OBJECTIVES: Schema group therapy is an effective treatment for personality disorders, but its focus on cognitive techniques may be a limitation for older adults. This article describes the rationale and initial evaluation of a group schema therapy protocol enriched with psychomotor therapy (GST+PMT) for older adults in geriatric mental health care.
METHODS: Within an observational feasibility study, we evaluated the effect of a 26-week GST+PMT program in 19 outpatients aged 60-70 years with a cluster B or C personality disorder on the Young Schema Questionnaire, Schema Mode Inventory and Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life. Cohen's d effect-sizes were calculated between baseline (T0), mid-treatment (T1) and end-of-treatment (T2).
RESULTS: Medium to large pre-post effect-sizes (T0-T2) were found for all outcome measures. Most improvement of schema modes occurred between T0-T1, and of schemas and quality of life between T1-T2.
CONCLUSIONS: Group schema therapy enriched with PMT is feasible in later life and its effect might be mediated by targeting schema modes. Future research would be helpful, including larger samples and controlled studies.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: For older adults suffering from personality disorders B or C verbal schema group therapy enriched with non-verbal PMT may be an effective treatment.