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Individual Focused Therapies

Individual-focused therapies may be appropriate for people of any age with psychopathy. The most effective approaches involve identifying maladaptive patterns of thought, behavior, emotion regulation, and relationships and working to develop the skills to replace them. Not all therapists are trained to use all of these approaches. Finding a therapist trained to use, or able to learn, any of these approaches is an important first step.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Individual therapy • Children and adults • Offered by many clinicians • Used in any setting

CBT is a common form of psychotherapy. It involves working with a mental health provider in a structured way over a limited number of sessions. CBT is designed to increase awareness of inaccurate, negative, or maladaptive thinking patterns to help people view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them more effectively. CBT has been demonstrated to be effective for various personality disorders. Specialized forms of CBT may be effective in treating psychopathy.

Learn more about CBT here.

Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR)

Individual therapy • Adults • Offered by few clinicians • Used only in detention setting

RNR is a tested, individual-based form of CBT designed for adults in detention settings. It aims to provide the most intensive services for those at highest risk. Treatment is focused on changing documented risk factors, such as attitudes toward crime and delinquency, substance use, and impulsivity. For those with psychopathy, this approach may emphasize building self-management skills, building a prosocial identity, and teaching anger management.

Learn more about RNR here.

Schema-Focused Therapy (SFT)

Individual therapy • Adults • Offered by few clinicians • Used in any setting

SFT is an empirically-tested, individually based form of cognitive therapy. The treatment focuses on maladaptive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaviors. The therapist focuses on how these patterns affect the therapeutic relationship, daily life outside therapy, and, when relevant, past traumatic experiences. The goal of treatment is to cause long-lasting reductions in maladaptive personality traits, reductions in self-destructive behaviors, and increased quality of life. 

Learn more about SFT here.

Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP)

Individual therapy • Adults • Offered by few clinicians • Used in any setting

TFP is an individually based form of psychodynamic therapy. TFP focuses on the distorted or exaggerated images of self and other that are typical of many personality disorders and that shape relationships and social behavior. The goal of treatment is to change these internalized relationship patterns by exploring them as they emerge in the relationship between the therapist and the client. 

Learn more about TFP here.