Compassion Focused Art Therapy for people diagnosed with a cluster B/C personality disorder: An intervention mapping study.

A key concern of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is to develop inner warmth, safeness and soothing. The aim of the current study was to develop a compassion focused art therapy programme for clients diagnosed with Personality Disorders (PDs), the goal being to strengthen compassion skills and achieve more adaptive emotion regulation.

The Intervention Mapping Method was used for this purpose, based on: 1) determining needs, 2) goals for behavioural change, 3) theoretical art therapy methods and practical applications, 4) translation into an art therapy intervention, 5) planning adaption, implementation and durability, and 6) an evaluation plan. Use was made of a number of literature studies, focus groups with clients and occupational group professionals, questionnaires and a feasibility study.

The study resulted in the development of a Compassion Focused Art Therapy (CFAT) intervention for clients diagnosed with PDs, in which the most important goal was strengthening their compassion for themselves and for others. Key topics of CFT are found here as well, such as mindfulness, imagery and emotion regulation systems. The programme is based on a number of potentially effective methods that were specifically combined and tailored for this client population. Further research with a larger sample is needed to substantiate the intervention.