Therapeutic assessment promotes treatment readiness but does not affect symptom change in patients with personality disorders: Findings from a randomized clinical trial

Hilde De Saeger, Jan H. Kamphuis*, Stephen E. Finn, Justin D. Smith, Roel Verheul, Jan J. van Busschbach, Dine J. Feenstra, Eva K. Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-483
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014



  • Clinical utility
  • Personality disorders
  • Pretreatment intervention
  • Psychological assessment
  • Symptom change
  • Therapeutic assessment
  • Treatment efficacy
  • Treatment readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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