Psycho-education with individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder : a systematic review
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Much research and knowledge has been generated on personality disorders. Less information is available on the treatment and the effectiveness of treatment for personality disorders. Very little has been written about the use of psycho-education with individuals that have been diagnosed with a personality disorder. Yet, literature shows compelling evidence that these individuals often have poor understanding about their diagnoses, regardless of whether they are currently in treatment or not (Barlow & Durand, 2009; Von Krosigk, 2013). In a few preliminary studies the effects of psycho-education as a treatment tool for personality disorders have been explored. However, no systematic reviews exist to summarize exactly how much knowledge recent research has generated on this topic, as well as show what the value of said research is. There is also no clear answer whether it is worth implementing psycho-education with individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder and how such an intervention would look, or what the outcomes of such an intervention would be. This study aimed to explore relevant literature for the best available evidence regarding the use of psycho-education with individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder. It specifically aimed to generate a systematic review that summarizes all the relevant information available in research about the pre-treatment conditions of these individuals, and to also explore the information available about the implementation of the interventions themselves. Finally, it aims to summarize the post-treatment results of a psycho-educational intervention. This systematic review was conducted by doing a comprehensive and systematic key word search of electronic databases. A total number of 211 articles were identified with the initial search. After the duplicates, non-English articles and articles that do not contribute to the particular research question were removed; 13 articles remained. These articles were assessed for quality by two reviewers (the authors of this article) independently. All thirteen articles were found to be of acceptable quality to be included in the study, as agreed by both the reviewers. Studies that were included were published between 1995 and 2015, which used different methodologies and research designs. There were empirical studies and theoretical articles, as well as quantitative and qualitative studies. Many of the empirical studies were pilot studies, stressing the need for more future research on this topic. Three predetermined main themes, correlating with the three aims of the study, were selected to structure the findings from the studies included in the review, under which sub-themes were synthesized from the thirteen articles as they emerged from the articles. Theme A relates to any aspects that the articles highlighted regarding pre-treatment conditions, in other words relating to conditions before the psycho-educational intervention was implemented. It was found that individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder typically do not know their diagnosis, has no insight regarding it and does not understand the impact thereof on their lives. It also shows they do not typically have much knowledge regarding personality disorders. The research indicates that interpersonal difficulties are common with individuals with personality disorders and included studies specifically focusing on the impact these individuals have on their families, and the impact their families have on them. The latter also includes the impact that these individuals have on their children through their parenting style. Theme B focuses on the interventions that the included studies discuss. Here, it was found that psycho-education is sometimes used as an intervention on its own, and sometimes used in combination with other interventions. Theme C relates to post-treatment results, and it was found that psycho-education can have a positive influence on mood symptomatology, on the interpersonal functioning of the individual, with special reference to their relationships with their families, and that there can also be an improvement with regards to impulsivity. In light of the abovementioned findings, it was recommended that more research be done on the topic to better understand the different variables of psycho-education, and how they each contribute to the success of psycho-education for individuals with personality disorders. For health care practitioners involved in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder, it is recommended that they reconsider their stance on disclosure of diagnosis and psycho-education when it comes to personality disorders, as this study shows compelling evidence of the positive outcomes when it comes to the psycho-education of these individuals, and to study this systematic review as well as the constituent studies should they wish to facilitate a psycho-educational programme or intervention of their own.
- Health Sciences