Antisocial personality disorder in group therapy, kindling pro-sociality and mentalizing

Submitted: June 21, 2022
Accepted: October 3, 2022
Published: November 7, 2022
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Patients with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) are known for being difficult to treat. Treatment for ASPD is debated and lacking evidence. Among several reasons for treatment difficulties concerning ASPD, negative countertransference in health personnel is one central topic. Mentalization based treatment (MBT) is a reasonable candidate treatment for ASPD. From an ongoing pilot-study on MBT with substance using ASPD patients, we explore therapist experiences. Four experienced MBT therapists together with the principal investigator performed a focus group together. The therapists were themselves involved in performing this study and analyses are made as an autoethnographic study, with thematic analyses as methodological approach. As this study involved a qualitative investigation of own practice, reflexivity of the processes was performed. The aim was to explore in depth: therapist experiences and therapist wellbeing in MBT-ASPD. We found four main themes on therapist experiences: i) gaining safety by getting to know them better; ii) gaining cooperation through clear boundaries and a non-judgmental stance; iii) shifting inner boundaries; and iv) timing interventions in a high-speed culture. These four themes point to different therapist experiences one can have in MBT-ASPD. Our findings resonate well with the clinical literature on ASPD, the findings imply that clinical teams should have a focus on therapist countertransference and burnout, ensure that therapists uphold boundaries and open-mindedness in treatment of ASPD and that therapists experience vitalizing feelings in this line of work.

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How to Cite

Morken, K. T., Øvrebø, M., Klippenberg, C. ., Morvik, T., & Lied Gikling, E. (2022). Antisocial personality disorder in group therapy, kindling pro-sociality and mentalizing. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 25(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2022.649

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