A controlled trial of personal construct psychotherapy for deliberate self-harm

David Winter, L. Sireling, T. Riley, C. Metcalfe, A. Quaite, S. Bhandari

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence for the effectiveness of psychological therapies for people who self-harm is limited. Personal construct theory provides a model of self-harm and a framework for therapeutic intervention, which was evaluated in the present study. Sixty-four adults presenting to Accident and Emergency departments following self-harm were allocated to a personal construct psychotherapy or a ‘normal clinical practice’ condition. They completed various measures at assessment points pre- and post-therapy. Repetition of self-harm was assessed over a 3-year period. Participants in the intervention condition showed significantly greater reduction in suicidal ideation, hopelessness and depression post-treatment than the control group; and significantly more reconstruing at this point and 6-month follow-up. There was some evidence suggestive of a lower frequency of repetition of self-harm in the intervention than in the control group. It is concluded that brief personal construct psychotherapy may be effective for people who self-harm and merits further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • psychology


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