Treating avoidant personality disorder

Combined group and individual therapy for patients with avoidant personality disorder.

About the project

Combined group and individual therapy for patients with avoidant personality disorder
Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) is a common personality disorder, both in the general population and among patients within specialist mental health services. The personality problems are characterized by feelings of inferiority and inadequacy leading to social restriction and loneliness. The more severe situations render significant difficulties in education and work.

Nonetheless, there is a lack of development and systematic evaluation of treatment that specifically addresses AVPD.

The AVPD project was initiated as a pilot study focusing on the development and evaluation of a treatment program for patients with AVPD. The pilot was conducted at Oslo University Hospital. The treatment combines elements of mentalization-based treatment and metacognitive interpersonal therapy.

The pilot investigation includes quantitative evaluation of clinical status before treatment, clinical changes and treatment processes during treatment and clinical status after treatment for the 30 enrolled patients. The pilot also includes qualitative investigations of treatment experiences. The project will enable studies of treatment processes. The results can contribute to further development of AVPD specialized treatment. The pilot data collection including follow-up interviews is completed (2012-2021). Data analyses are in progress.

Further multi-centre investigation of AVPD treatment is scheduled in larger samples (N= approximately 300) as a part of the TREATPD project (Norwegian Network Personality Disorder). This datacollection will be completed in 2022 (2017-2022). Applications for external funding for PhD are ongoing (PI: Theresa Wilberg).

The research focus has contributed to the initiation and continuation of the Research Network for Avoidant Personality Disorder


Oslo University Hospital (Outpatient Clinic for Personality Disorders, a unit within the Network for Personality Disorders, in collaboration with the Section for Treatment Research, Department for Research and Innovation) and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo.

TREATPD involves all units within the Network for Personality DIsorders

Principle Investigator

Theresa Wilberg

Published Dec. 21, 2017 9:07 AM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2022 2:35 PM