-17 10.4081/ripppo.2019.329 Countertransference in Swedish psychotherapists: testing the factor structure of the Therapist Response Questionnaire <p>Questionnaires need testing of reliability and factor structure before clinical use or research in new languages or cultures. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Therapist Response Questionnaire (TRQ) in Sweden compared to corresponding factor analyses in USA and Italy. A national sample of psychotherapists (N=242) registered their countertransference with a single client using TRQ. The data were analyzed with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to test factor structures from previous studies, and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The CFA did not verify the factor structure from the previous studies. The EFA extracted seven factors as the best solution: Helpless/Inadequate, Overwhelmed/Disorganized, Hostile/Angry, Parental/Protective, Disengaged, Special/Overinvolved, Sexualized. Analysis of convergent validity indicated that five of these could be considered equivalent to factors in the previous studies, and the remaining two were conceptually related to corresponding factors. Even though the factor structure was not confirmed by the CFA, the concordance was large, indicating a reliable self-report instrument with promising validity for measurement of complex aspects of countertransference. Common countertransference themes can inform psychotherapy supervision and education, give feedback to the therapist, and lay ground for a taxonomy for therapist reactions and feelings.</p> Johan Berg Lars-Gunnar Lundh Fredrik Falkenström ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-01-17 2019-01-17 10.4081/ripppo.2019.331 Oriented mentalization-based treatment for borderline personality disorder patients: preliminary results at Camposampiero Mental Health Center <p>This contribution presents two brief reports about preliminary results of 18 months of oriented Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT), with Borderline Personality Disorder patients, recruited at the Camposampiero Mental Health Center. Following in large part Bateman and Fonagy guidelines for MBT in institutional settings, this paper presents preliminary results in two brief reports related to two cohorts of patient underwent to the oriented MBT in Camposampiero Mental Health Center (MHC). In the first study, we analyzed a group of 9 patients: an anamnestic schedule was administered; then, symptoms (SCL-90-R), psychodiagnostic scale and global health functioning (Health of the Nation Outcome Scale, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Disorder [SCID-II], Global Assessment of Functioning, [GAF]), data on service impact and service costs (Cassel Community Adjustment Questionnaire, Patient Evaluation Schedule and folder data) were provided at the beginning (T0), at the end of the treatment (T2) and 1 year after the end of the MBT project. The second study showed a micro-analytical change on a second patient cohort (n=6) at T0, 3, 6 and 9 months (T1) were presented considering specifically mentalization (Comparative Psychotherapy Process Scale, Modes of Mentalization Scale, Mentalization Imbalances Scale) and patienttherapist session evaluation trends (Session Evaluation Questionnaire) and patient reflective functioning at T0 and T2 (Reflective Functioning Questionnaire). Aims and hypotheses of the two studies pointed out how the oriented MBT bring to an improvement of the overall functioning of the patients, a reduction of the symptoms, a decrease of the diagnostic criteria for the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the other Axis II disorders, a reduction of the workload hours for the MHC staff and of the costs of the assistance. The analyses of both the studies were carried out using non-parametric statistics (Friedman test, Spearman correlation, Chi-square). Preliminary results confirmed the improvement in the overall functioning of patients (GAF), the reduction in BPD-related symptoms and in diagnostic criteria for BPD (SCID-II), the improvement of patients’ mentalization skills, and a significant reduction in workload for health staff. Standing the limits and the preliminary results, the two brief reports demonstrate the feasibility of an oriented MBT within an Italian Public Service and the effectiveness of this treatment pathway for patients with BPD, leaving some open questions to stimulate a fruitful clinical discussion.</p> Stefano Carrera Guia Pandolfi Jee Yun Cappelletti Walter Padoani Silvia Salcuni ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.336 Relational variables in short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy: an effectiveness study <p>This study examined associations between specific elements of therapeutic relationships and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (STPP) outcomes. Notably, we focused on therapists’ subjective experiences during their first clinical interaction with patients, countertransference patterns and therapeutic alliance evaluated early in treatment, in relation to patient symptom changes at the end of STPP. Twenty clinicians completed the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale to evaluate patients’ (N=32) symptom severity at the beginning and end of STPP. They also completed the Assessment of Clinicians’ Subjective Experience (ACSE) to assess their subjective experiences of their patients at the first clinical interview and the Therapist Response Questionnaire (TRQ) and Working Alliance Inventory to