Schema therapy as treatment for adults with autism spectrum disorder and comorbid personality disorder: Protocol of a multiple-baseline case series study testing cognitive-behavioral and experiential interventions

Richard Vuijk*, Arnoud Arntz

*Corresponding author for this work

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To our knowledge treatment of personality disorder (PD) comorbidity in adults with ASD is understudied and is still in its infancy. This study investigates the effectiveness of schema therapy for PD-psychopathology in adult patients with both ASD and PD.Twelve adult individuals (age?>?18 years) with ASD and at least one PD are given a treatment protocol consisting of 30 weekly offered sessions. A concurrent multiple baseline design is used with baseline varying from 4 to 9 weeks, after which weekly supportive sessions varying from 1 to 6 weeks start with the study therapist. After baseline and 1 to 6 supportive sessions, a 5-week exploration phase follows with weekly sessions during which current and past functioning, psychological symptoms, and schema modes are explored, and information about the treatment is given. This is followed by 15 weekly sessions with cognitive-behavioral interventions and 15 weekly sessions with experiential interventions: patients are vice versa and randomly assigned to the interventions. Finally, there is a 10-month follow-up phase with monthly booster sessions. Participants are randomly assigned to baseline length, and report weekly during treatment and monthly at follow-up on Belief Strength of negative core beliefs, and fill out SMI, SCL-90 and SRS-A 7 times during screening procedure (i.e. before baseline), after supportive sessions, after exploration, after cognitive and behavioral interventions, after experiential interventions, and after 5- and 10- month follow-up. The SCID-II is administered during screening procedure, at 5- and at 10-month follow-up.The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR5788. Registered 01 April 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Schema therapy
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Multiple-baseline case series study

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