An empirical evaluation of reasons for non-completion of treatment in a dangerous and severe personality disorder unit
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AbstractBACKGROUND: Individuals deemed to be of high risk to others, and diagnosed with severe personality disorders have become the focus for developing clinical services in England. Such services often require highly secure accommodation and labour-intensive therapeutic interventions. There is, however, uncertainty about the capacity to engage such patients effectively in therapies.
AIM: Here, we examine service evaluation monitoring data to identify the level of completion of therapeutic programmes in a high secure severe personality disordered population, and analyse reasons for failure to complete.
METHOD: Guidelines for classifying reasons for non-completion were developed, based on the multifactorial offender readiness model (MORM). Electronic case notes were searched for references to non-completion, and recorded reasons for non-completion were classified.
RESULTS: Non-completion was at a relatively modest level. The main reasons for non-completion were: (1) affective: general distress of the patient or specific emotional reactions to previous offending, e.g. shame; (2) volitional: pursuing goals other than treatment; and (3) cognitive: negative self-efficacy beliefs and negative evaluations (low trust) of staff and the programme. External factors included exclusion from treatment and transfer to another unit.
CONCLUSION: This study identifies specific readiness areas that might need to be addressed in efforts to improve engagement and retention in treatment. A wider range of methodologies is required for future studies.