This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a stepped care approach, incorporating a briefer, less costly Dialectical Behaviour Therapy program in comparison to individual therapy. The trial will compare stepped individual therapy to stepped group skills training, informed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.

Each arm of the study will include two steps – a 12 week block and 16 week block of individual therapy or group therapy. Participants will be randomly allocated to
one of the two arms. Following the intervention, participant symptoms, functioning and service utilisation will be evaluated.

The results of the project will provide evidence to inform an effective clinical pathway for Borderline Personality Disorder, reflective of both the NSW State
Health Plan and The Living Well Strategic Plan For Mental Health. Further, the model will be consistent with NHMRC clinical guidelines, which supports psychological
therapy as the first line of treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder.

It is proposed that the stepped care model will effectively address the current issue of long wait times and costly treatment for psychological treatment. The research
team anticipate that this will be of significant interest beyond local services and plan to publish in the mental health journals and present the findings at conferences.

Funding body

NSW Health

Scheme name

Translational Research Grant

Years funded

2017 – 2019

Lead institution

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District