The field of clinical personality assessment is lacking in published empirical evidence regarding its treatment and clinical utility. This article reports on a randomized controlled clinical trial (N = 74) allocating patients awaiting treatment in a specialized clinic for personality disorders to either 4 sessions of (a) therapeutic assessment (TA) or (b) a structured goal-focused pretreatment intervention (GFPTI). In terms of short-term outcome, TA demonstrated superior ability to raise outcome expectancies and patient perceptions of progress toward treatment (Cohen's d = 0.65 and 0.56, respectively) and yielded higher satisfaction (d = 0.68). Moreover, patients reported marginally stronger alliance to the TA clinicians than to GFPT clinicians (d = 0.46), even though therapists perceived the alliance as equally positive in both groups. No differences in symptomatic ratings were observed. Results are discussed with reference to treatment utility in this particular patient group.

Clinical utility, Personality disorders, Pretreatment intervention, Psychological assessment, Symptom change, Therapeutic assessment, Treatment efficacy, Treatment readiness,
Psychological Assessment
Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy

de Saeger, H, Kamphuis, J.H, Finn, S.E, Smith, J.D, Verheul, R, van Busschbach, J.J, … Horn, E.K. (2014). Therapeutic assessment promotes treatment readiness but does not affect symptom change in patients with personality disorders: Findings from a randomized clinical trial. Psychological Assessment, 26(2), 474–483. doi:10.1037/a0035667