A new study found that emotion regulation training, when added onto typical therapy sessions, does not offer any added benefits to symptoms of borderline personality disorder in teens.
Emotion regulation training teaches people how to control intense emotions and improve coping skills. It combines aspects of other therapy types and uses homework assignments, works on changes in thinking, teaches mindfulness, and educates people about how to regulate emotions.
Researchers, led by H. Marieke Schuppert, M.D., Ph.D., of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, set out to investigate whether emotion regulation training would help teens with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
For the study, researchers enrolled 109 teens with borderline personality traits. Most of the teens in the study (73 percent) were diagnosed with BPD. The other 27 percent had symptoms of BPD but not quite enough symptoms to meet the criteria for the disorder.
The teens in the study were assigned to one of two groups. One group of 54 teens received emotion regulation training in addition to their normal treatments. The other group of 55 people did not add the extra training.
All the teens in the study continued their normal treatments with medication, family therapy, counseling and individual therapy. The teens who received emotion regulation training met in groups once a week for 17 weeks, with each weekly session lasting an hour and 45 minutes.
The findings revealed that all the teens in the study, regardless of which group they were in, showed improved symptoms and higher quality of life after 17 weeks.
The emotion regulation training did not add any extra benefit.
“In general, parents should look for a licensed psychologist who specializes in treating teens and who uses evidence-based treatment.
“Evidence has shown that having a good working relationship is really important for therapy outcomes, so make sure that your teen really likes their therapist, feels comfortable talking to them and is engaged in the treatment,” said Shannon Kolakowski, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist who was not involved in the study.
“Also talk to your therapist about family-based therapy and being involved in your teen’s treatment. Having your support and involvement will make a big difference,” she added.
Source: Child & Adolescent Psychology