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DBT in an outpatient forensic setting

L.M.C. van den Bosch, M. Hysaj & P. Jacobs

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume 35, Issue 4, July–August 2012, Pages 311–316



Literature shows that effective treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) has become possible. However, borderline patients in forensic psychiatry do not seem to benefit from this development. In forensic psychiatry, prevention of criminal recidivism is the main focus of treatment, not core borderline problems like parasuicidal and self-destructive behavior.


A dialectical behavioral treatment program for BPD was implemented in an outpatient forensic clinic in The Netherlands. Sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment data were collected from ten male, and nineteen female forensic BPD patients, and compared with corresponding data from fifty-eight non-forensic BPD patients. The results show that it is possible to implement dialectical behavior therapy in an outpatient forensic clinic.


The data indicate that the exclusion of forensic patients, and especially female forensic patients, from evidence-based treatment is unjustified given the highly comparable clinical and etiological characteristics they share with female BPD patients from general mental health settings.



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