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Clinical significance and patients' perceived change in four sessions of brief psychodynamic intervention: Characteristics of early responders


Correspondence should be addressed to Véronique Beretta, Research Unit on Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, University of Lausanne, Tunnel 1, CH-1005 Lausanne, Switzerland (e-mail:


This study investigated Tingey, Lambert, Burlingame, and Hansen's (1996) extension of Jacobson, Follette and Revenstorf's (1984) proposal for assessing clinical significance. Seventy (N=70) outpatients with/without Cluster C personality disorders treated with a brief psychodynamic intervention (BDI) were included in the study. Results showed that 33% of patients demonstrated clinically significant change on the Global Severity Index. Patients who improved reported more perceived subjective change, greater satisfaction with the treatment, and greater improvement on the Social Adjustment Scale than patients who did not improve (60%) or deteriorated (7%). Further analyses showed that clinical significance achieved in a four session ultra-brief therapy is associated with patient characteristics such as co-morbid personality disorders, level of defensive functioning, and specific interpersonal problems. Results were maintained at 3 month and 6 month follow-ups. Findings are discussed in reference to Howard's suggestions on remoralization and remission.