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Psychodynamic art psychotherapy for the treatment of aggression in an individual with antisocial personality disorder in a secure forensic hospital: A single-case design study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon Hackett


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© 2019 American Psychological Association.The aim of this single-case study was to investigate the responses to psychodynamic art psychotherapy from a man who had a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder and ongoing aggressive behavior in a secure care setting. The intervention was 19 sessions of psychodynamic art psychotherapy lasting up to 1 hr per week. This study uses a single-case design with pretreatment, treatment, and posttreatment follow-up assessment of symptoms using multiple methods reported by the therapist, other staff members, and the patient. Treatment progress was assessed by (a) repeated self-report symptom measurements, (b) continuous assessment of observed aggressive behavior and risk incident reports in the hospital, (c) pre-post treatment assessment of relationship patterns and interpersonal schemas, and (d) interviews with the patient and his nurse at 9-month follow-up, retrospectively assessing the change. The patient showed a clinically significant reduction pre-post and pre-follow-up in symptoms. Behavioral observations indicated a reduction of overt aggression and risk-related incidents. Comparison of the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme pre-post treatment indicated positive changes in interpersonal schemas. This illustrative systematic single-case study highlights the potential for investigation of a novel psychotherapeutic approach that has in turn led to further developments in clinical research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hackett SS, Aafjes-Van Doorn K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychotherapy

Year: 2019

Volume: 56

Issue: 2

Pages: 297-308

Print publication date: 01/06/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2019

ISSN (print): 0033-3204

ISSN (electronic): 1939-1536

Publisher: American Psychological Association Inc.


DOI: 10.1037/pst0000232


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