evaluate their countertransference reactions and therapeutic alliance at the sixth therapy session. The findings showed that the TRQ and ACSE scales correlated in a coherent way, with the exception of the TRQ helpless/inadequate pattern and ACSE impotence. Strong and more negative TRQ countertransference patterns and ACSE dimensions were significantly associated with lower quality of the therapeutic alliance. Finally, better STPP outcomes were positively associated with a good therapeutic alliance and negatively correlated with greater difficulty in attunement at the beginning of clinical assessment and therapists’ stronger responses of helplessness, frustration, and disengagement during therapy. These results confirm the precious value of the clinical relationship, which represents a useful source of information for therapists when planning therapeutic interventions.</p> Annalisa Tanzilli Michele Majorana Laura Fonzi Mauro Pallagrosi Angelo Picardi Maria Antonietta Coccanari de’ Fornari Massimo Biondi Vittorio Lingiardi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.327 Assessing mentalization in psychotherapy: first validation of the Mentalization Imbalances Scale <p>The aim of this study was to provide data on the preliminary validation of a clinician-report multidimensional assessment measure of mentalization (Mentalization Imbalances Scale, MIS). A random national sample of psychotherapists (N=190) completed the MIS to identify mentalization imbalances, and the Personality Disorder Checklist to assess the personality disorders (PDs) of randomly selected patients currently in their care. Factor analysis confirmed the presence of six factors that represented different imbalances of mentalization: cognitive, affective, automatic, external, imbalance toward others, and imbalance toward self. We found several significant relationships between patients’ mentalization imbalances and personality pathology. Paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal PDs were predicted by an imbalance toward self, an imbalance the patients shared with histrionic, avoidant, and obsessive compulsive PDs, whereas dependent, borderline, and histrionic PDs were related to an imbalance toward others. Cognitive imbalance was related to schizoid, narcissistic, and obsessive compulsive PDs, whereas affective imbalance predicted antisocial, borderline, narcissistic and histrionic PDs. Automatic imbalance was related to schizotypal, antisocial, and borderline PDs. MIS represents a reliable and valid measure that can help clinicians at understanding patients’ specific difficulties of mentalization.</p> Giulia Gagliardini Salvatore Gullo Edgardo Caverzasi Annalisa Boldrini Stefano Blasi Antonello Colli ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.339 Metacognitive interpersonal therapy in group: a feasibility study <p>Patients with personality disorders (PDs) other than borderline, with prominent features of social inhibition and over-regulation of emotions, are in need of specialized treatments. Individuals present with poor metacognition, that is the capacity to understand mental states and use psychological knowledge for the sake of purposeful problem solving; and are guided by maladaptive interpersonal schemas. We developed a short-term group intervention, Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy in Groups (MIT-G), incorporating psychoeducational and experiential elements, to help these individuals become more aware of their drives when interacting with others; and to help them adopt more flexible behaviors via improvements in metacognition. We present results of an effectiveness study, evaluating whether we could replicate the initial positive results of our first pilot randomized controlled trial. Seventeen young adults outpatients with personality disorders were included in the 16 session program. Effect sizes were calculated for change from baseline to treatment end for the primary outcome, symptoms and functioning (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation Outcome Measure) and then for one putative mechanism of change – metacognition. Emotional dysregulation and alexithymia were also assessed. Qualitative evaluations of the acceptability and subjective impact of the treatment were also performed. MIT-G was acceptable to participants. There were medium to large magnitude changes from pre- to post- treatment on wellbeing, emotion dysregulation, alexithymia and metacognition. These gains were maintained at follow-up. There was evidence of clinically significant change on key variables. MIT-G appears acceptable to patients, as evidenced by the absence of drop-out from treatment. In light of the positive outcomes of this study and the expanding evidence base, MIT-G is a candidate for dissemination and investigations in larger trials as a possible effective intervention for PDs characterized by tendencies to overcontrol.</p> Raffaele Popolo Angus MacBeth Stefano Brunello Flaviano Canfora Ercan Ozdemir Daniela Rebecchi Cecilia Toselli Gloria Venturelli Giampaolo Salvatore Giancarlo Dimaggio ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.338 Mentalization-based treatment for adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a pilot study <p>Recent literature suggests that, in addition to its core cognitive and behavioural symptoms, socioemotional difficulties represent key characteristics of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Importantly, these deficits not only contribute negatively to the low social functioning and poorer professional achievements of ADHD patients relative to healthy individuals, they also respond poorly to medication and are not specifically addressed by current evidence-based psychological treatments. Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) is a psychological intervention focused on promoting the imaginative capacity to understand human behaviour as being driven by mental states. MBT has been shown to be effective in patients with chronic emotional dysregulation; it may therefore represent a valuable approach to address sociocognitive deficits and shape adaptive functioning in ADHD. In this study, we tailored the timelimited MBT program developed for borderline personality disorder to the specific clinical needs of individuals with ADHD. We report on the first eight patients with ADHD included in our programme at the Geneva University Hospitals. Preliminary results support the feasibility and relevance of the MBT model for ADHD. We discuss conceptual and clinical implications of the current data.</p> Deborah Badoud Eva Rüfenacht Martin Debbané Nader Perroud ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.317 Self-reflectivity: a moment of professionalization in psychotherapy training <p>The required basic skills of European psychotherapists were published by the European Association of Psychotherapy in 2013. One of these abilities is self-reflection. To mentalize oneself, to reflect on what circumstances and experiences in the past and present have led to the present desires, thoughts and convictions is an essential prerequisite for professional work in the psychosocial field. With the help of the thematic analysis a data set of 41 self-reflection reports of students is analysed at the end of the training. Since the training should be evaluated and if necessary optimized, it should be examined which elements of the online preparation course make the selfreflection ability visible. The analysis of the students’ texts gives a clear indication of existing self-reflection skills. It was surprising that for some students, besides the great importance of self-awareness lessons, affective integration into the blended learning program was an essential impulse for self-reflection.</p> Margarete Finger-Ossinger Henriette Löffler-Stastka ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.316 Case formulations in mentalization-based group therapy <p>Ideally, the assessment phase of patients who are referred to mentalization-based treatment (MBT) should conclude with a mentalization- based case formulation. The structure and content of such case formulations are described. Their aim are: i) to enhance treatment alliance and ii) to provide some structure to the treatment process through suggesting privileged themes related to emotions, relational patterns and mentalizing. MBT is a conjoint kind of psychotherapy, integrating individual and group therapies. Case formulations has belonged to the tradition of individual psychotherapy, while being mostly ignored by group therapists. The question is: are case formulations also relevant for group psychotherapy? How can they be properly introduced while not disturbing the group processes? The theme is discussed through a clinical vignette that illuminates typical therapeutic challenges in dynamic group psychotherapy with borderline patients. The author concludes with some suggestions for clinical structure, process and research.</p> Sigmund Karterud ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.318 Developing an assessment of epistemic trust: a research protocol <p>Epistemic trust (ET) describes the willingness to accept new information from another person as trustworthy, generalizable, and relevant. It has been recently proposed that a pervasive failure to establish epistemic trust may underpin personality disorders. Although the introduction of the concept of ET has been inspiring to clinicians and is already impacting the field, the idea that there may be individual differences in ET has yet to be operationalized and tested empirically. This report illustrates the development of an Epistemic trust assessment and describes the protocol for its validation. The sample will include 60 university students. The Trier Social Stress Test for Groups will be administered to induce a state of uncertainty and stress, thereby increasing the relevance of information for the participants. The experiment will entail asking information from the participants about their performance and internal states during a simulated employment interview, and then tracking how participants are able to revise their own judgments about themselves in light of the feedback coming from an expert committee. To control for social desirability and personality disorder traits, the short scale for social desirability (Kurzskala Soziale Erwünschtheit-Gamma) and the Inventory of Personality Organization are utilized. After the procedure, the participants will complete an app-based Epistemic trust questionnaire (ETQ) app. Confirmatory Factor Analysis will be utilized to investigate the structure and dimensionality of the ETQ, and ANOVAs will be used to investigate mean differences within and between persons for ET scores by item category. This study operationalizes a newly developed ET paradigm and provides a framework for the investigation of the theoretical assumptions about the connection of ET and personality functioning.</p> Paul Schröder-Pfeifer Alessandro Talia Jana Volkert Svenja Taubner ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-12-18 2018-12-18 10.4081/ripppo.2018.330